The side hug.

This is satire. This is not related to that rap video. As one hate mail pointed out, I am “gangsta as a pocket watch” and as such do not currently possess the flow to create a rap video. Here’s the post I wrote about side hugs in April 2008.

Yes, God wants us to be compassionate and kind and tender with each other. Not only that, but he wants us to love our enemies and serve our neighbors. As long as there is no body on body action. I’m talking of course about a “full frontal hug,” one of those sinful abominations where you just wrap your arms around a friend and embrace them. That’s why Christians the world over have pioneered the “side hug.” In the side hug there’s no risk of two crotches touching. Instead of face to face, you go side to side, putting your arm around the person and your hip against their’s. Still having a hard time mastering it? Pretend you’re taking a photo and you’re both looking at the camera together. The side hug, or A frame as it is also called, is safe for the whole family, friendly and above all holy. I don’t know the exact scripture reference but try the book of Psalms.

(Thanks to the handful of people that suggested side hug. I want to side hug you in thanks.)
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  1. lrybrn says

    Oh, boy. This one always rubs me the wrong way.

    I think I’d rather have a handshake or a high five than a stupid side hug.

  2. Naoshi says

    I usually don’t bother reading blogs, but this is good stuff. Finally someone is talking my language on Christianity. Cheers John.

    • ilovetulsa says

      So true!! I actually found this blog on the evil CNN website (which I visit several times daily).

      • Sheik Yerbouti says

        I haven't listened to CNN since Al Gore won the election.

        Funny that they found this bit of truth, though.

  3. Sgt. Salt says

    I can’t figure out how to email you my suggestion because I’m a moronic fool.

    But here is one thing I know Christians like: capitalizing the H in “his.”

    • Marie says

      Capitalizing the "H" in "His" serves two purposes: to show respect, but also to make it clear when "He' or "His" is referring to God, rather than the other person in the passage of scripture. There are often lots of pronouns flying around, and capitalizing the "H" when the pronoun refers to God helps to distinguish them from one another.

      • Wanda says

        Much the same as "LORD" all caps and "Lord" – helps to distinguish God the Father from Christ in the OT, especially in Psalms. Clarity is crucial for comprehension.

        • Crimian says

          That has more to do with whether the Hebrew word used was "YHWH", the proper name of God, or "adonai", the actual word for "lord". "YHWH" is normally rendered with small caps and "adonai" with only a capital "L", unless it is referring to an earthly authority, in which case it will follow the normal grammatical rules of a common noun.

    • mmcw says

      Yeah…proper wording and all…but it's not like God loses his God-ness if a letter looks a little different. God doesn't need our human ways of showing imprance and authority. He wants our lives – and that will make a bigger difference to the world than capitalization.

      Also, we already have solutions to pronoun issues, i.e., using the associated noun. Ex: While Job and God walked along the road, God said "Listen! I created this world! Pull your pants up!"

      I've stopped capitalizing when it won't cause a problem for people. Everything in love.

  4. Joe says

    I try to respectful and go for the side hug for my gal pals but they go for the full frontal hugs.

    They are my sisters and I love them like no other. Side or frontal, there is no way I will deny a hug.

  5. Tommy says

    sgt.salt! how dare you put someone down for that (i do it all of the time)!
    when are you coming home?

  6. Paul says

    Like so many things, it depends. As I have aged, I’ve come to appreciate the value of a true friend. I’m no longer uncomfortable telling them I love them or giving them a full frontal hug. Oh and by the way, as the product of a parochial education, I’ve always capitalized the “H” in Him (or He). It’s reflexive. I did so long before I had any kind of relationship with Him. Even when I was actively fleeing from Him I still used the capital “H.”

    • Tim says

      I never got that, but then I only went to catholic school to the second grade. I DO, however, need to be vigilant in not capitalizing the words 'god,' 'christian' or 'catholic.'

      • Israel says

        Out of respect for God's name the Jew's wouldn't even use all the letters in His name.

        This was passed on to the english language in capitalizing words refering to God. Capitalizing God can also be a way of distinguishing which god you are talking about.

        It seems worse than silly to try to train yourself to respect God less.

        If you never capitalized it, I'm not saying that's a sin, but why try to lower the respect with which you treat your Savior?

    • Odin says

      Back on to the topic about gender, to start with if their is a God i don't think he/she would truly have a gender being that he is everything. and second i think the reason He is a HE is because men wrote the bible thus creating portraying him in their own image.

  7. Stacey says

    We used to have a woman at our old church who would do the “roll you in” hug… We all tried the side hug but she would always roll us in!

  8. Jason says

    I always thought that the side hug was to prevent breasticles from squeezing up against a male chest? That’s why, when I’m not in church, I hug my female friends extra tight!

  9. Bee Repartee says

    ~Cracking up at Stacey’s comment~

    I went round and round with someone over this. Personally, I see nothing more personal that grabbing someone and pressing your body against theirs.

    For me, this is all about who I’m hugging. If I know them well enough, I’m a full on hugger, but I have to know they are ready to get a hug.

    By the way, side hugging *I think* is in the book of Hesitations.

    Seriously, though if we are to be doing what the Bible says, why are we not kissing each other with a holy kiss? I have yet to see people puckering up at church. What’s up with that? :)

    This is an especially difficult topic. People side hug for many reasons: big chest (sorry, but I know this first hand), physical abuse, issues with lust, lawsuits, baby barf down my shoulder (again first hand knowledge) …there are many reasons.

    Just as much as I wouldn’t emotionally bash someone with scripture, I wouldn’t hug someone who didn’t want a hug, side or otherwise. Forcing hugs because that is what the hugger wants is self-serving, not considering how the other needs to be shown love, wouldn’t you say?

    Hugging should be self-less and loving, but even in my years of church, it has not always been the purest motive of the person hugging me.

    It doesn’t matter if you are Non-huggers, huggers, side huggers, I just wonder how easy it would be to say, “Can I give you a hug?” When in doubt, just ask..even for a side hug.

    Just another point of view.

    Great post….

    • says

      Ya'll have forgotten the "T-hug" One person wraps their arms around the other doing the side in. I'm especially to do this — sorry — it's just awkward for a 47 year old woman to full frontal hug a guy that's 20 who is not her son.

      • says

        I am not a hugger. It's just not in my DNA.

        However, I have had a scant few people ask if they could hug me. I always *want* to say, "No thank you, I'd prefer a handshake." But I think that's rude and would offend the hugger so I always say "Yes," even though I would like to come from a place of No.

        Would you be offended if I said, "No thank you" to your hug offer?

      • Karen G. says

        I agree that it's awkward. I do not believe it's appropriate for a woman to full frontal hug a man who is not her husband. Even my dad I hug at the side. It just seems weird to me. However, my female friends and family I will hug.

