To Hug, or Not to Hug?

“It became easier to say what I meant when other people gave voice to my feelings.

National Book Award finalist and Guggenheim Fellow Roxane Gay doesn’t like to be hugged. “So many people tried to hug me and seemed upset when I said no. I don’t like hugging strangers. I don’t even hug my friends,” she wrote in a tweet that echoed a sentiment elaborated in a chapter about “bodies and boundaries” in her book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

Sex-advice columnist and activist Dan Savage doesn’t like to be hugged. “I don’t like to hug people,” Savage wrote in a blog post. “But I do a job — I give sex advice to strangers at a safe remove — that makes a lot of people want to hug me. People I don’t know. (For the record: hugging strangers makes me physically uncomfortable. I don’t just find it unpleasant, I find it unnerving.)”

Me, too.”

—Emily Weinstein. “To Hug, or Not to Hug.” April 2018.