    • Talia says

      some cultures do the kiss. of course, those same cultures kiss everywhere else too, not just church. my latin family freaked a boyfriend of mine out once when they met him for the first time. haha.

  10. Wyman says

    It took us til #106 to reach the side hug? The side hug defines Christians. We sometimes even announce it as we do it. “Hey, side hug!”

    Kelli B is absolutely right, this has to lead to “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” the book that singlehandedly killed everything that was good of an already fragile Christian dating scene.

  11. Brad says

    You are NUTS! The almost back to back post of the side hug and the hand holding made my night. I always try to keep it real and start with the hand shake and pull it in chest to chest. Thats how we do it in the streets (for the guy/guy hug).


  12. princessofsomething says

    I went to a very conservative baptist college and public displays of affection were frowned upon, so we all mastered the “side hug with no pressage” for when our guy friends were feeling blue . . . Thanks for a great memory and a good laugh.

  13. Hoosier reborn says

    It’s taken me some time, but I can deal with the full frontal hug; but I’m bolting if we see a holy kiss revival sweep the church.

  14. Kristen says

    As a youth pastor, my husband perfected the side hug. Sometimes I could see him mouthing the words:

    “arm around shoulder, squeeze, release”

    It was really personable.

  15. Kyle says

    A friend in college called it “The Christian Half-Hug.” He then added a tagline: “All the satisfaction, half the lust.”


    • Megan says

      Haha! I'm a full hugger, and there was a pastor's kid (of the non-wild variety, my best guy friend) when I was in high school that absolutely insisted on side hugs. I thought it was so silly.

  16. Anonymous says

    I do not know the “side hug” but am fimiliar with the full-frontal clavicle to clavicle hug (no chest-to-chest). My wife’s nieces hug me this way when greeting and I am glad.

    • Odin says

      @jususisaconartice, Can i just say that Anonymous didn't actually say anything linked to sexual thoughts but thats your own pervy mind finding those links.

    • mmcw says

      lol! I had a friend who would hug me like this..but off to the side a little bit so that he was pretty much pulling a half-nelson on my neck. There were times where he'd give such a 'meaningful' hug that i actually couldn't breathe! I knew it was because he didn't want the side hug but also didn't want to have a chest-to-chest episode. :)

  17. TimJulie2003 says

    This is great! As a divorce e and then remarried, when another male wants a hug, that I am not related to, I give the side to side hug. Funny stuff!!!!

  18. Anonymous says

    Ha, my friend James used to give amazing hugs, then he went off to seminary and mastered the side hug technique. It was a sad day.

  19. Elizabeth says

    Personally I think the side hug is a lot of hooey. Maybe it’s just my love language of physical touch talking (oh yeah, I just pulled the love language reference out) but I’m insulted when someone half hugs me. I want to say, what do I smell bad, are you ashamed to be seen hugging me or something? Now I can understand the side hug for the well endowed ladies, my sister is one of them. But for everyone else, come on, if you don’t want to hug don’t hug, otherwise give a real bear squeeze.

  20. humbledheart says

    side hugs in my world are a sign of respect
    it says :i really like you and value your friendship but i also respect you and your need for purity and personal space:
    i too went to a bible college and PDA was watched closely
    but i also had a guy friend :take advantage: of the full frontal hug
    i hated it
    that is why i do not hug boys
    it is a big joke in my office with me not hugging boys

    high fives all the way!!!!

    • anonymous says

      Yeah for you … you win … What are you willing to give up in order to treasure Christ more and help others treasure Christ more … what are you willing to take for self pleasure at the risk of someone else's purity …. let's remind ourselves that Jesus defined adultery as "looking at a woman to lust after her in your heart" … pretty high standards there … a little restraint will go along way in winning that battle

  21. Anonymous says

    The side hug is a necessity and a life-saver when you are a large-bosomed woman. It’s just too embarrassing and awkward otherwise . . .

  22. Anonymous says

    oh how I hate the side hug. nothing says “we’ve already shaken hands and I still want to keep you at a distance but feel social obligated to hug” like the side hug.

  23. Anonymous says

    I really apologise if this comes across as me being some stuck up heathen who doesnt understand Christianity. However, I am actually a Christian, I love Christ with all my heart and could never love anyone nearly as much as i love Him. If I saw Jesus (as I hope to upon death!) I would love to wrap my arms around Him and give him the biggest hug in the history of hugs, simply to thank Him for everything He has done for me. Having been brought up by a father who was uncomfortable hugging me (his daughter) I have experienced first hand the detremental effects that not hugging can have. I grew up absolutely terrified to hug boys, and uncomfortable hugging other girls. This has lead to the biggest regret of my life, no exaggerating! I had a male friend, who I had, have and always will be in love with. He fell for me too. At the same time as he began to let me see how he felt, just by dropping subtle hints and hugging me, I became so scared that I couldnt bare to be in the same room as him. I was housebound with panic attacks for 9 months, brought on by my fear of seeing him if i left home. During this time, he was the most supportive person I could have wished for, I couldn’t believe how wonderful he was. But I still couldnt hig him back the way he hugged me. He made me feel safe, for thirty secongs, the fear left me and I felt that together we could face it and put the world to rights. He told me he was going to marry me, described his plans for our life together. But I was so scared to show any affection that he stopped hoping. I lost him, because of my fear of intimacy. This was not a fear of sexual intimacy, as you suggest is created by hugging, but spiritual intimacy. He never once made a pass at me or did anything that made me feel uncomfortable. I am, and he is a virgin. He made me well again, I know there is no way I would be half as strong as I am today without him. Today, we are friends, and I have to be greatful for that. But he never hugs me anymore, never smiles at me the same way anymore, and sometimes it is easier for us both to just pretend we havent seen each other, so we walk by one another in a crowd. I love him, but I will never have another chance. So please, hug everyone you can, the world needs more love.

    • Andrew says

      I am a Christian as well and in reading this, I completely agree with your sentiments. Also, if this boy means that much to you, and you meant that much to him, don't give up. It is NEVER too late. Please go after him and explain yourself, give it another try because sometimes, people like that only come around once in a lifetime.

      I don't know you at all, but I will be praying for you. I hope you do give it another try!

      • Alleycat says

        Andrew’s got it right here, Anon. Life is too short for you to run away from intimacy, sexual or not. TODAY, make things right. DON’T WAIT! He could be your companion for the next 75 years.
        CARPE DIEM!

  24. smartg says

    This is hilarious. I actually had a friend just try to do this to me yesterday. He’s moving and this Sunday was the last time I will see him for a while, so I didn’t even give him the option of the side hug, I just grabbed him and gave him that evil full frontal hug. It wasn’t until later that I realized he was trying to give me the side hug.

  25. Clare says

    I used to hate the side hug for many of the same reasons other detractors above me have mentioned. Then I started volunteering at my Christian summer camp, and suddenly, side hugs became a priceless way to communicate affection to the campers under my care without violating “safe touch” rules (thereby avoiding the risk of being sued, etc). The side hug is the staple inside joke of all the staff at my camp, and we reference its ludicrousness at least five times a day.

  26. Daniel says

    I was introduced to the side hug world at my BSU in college. As a freshman, I didn’t understand the point of them. My sophomore year, my roommate and I discussed this and many other quirks of our BSU subculture (which, turns out, most of those extend past my college’s BSU), and he told me the reasons (which have already been mentioned) for the side hug. It made sense, but I still think it’s a little absurd to insist upon it.

  27. sam says

    I have to admit I love hugs. Even side hugs. Whatever hugs you got. Side hugs are awesome because they take some of the awkwardness out of awkward situations… being a girl and all. Thank God for side hugs :] And yeah, I was definately deprived as a child in terms of hugs :[
    Anyway, ANOTHER great post!

  28. Anonymous says

    Please comment I am genuinely hurt and confused by hug less Christians right now.
    I went to a church and was side hugged by one guy.he has since stopped even that. the church is very legalistic and I can count the number of hugs I received there in a year on one hand- including the side hugger dude. I was always shocked that he touched me at all. I did stop going there eventually be cause in other ways there was also "no love". .
    I am some what attractive. Perhaps if I came to church dressed as a Leper i could get some high fives? my non Christian friends and I hug often when saying good bye & hello. I am a sanguine/touch is my love language. So, I am always ready to intercept hugs.I respect space boundaries.I get it that there are some people who hate hugs. But what if I do like hugs? Do I get to Hug Christians? But my Christian friends do not offer and do not let me hug them. If they do consent it is the half armed, shouldery, back, as far away as possible kind of awkwardness.
    What is up with Christians not hugging/embracing at all?
    If i don't ever get married- do I have to stay hug less also?
    How can people with the love of Christ in them be so cold and stand-offish?Where are these fabled? Christians who hug? The Side hug is fine. It's better than people pretending that I have the plague. And thinking that ignoring women makes them holy. Oh the damage Christians do with all the things they DON"T and WON'T do.

    Hug Less and confused by Christians in Colorado

    • says

      I just saw your comment and wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you feel unloved by your Christian friends! You are correct that if we love Christ, we will love others. We should show it too! I don't know they situation or why they refuse to hug, but believe me, hugging is not forbidden in the Bible. You know why? God is love, he wove the need and desire to love and be loved into our hearts! Hugs are one of the ways we can show it. I pray that you would know the love of God, by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that you can find Christian friends who will encourage you in your faith, and encourage you with demonstrating their friendship (with hugs!)

  29. esther says

    i’m sorry jon, but i’m afraid i have to correct you – the A-frame is not the same as the side hug. the A-frame starts out deceptively like a full-frontal but each person leans forward so only the shoulders and arms touch (there is no chest-on-chest, thereby making it ‘holy’). from the side it is the shape of an A. hence the name.

    just thought i’d clear that up for you. :)

  30. Anonymous says

    I totally agree w/ wat u said. The side hug is 100% safe wen avoiding any physical contact w/ another person from your congregation who u dont want 2 offend but do want 2 say ur goddbyes to. The side hug is sumthin that i do a lot b/c obviously there r certain folks who u dont always want so much front or face to face physcial contact with. =)

  31. alex dore says

    this is the stupidest fucking bullshit ever. if i ever have to lower myself to side hug anyone ill kill myself for being such a loser. i didnt know god was against hugging you fuckin losers.

    • Rob says

      This is the exact reason why western Christianity is failing to reach out to people like Alex.

      Side hugs are a stupid creation made by man, NOT by God.

      Our obsessive Virgin "no sex" pedestal is killing our chances with people by showing that we are more concerned with appearances than with real honest relationships.

      This all reminds me when Jesus blasted the Pharisees for their made up rules that had nothing to do with God and all with the appearance of holiness.

      I'm sorry Alex that Christians and the Church has failed to reach you.

      Personally, I'm disgusted with this institution we call "CHURCH" (not the real Church, made up of people), but the fake culture and blindness this so called christian church displays.

      • Anonymous says

        It's interesting, actually; I'm a staunch atheist, and I happened to witness two Christian colleagues arguing over this "side hug."

        It seems that many Christians are split between this fad…

      • Megan says

        Amen to that! Some days I want to start my own church where we don't argue over stupid things like that, but then I feared I would be responsible for the downfall of another area of Christianity somehow.

      • Alleycat says

        Not to mention that many Christians get “The Vapors” from alex’s use of salty language It boggles my mind that I can’t tell a Christian brother “effing A” as a term of encouragement and support. And yet, I can tear someone apart without using a single four-letter word.

  32. Anonymous says

    I am a Christian. I love the Lord very much. I love hugs too. I love side hugs or front hugs. I like to feel like someone cares for me and I like to care for people. I love people because God loves people and loved me enough to send His own precious Son to die for sins. I think a “hug is a handshake from the heart.” Some trials in life bring such broken-heartedness and tears to my eyes that I need a full, front hug…meaning that I need someone to hug me and hold me…like a family member or even a friend in whom I simply look to as a parent or grandparent, man or woman. I love full, front hugs…tight hugs from people in whom I just simply look up to and cherish…those who have helped me become who I am today…those who knew me as a child…and cheered me on for the right! But I also love side hugs! Those types of hugs are great too! Those are usually the types of hugs that I give to guy friends who are my age or around my age…only those friends who are strictly friends…those friends who are going away for a long period of time or those friends of mine who lost loved ones to death. My friends who are girls, I usually give any type of hug to…But I love hugs! I’m so glad that God created such things as hugs. People need affection…Even Christians! Yes, we should be careful and discerning when it comes to physical contact; however, let’s not be so dogmatic about this subject that it turns people away from a great Saviour. Side hugs are great, yes! Front hugs are great too! They aren’t evil in the least bit! They give us a sense of comfort and security. Hugs are special. God knew that we would need hugs. We need to be very careful, yielding our bodies to Christ in everything we do, every action we take, knowing that there is a Holy God watching us. We need to live everyday for our Lord. However, God gave us the sense of feeling and touch. It is to be used in the RIGHT way always…But, it is to be used! Thank you, Lord, that one day you reached down and touched me!!!!

  33. Kitty says

    I actually came from a church where the “holy kiss” was used quite often… but mostly by older ladies, so it was okay. In my church now, we commonly use the side hug as a greeting, a sort of “Hey, good to see you!” and a goodbye. I like it because I have very large personal space boundaries (not a biblical issue, just a me thing!). Side hugging my friends lets me communicate affection on their level (for those who are physical touch communicators) while still staying within my own comfort zone. Since I understand that this is their way of showing affection to me, I don’t mind and have learned to enjoy it. And we don’t do wimpy side hugs, either. They’re good solid side hugs that let each other know “I genuinely care for you.” (except in a not so sappy sounding way)

    With my good friends, we developed a kind of half-side hug, half-full hug thing. We still only use one arm, but we mostly face each other and each person’s chin makes it over the other person’s shoulder. It’s weird to visualize, but it works.

    I also enjoy full hugs, but only from family members, or people I know very well and on special occasions.

    I see the side hug as practical as well as comfortable. If you’re at church, much of the time you will be carrying something. This way, hugging someone doesn’t require you to put down whatever you’re carrying, or have it get in the way.

    Anonymous in July, come to our church in Arizona! We love to hug!

  34. Anonymous says

    As a “well endowed” chick, I personally prefer french kissing my friends with my legs wrapped right around them…but only for my really good friends. Probably people I’ve known for at least two weeks.


  35. Adventures In Babywearing says

    I was just pointed to this post after writing about being a side hugger today. I totally think it could be due to my church upbringing and I never knew it! I no longer side hug and I still go to church.



  36. Anonymous says

    Where on earth did you get this notion from?
    I’m quite certain there ARE Christians out there who take everything too far and probably do feel hugging is too physical but … I love a hug! A proper, normal, face on hug! When I hug a friend sex doesn’t even come into it. I love Jesus, I’ve left my past sexual immorality behind but hugging? HARMLESS!

  37. Alyss says

    Call me crazy, but I have never encountered the side hug before! I have grown up in the church, as well as Christian schooling, but we always hug each other properly – full on frontal. Come to think of it, I’ve rarely encountered most of the stuff on this site – probably over 90% of the things mentioned I have never experienced. I must go to the only “perfect church” on earth. =P
    Anyway, I still find the site hilarious and get plenty of laughs from it!

  38. Kidsis says

    I’m working my way through the first 500.

    So, yeah, I’ve side hugged some people, but there’s also others that I end up cuddling when they try that. Most of the hugs I get are from people I grew up with, so if there are lust issues, they aren’t on my side.

    My personal favorite is the sneak attack. That’s when you sneak up behind the other person and wrap your arms around them. Most people are caught offguard.

    I have a feeling that I’ll be running around Heaven hugging everyone.

  39. Phinehas says

    i like hugs…alot. yet it does depend on who i am hugging. someone i don’t know well i won’t hug at all. if they come in for a hug i try and make it a side hug. it’s just not something i’m comfortable with people i don’t know well.

    then there are the friends i go to hug who make it a side hug. i respect that. for whatever reason they have in making it a side hug…ok.

    as for full-frontal hugs from my guys friend…i find it to be a very comforting action. there is an element of security and peace when hugging my “brothers”. yet it’s painfully obvious that some of them do not like the frontal hug i offer. either they are so far away from me when i wrap my arms around them our shoulders alone hardly touch or they divert to the side hug faster than a jumpy squirrel.

    if my “brothers” don’t want to feel breasts against their own chest to avoid wrong thought patterns, feelings etc…then dang it i won’t hug them that way!

    however if it is ok for me to hug them that way then i will indeed. some of my “brothers” give the most outstanding hugs and i will be honest in saying i thoroughly enjoy being held by them. it’s such an encouragement etc.

    by the way reading through all of these was fantastic!

    • anon says

      you could just try hugging your Christian sisters. You know, the ones that you should be hanging out with until you meet your husband? You don't need hugs from guys to find a way to connect physically with others. God only really intended for your emotions, hopes/fears/dreams, and physical touch needs to be be met by one man: your future hubby. so until then, hug all you want…just keep it between you and your girlfriends.

      (side note: we've let the church become too much like the world. Ladies and gents should mostly stick to hanging with each other and with older ladies and gents to mentor them in the ways of growing. Having all kinds of mixed friends that we run to and cry to just ends up to emotional attachments, and often…premarital sex. You know it's true.)

      • purl says

        Come on. Really? How do we meet said husband if we are surrounded by girls? And no i don't know that having opposite sex friends = premarital sex. Has never been an issue for me.

      • Alleycat says

        …Or we could be like radical Muslim extremists, how about that? They’re not like the rest of the world at all. So much so, in fact, that they threaten annihilation, slavery, conversion, or death rather than coexistence. I’m sure you can get your physical touch needs met while you’re wearing a burka and sitting in the back of the church with the other women.

  40. Caitlin says

    The side hug ends up being 10x more awkard than the regular hug because you're never sure which side they're going for…

    • DavidW says

      Wow is that ever true. This last weekend I had a mixup with a friend whether we were going for the high-five, side-hug or full-frontal hug. Yeah, way to be decisive there me.

  41. George says

    Titus 1:15
    To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

  42. Anonymous says

    Wow, this has a lot of comments. I would have to say that the "A-frame" hug bothers me more. If I give a guy friend a frontal hug (we sound so technical…), I still want it to be a real hug. I'm pretty sure he's NOT thinking about my breasts all the time, and we just want to show affection. Most people aren't pervs. So give a real hug, and stop trying to be Christianly-correct.

  43. Ashley says

    Nothing beats the "LifeWay hug." When a student approaches camp staff, camp staff should extend the hand for a handshake and turn the student a half-turn to allow everyone (who should have "every head bowed and every eye closed") to see the generous space between staff and student. Nothing says Jesus loves you like a handshake…

  44. Anonymous says

    Dear Jon…
    we, my friend and i, enjoy reading this post and the many comments following shortly thereafter. i perfer refering to the side-hug as a personal choice. i personally think that if you are tempted with sexual desires, then i think you ought to take caution while taking the "full frontal hug." but if you do not feel tempted, then i think that the "full frontal hug" is not a sin. It is all in the matter of the heart! Dont judge people who hug each other, it could be totally innocent. :)

  45. Anonymous says

    Dear John, My friend and I enjoy reading this post and the comments following shortly thereafter. The full frontal hug, when done properly, I believe is quite alright. Even though we do practice the "side hug" often. A hug is a friendly gesture that can be used and abused by many who seek out harmful desires. In conclusion, do not judge your fellow Christ follows by their choice of Hug.

    From the words of a wise man
    "Side hugs don't make babies"

  46. Anonymous says

    When I first read this I thought it was a joke! I'm a guy who LOVES "frontal" hugs. The fact that there is chest on chest contact isn't even an issue! I don't know who made that up. It's nothing sexual either, it's not about that at all, it's a good non sexual way to show affection.
    Growing up it's never been weird to hug my mom or sisters, why should it be different for hugging girls that are friends?
    All I see here is a bunch of people worried about what someone will think if they see their chests touch.
    If you don't feel comfortable with that sort of contact fine. But it's important when you set yourself a moral standard, that it's based on your relationship with god and not based on what the world will see.

  47. Anonymous says

    I had NEVER experienced the side hug until 2 years ago. I've always gone to church and been in a christian-like group for about a year, beofore that, and only got the sidehug until I saw someone I knew at a gathering. It was shocking. I was astonished. I mused about it when I got back home and started wondering where that amazing thing came from. I'd never heard of side hugs. I'd never thought about using side hugs. I think they're great though.

  48. Ryan says

    Alright. I have this frustration with side hugs that irritates me to no end.
    As a guy, I do not get many hugs, and I do not have any sexual motive for the rare hugs I get. Some people refuse to hug me, simply because they have a FEAR of hugging me, even though it relieves my stress greatly even if its only for a second. I refuse to call these people friends.
    Why, you ask? Because if someone refuses to give you a full-on hug,they either:
    a) do not trust you
    b) are uncomfortable around you
    c) do not know you well enough.

    Maybe there are exceptions, but I've found that if someone can walk up and give me a hug anytime (guy or girl) they're a friend for life! If they can't or don't…I have a low expectation for the life expectancy of the friendship!

  49. Anonymous says

    In my life since i was little i have gone thorught alot of abuse and it stoped me from loving anyone even my friends then this past summer i went to camp Norland and made some really greatfriends and they dont do a side hug they just give a big bear hug and they are christians like me and we have never heard of that type of hug even if thats how we hug when were a group but pebbles and candy always justgave bear hugs and showed all their love and cared about us sooo much and i will always remenbre them for all they have tought me… You can still love you just have to be carefull of who you love because it can turn really bad really fast… I should know

  50. Jeff says

    So I relatively recently found this site — a couple months ago tops. And I've been that lurker who just reads many of the posts and gets a good laugh. After reading this post, Jon, I laughed at it, but couldn't remember a time when I had been on either side of the side-hug — giving or receiving. Fast forward (or rewind, depending on where you think we are in time) to last week, I go back to the city where I went to college for one of my best friends wedding and a bunch of us are carpooling to a concert and thus meeting in a parking lot. I get out of the car and see a couple people I haven't seen in a few years. 1st person I run into, we do the full frontal hug. Bam, done, not a problem in the world, it's like nothing's changed. I then run into the next person, standing right next to the person I had just given a full frontal hug to, and I slowly approach with the most important question — are we hugging? So I start to go in for the hug, but what happens?? My right arm slowly goes around her back, with her left hand behind my mine, and before I knew it, we were there: the fully embraced side-hug. Inside, I couldn't have laughed harder at the recognition that at that present moment, I was half of a side hug.

  51. says

    This just makes me think of "the man hug" our youth group guys came up with! They do a really quick frontal hug where they just lean into each other (barely touching) and slap eachother's backs. It cracks me up every time they do it. It only lasts for about a second but it's pretty creative I must say. Sure beats the side hug hehe.

  52. Anonymous says

    My father is a minister, I grew up in church, yada, yada… I'm quite familiar with the side hug. However, as a 30 year old professional, the 'ole side hug reached an all new level today. I had a meeting with a pastor and his wife who are friends with my father, as well as clients of mine. When it came time to leave, I gave the pastor's wife a fragile, yet full-frontal hug, then leaned toward the pastor in hte "proper" side hug position only to be awkwardly intercepted by a handshake! Ah, a handshake!!! Not even a side hug! Wow.

  53. JoieLove says

    Omgoodness the side hugs!!! Theyre soo awkward! I hate when people give me side hugs at church and our faces bang into each others.
    Another awkward one is when I extend my arms to give a full-frontal hug, and then I see their hand extended to give me a handshake…then I put my hand out to shake theirs and then they try to give me a hug..that is the weirdest thing ever!!
    And this next one normally only happens if you have mothers(older women) in the church:

    They give you a side hug and put their cheek out for you to kiss it, but you end up putting your cheek so they kiss it and so you guys just end up bumping cheeks..

  54. says

    on the subject of side hugs, well i don't see the point of hugs at all but a side hug is preferable to squishing my breasts up into Aunt Mildred's.

    just sayin'

  55. Sara says

    I'm christian, I have been going to Church for 20 years, because I wanted to, not because my parents went, in fact they don't even go. I have read and understood the teachings of God and follow the Bible as best as I can. But to all you 'Side Huggers' out there let me just let you in on a little secret, not everything in the bible is ment to be taken literally… The time period in which the bible was written comes from a time long passed. These rules where written so women (who were considered possessions at the time) wouldn't touch other men. The Bible also says in Deuteronomy 22:5; The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (King James Bible) And last time I checked lady's wore pants!

  56. GrumpyOldMan says

    If you want to hug something, go find yourself a dog or something… Hell, I don't even want to shake your hand and share your germs that way… Just stay out of my space… BTW, my space reaches out about as far as my *fist* will reach… Don't invade it and we'll both be the better for it…

  57. Gus Snarp says

    Back when I was an evangelical Christian youth, we just hugged the old fashioned way. We did it all the time. These people have really gone too far now.

    Wonder if they realize these youth conferences are used by kids as a chance to get away from their parents for a weekend so they can make out with their youth group friends or people they meet at the conference?

  58. Claudia says

    I think this is really silly, I'm sorry. Why does mainline Christianity have to sexualize absolutely every form of human contact???

    This is just one of many reasons I get embarrassed about Christianity, and I'm a Christian (though I'm not protestant, I am working towards converting to Orthodox Christianity).

    And btw, my church does have a holy kiss :D

  59. says

    No, i don't think most people find frontal hugs a sinful abomination, although on some occasions maybe a little awkward. Its just a bit of exaggeration for comedic effect

  60. says

    What's with all the hating on side hugs and sometimes Christians in many of the recent comments? Can't people understand some exaggeration and humour when they see it? Aren't they feeling the side hug love?

  61. Guest User says

    this is just dumb…. hug people the way they want to be hugged, and only in appropriate situations. If your heart is pure in its intent on the hug, and you clearly communicate that, it doesn't matter your you freakin hug. Sheesh… so many uptight people here…

  62. says

    I ONLY side hug! Let me tell you why.

    First off, I'm a young Christian male. One evening I went out to a friends house to meet with other young people and talk about faith issues. There were mostly other guys there and a couple of girls. We were all having a good conversation, and everyone was feeling pretty comfortable with each other. It was so great that we all kind of lost track of time. I realized that I should probably get going. Everyone stood up and started front hugging each other good-bye, even the girls. Then I front hugged this guy that I had been talking to most of the evening. It was a pretty straight forward front hug, except I noticed that he was, how do I put this, aroused "down below." It kind of brushed against my hip. I didn't really react, and it all happened so quickly. Later when I got home, I thought how odd it was that he was stimulated in that way but didn't give it too much thought. Well, next week I was over at another friend's house party, and I see the same guy out. We talked, and I casually mentioned that I had noticed his down below and made a joke about how he should keep it to himself. He laughed, and then put his hand on my arm. The next thing I knew we were making out in the bathroom. I mean, I'm not gay, and this kind of thing hasn't happened before, but that front hug really caught me off guard. From now on, I'm only side hugging.

    • God is love says

      Dear former_front_hugger,

      I think you might need to take a moment and evaluate your life and your sexual orientation. If you are scared that a front hug might lead to you participating in homosexual acts, you might have to evaluate why it was that you participated in those acts. You cannot blame a frontal hug for your actions. Could it be that you are perhaps gay? I think that may be the case and I would advise you to surround yourself with people who love and support you, not matter what. Good luck to you.

      Otherwise, the side hug is the most amazingly ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. I am a Christian myself and am embarrassed at what others promote and defend in the name of Christianity. The world needs to embrace God as pure love, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, or even religion. God is love!

      • Matt says

        I'm assuming that former_front_hugger was employing satire. Trying to point out the ridiculous of frontal hugging girls.

        However, I prefer the side hug myself. Yes, it causes lustful problems with me. And yes, that is my fault. But, it is the truth.

  63. marsha brunetta says

    This is ridiculous! If when hugging you are concerned about what body parts touch, you should not be hugging at all. If you think that way, you may want to slide your hand across the buttocks or grab a breast with that wrap around. What will be next? Everyone walk around with their eyes closed so we don't get tempted to look at each others clothed body parts?

  64. Forrest A. Baker says

    Homophobic discussion……If perversion is the intent of 1 of the huggers, he/she shall be punished in due course. It doesn't mean he takes you with him/her. Your intent will save you. It's all about intent. Love your neighbor whether or not he/she loves themselves. Act as you feel, not as others would judge to be the way you should act.

  65. says

    Hahaha!!!! I love the side hug! I'm in Campus Crusade for Christ here at college, and the "side-hug" is the default hug for people who you're not sure about. "Ohh… You're not in my Bible study… You're not in my small group…I don't know you very well…I want to hug you to show the love of the body of Christ though…ohh…uh….SIDE HUG!!!" It's a great solution. Especially for those "awkward opposite-sex friendships" we all cultivate! LOVE IT!

  66. Joo says

    I mean… if you're giving this side hug to someone thinking you're preventing your mind to go to those places you all consider to be that sinful (I don't see why so serious about that) than you're already thinking about sex. what's the point then? will I give someone a side hug and then be thinking "oh, this person didn't want to think about doing me while hugging me, how thoughtful". super weird people you all.

  67. Guest says

    I prefer the full frontal hug, or as I like to call it "The Devil's front hug of maximum crotch rubbing pleasure"

  68. Tracey says

    This is seriously funny! However, the people at my church are much more liberal. Well, the younger folks anyway… We give big hugs and squeezes. But I do practice the side-hug with people I'm not really familiar with, and I've seen many people do it, complete with the "blessing pats". Lol! (Jon, you're KILLING me here!) In fact, the older people give blessing pats whenever and in whichever way they hug the younger ones. I think the pats are used to clearly state to onlookers that "this is not what it looks like". :-) Whatever it looks like…

  69. jody says

    When it comes to church, I'm a hugger. It's what I do. Full on, no-holes-barred hugs. I walk into church and hug everyone. Men, women, children … not many escape my wrath. Although first- time visitors, especially those with that awkward, "if she hugs me, I'll never come back here" look, usually get a non-frontal pat on the shoulder with welcoming words, or perhaps a handshake to creepy looking male visitors. lol. (don't want anyone to feel excluded, y'know… that'd make me a piously elite or worse!)

    Here's why it's a non-issue for me:

    1. I have no hidden agenda. I know my motives are pure. It's my hello/goodbye/I'm sorry …
    2. I am pretty dang sure all the [recipients of said hugs] know I don't do it for cheap thrills.
    3. Most of the 'hugees' are people who I've known for many years and know the security of my 20-year marriage.
    4. I do not consider myself "hot." (You laugh, but right now you're all thinking about how you cringe when your significant other gets a full-frontal hug from a hottie….)
    5. God made me an emotional being with a heart for compassion. Sometimes people just need a hug… get over it.
    6. Side hugs don't do the heart justice in many cases.
    7. Refer to #1. OK, I didn't really have a number 7 in mind, but it is the number of completion after all, so I had to create one.

    Thanks, Jon, I always enjoy your blog!!

  70. Guus Pot says

    Little boys taking a cue from the Wu-Tang Clan – trying to be as gangsta as they can.

    This 'reprasents' a world of fail, if you ask me – "i'm a rough ridah" (but i cannot give you a normal hug for i fear lust will overtake me and i will have to go to confession); now there's a contradiction in terms, isn't there?

    One last question remains.

    Are side-hugs given from the Wes'side (yo) or the Eas'Side (yo) ?

    Yes, this is coming from a nonbeliever. Taoist-Agnostic-Hedonist to be precise.

    @ – say what you want to say

    Peace out.

  71. Michael says

    Since we're on the subject of greetings/goodbyes and the physical aspects of it…….

    Hug-wise, I'll give anyone a hug. I don't care; hugs are fine with me.

    But it is the handshake DEAD FISH that makes my skin crawl. My affected right hand starts shaking like Mr. Hyde has an axe to grind. Seriously. Nobody seems to know how to give a decent, strong handshake these days. *sighs*

  72. Proud Front Hugger says

    I find this whole conversation quite odd. Life is so short. Hug often. Hug passionately. Purity is a myth.

  73. Philip says

    Consenting adults can hug any old way they want. CONSENTING ADULTS. What's the bible or religion have to do with this matter at all? NOT A THING. Imagine going through life to uptight to hug your friends. Jeez – get over it!

  74. brian says

    yaeh but the song says that you will be in a coma if you have a front hug so i dont think they are christian if they want to put people in comas

  75. hrm says

    There was a guy in our church who was unbearably hot in the tall and muscle-y way. Girls would practically LINE UP after services to give this guy a side hug. Every once in a while we'd get a new girl in youth group who would try to front hug him, and all the other girls would get offended/jealous, but eventually New Girl would get the hint and get in line. And then he married the unbearably hot girl that the guys were all lined up to side hug, and they just had what will probably be an unbearably hot kid, so the legend can continue.

  76. Jordan H. says

    Hi, so are all these articles yours? Like you write them all? I have been going to church since I was born. I’ve been to almost evry kind you can go to, some of the strictest churches out there, but I have never heard anything this rediculous. I now am a worship leader at my local church and I am just in awe at the….strangeness if this post and where on earth you got this information. Surely not from the bible, bc I am going to need more than just a “try Psalms” thing…if you have to worry about being turned on by hugging, then there is more than just hugging you need to fix. If you have the time of day to sit around and think of random rules to make up in order to be a PURE christian, I find that very sad. I would love for you to e-mail me back and TRY to explain your side. I also am unnerved by the sheer idiocracy of some of your other posts reguarding “opposite sex friendships” and the V neck post. I think you have too much Time on your hands and are giving most Christians a bad name, and putting a bad taste in non-Christians mouths. On top of evrything else, u seem to brag about being wealthy and such in your “opposite sex friendships” post. Are you not supposed to be humble? In any case, I would like to hear back from you in order to try to understand you better. Thank You.

    Jordan H.

    • says


      Are you serious with this post? He is completely sarcastic about saying this notion is in Psalms, and is making fun of the way many people do this. I can tell you, this is a reality in many churches and it is a bit odd. The point of this post is satire, to say that there is nothing wrong with normal hugs, so why are so many people doing the side hug. I guess since you’ve somehow been fortunate enough to miss this recent phenomenon in our culture, the humor was lost on you. I found this hilarious.


    • says

      Holy moly.
      Do you know the definition of satire? Please look it up. Please.

      "If you have the time of day to sit around and think of random rules to make up in order to be a PURE christian, I find that very sad."
      The whole point of this blog is to poke fun of the silly things Christians do thinking they're being holy.

      I wish I could say something else, but I'm really just amazed that you so completely missed it all so badly…. I'm kinda floored even. Like I really hope you're not serious, but I think, unfortunately, you are.

    • Alleycat says

      Dear Jonathon Swift:
      Are you serious??? Do you seriously think eating children will solve the hunger problem??? Children are PEOPLE and I am DEEPLY OFFENDED that you would even entertain such a thought. FURTHERMORE, I have children of my own and I LOVE THEM DEARLY. Your suggestion that eating children would solve a famine by 1)providing a healthy, nutritious meal for adults and 2)Lowering the population to meet the current supply of food is just plain SICK!!! I’m NEVER reading your books AGAIN!!
      N.O. Sensahumor
      P.S. Please email me so we can discuss further.

  77. Lauren Loho says

    Oh my oh my, I'm a very huggy person so am guily of the side-hug-and-roll. But seriously? Its so dumb, when i hug someone, i freaking mean it (why? because i love you)! Side hugs piss me off to NO END, its like thier acting like you have herpes on the outside of your clothes. For the record….I dont =9 Christians make me smile, we're SO akward!!

  78. Nadine says

    hugs become even more dangerous, if making them sidehugs. the critical question is actually: who's arm's the upper one? many embarrassing moments.

  79. says

    Never dealt with this 'til I moved to Texas. Coming from Hawaii, there is always a HUGE bear hug and most of the time a kiss on the cheek. I was extremely put-off when i got the side hug–like I went in for a hug and was physically pushed to the side and then pushed away. Insane! It's gotta just be a cultural thing, but I think get wayyyy too wrapped around the axle about insignificant things.

  80. Jennifer says

    Has the world really become so bad that a hug is considered sexual?! Front hug, side hug, who the heck cares? No one I know hates hugs or thinks there's anything sexual about them. Most people like hugs. I'd be really concerned if your mind is so in the gutter that when you hug someone from the front you automatically think of sex.

    However, if you are absolutely sure that the person you want to hu may be uncomfortable, try the side-hug. We should be aware of other's consciences and try not to offend. But understand that if both have the right mind-set there's nothing wrong with a front-hug. And some people may feel offended by the side-hug because, to me, it's kind of like saying I only like you half-way.

    Anyways, we should be careful not to offend; but when it comes down to it there is nothing wrong with a front-hug.

  81. Anonymous says

    You're turning hugging; an age long act of showing friendship, into something dirty because two crotches may touch? You all are the most pathetic people I know of. You are turning all forms of physical contact into taboo. What's this going to tell future generations, that any form of contact with another human being is wrong, unless you're married? You all need to grow up. The side hug is just another way for the church to try and control your actions. You all mindlessly follow it, like the sheep you are. To speak from your side, use what brains God gave you, and don't follow like lambs to the slaughter…

  82. Gr0g says

    I’m Canadian. Nobody touches me. When I went to school in Tennessee, people were more demonstrative. It used to make my skin crawl, and I actually cringed… but then I understood that people touch other people they don’t actually want to.

    I feel incredibly spatially alone.

  83. says

    Side Hugs….good and bad. With Christian friends who I know…I like the full frontal hug saying that we know who each other is very great! I'm also talking when you hug…hug like you mean it. Hug somewhat hard (not squeezing the breath out of them) and hold it for longer than a second. Depending on the person if they continue to hug I do too. Then…know when to let go…especially if the other has loosened their hug and given you the hand tap saying…I'm done…please let go. Side hugs are acceptable when its a man and I know him better than a handshake…but not comfortable (yet or ever) with a full frontal hug.

  84. BKG says

    I suppose hugging yourself would lead to masturbation. Can't hug your dog or cat – look out for beastiality!

    Actions like a frontal hug is not going to lead to sinning. Sin starts in the heart long before an action. This side hug thing is lame and embarrassing. If you don't want to hug someone, shake their hand.

  85. OneCandleOfLife says

    Side hugs are just terrible. They are weak, flimsy, tentative, and any other synonym for weak. Full fledged hugs really are the best way to tell someone that you care for them. Id be willing to say that even Jesus didn't side-hug people. Now, if hugging someone is honestly that big of a lust issue, than just don't hug at all. Ive had discussions about hugs with probably all of my friends (ranging from very close to the ones I see once every couple weeks) and side-hugs were repeatedly shot down. I guess the point of my rambling is that there is nothing wrong with body to body hugs, but if you really feel that there's something wrong with them, then I guess the side-hug is o.k.

  86. says

    Nothing combines the purity of the side hug with all the impersonal distance of a handshake like the hand-hug. Like a high-five or handshake, the opposite hands are extended towards each other. The palms then meet with finger tips facing upward. Next, the thumb reaches around to the back of the other person's hand (in lieu of arms), embracing the hands. In fact, this is probably even holier than a side hug because you can maintain two arms length between you and the other party at all times. : D Great way to great fellow summer staffers of the opposite sex in the morning and not have campers spend the rest of the week trying to get you to fall in love and get married at sunset on Friday (you may thinking I'm joking. I'm not).

    As a summer camp staffer, I know all the reasons we maintain boundaries between staff and campers and I completely respect that. We do side-hug, high-five, and show affection to campers. We just make sure it could no way be misconstrued. Especially since whole families come to camp, it is a great way to demonstrate the respect for the marriages of our campers! It's also a way to be "all things to all people" that we may show them the love of Christ!

  87. ddkui says

    guys i have a question, i have this girl childhood friend who i hug every time i see her, she is Christian also but im pretty sure she is not aware of this.. when she asks for a hug do i give the side hug?

  88. Savannah says

    If you are in church and getting turned on by a hug, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!!!! There is nothing wrong with hugging! hugging is good for the heart mind and soul! It says in the bible: 1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss….
    Jesus, yes Jesus, kiss everyone, he is not a sinner and there was and is nothing wrong with what he did. You think Jesus would curse you for hugging? Get a grip. If Jesus was alive today, he would be the first one in line to give out a friendly hug!

  89. Andrea says

    I have just found your website via a friend's Facebook posting and I love it! The "Side Hug" has me roaring! I SO do that. Afraid to be all pressin' my body against people, seems so improper. HILARIOUS!

  90. Odin says

    I can't really see the difference in these hugs, besides one is on the side. i mean people are still touching, people crutches are still going to be close and if there is an attraction there a side hug really isn't going to stop them.

  91. says

    THIS. IS. TRUE. I am laughing so hard right now. I have friends that I grew up with that we used to hug all the time and now its like, side hugs for everybody. If you even try to give someone a real hug nowadays you get "the eye". This is why I pretty much stick to high fives and fist bumps. I am not really down with the side hug (except for a few friends that seem to love it so whatever). This is cousin to the "extreme lean-in" hug.

  92. KBweeV says

    I work at a Christian youth camp so the side hug is essential!! I have taught many girls how to "throw the hip" to avoid frontal hugs. I have to get a side hug shirt for this summer!!!

  93. says

    I encountered the side hug for the first time really. It's interesting, and while it was happening all I could think about was this post! LOL.

  94. 70's Guy says

    Anyone who was in grade school in the early 70's knows that the "Flip Wilson Handshake" is the way to go, although it does require hip contact. The youthful clueless might want to search this out on YouTube although I haven't researched it and am proud to know very little about that type of technology. BTW, someone needs to start a rock group called "The Youthful Clueless" .

  95. 70's Guy says

    Anyone who was in grade school in the early 70's knows that the "Flip Wilson Handshake" is the way to go, although it does require hip contact. The youthful clueless might want to search this out on YouTube although I haven't researched it and am proud to know very little about that type of technology. BTW, someone needs to start a rock group called "The Youthful Clueless" .

  96. 70's Guy says

    Anyone who was in grade school in the early 70's knows that the "Flip Wilson Handshake" is the way to go, although it does require hip contact. The youthful clueless might want to search this out on YouTube although I haven't researched it and am proud to know very little about that type of technology. BTW, someone needs to start a rock group called "The Youthful Clueless" .

  97. 70's Guy says

    Anyone who was in grade school in the early 70's knows that the "Flip Wilson Handshake" is the way to go, although it does require hip contact. The youthful clueless might want to search this out on YouTube although I haven't researched it and am proud to know very little about that type of technology. BTW, someone needs to start a rock group called "The Youthful Clueless" .

  98. Randall says

    I learned the "side hug" when I did a short-term mission in 1993 with DELTA Ministries International, an arm of the Conservative Baptist denomination.

  99. steve says

    You stupid christians are such phonies. Side hugs? Come on! You might as well not touch. First its all this kindness then its hold off man this hug must be for sex or something. I know a couple of women who pull this and they love to act like they're being so wonderfully human to give me this phony touch routine. I mean why even bother? Aren't the hips touching too? I think some people use it as a means of feeling righteous -especially women. Its as if they're saying i'm going to keep the perverts in check. I find it insulting and it freaked out one of these gals when i wouldn't reciprocate her attempt at a half hug. I just stood there and said hello. I say let the half hug die with the dinosaur. Hug or don't hug but keep the righteous off me dear god with their half witted behaviors.

  100. says

    I admit that I will use the side-hug if ever I am confronted with hugging someone of the opposite sex at church. Especially if it is a new member joining. Well obviously you don't want to make them uncomfortable the day that they join, right? I have no problems with frontal man-hugs however. I'm not 100 % sure what that says about me, but thats just what I do. I have to admit my wife is sometimes concerned about my bromances with some of my guys at church.

  101. Talia says

    i'm new to this blog, so maybe this has already been done, but i suggest…..Christians love making everything about sex. this side-hug thing made me think of it. i know this is something people do, but in my personal life, it has never occurred to me to make a full-frontal hug a stumbling block for physical intimacy. i know about a friend who wasn't gonna full-frontal her fiance even until she was married, so of course they weren't gonna kiss either. and that floored me so much. i feel like Christians put so much emphasis on NO SEX NO SEX NO SEX that it ends up being all we think about anyway….and when it comes time to enjoy it with our spouse, we have to totally rewire our brains for it to be okay. i've seen pure relationships suffer from this because after marriage the couple can't enjoy sex because it's been such a negative thing up until then.

    • Alleycat says

      You may have a point. Try this: Close your eyes and try VERY hard to NOT think about an elephant. Now, what are you thinking about? Certainly not an ostrich

  102. Side hugs rule says

    Bought the book and am laughing so hard!!! Never heard of the website until I saw the book and now I am interested in reading everyone's comments.
    I find it sad all the arguing about the side hug though. This is an era in America where if a school teacher says "Congratulations" and pats the kid on the shoulder that he could be investigated for child sexual assault. So I find the side hug to be a great compromise for showing affection in a community and still CYA.
    BTW for all those who think it is ridiculous to equate hugs with sex, I was a very frontal huggy preteen who hadnt realized she had "blossomed" until sexually assaulted by a grandpa type during a frontal hug. It has taken me decades to be able to hug anyone at church and it is almost always a side hug. Full frontal hugs are now reserved for my husband, certain extended family members, and same gender BFFs. I do have some non-same gender BFFs but I exercise caution on full frontal hugs with them because I want to "Abstain from all appearance of evil" 1Thess 5:22.

  103. Tentmaker_oz says

    Well Argeninian christian males, greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
    Other Latin American christians (and non christians) greet eachother with a kiss on the cheek for the opposite sex.
    There is (should be) nothing sexual about the greeting.
    It is a cultural thing, people should get over their hangups, but also be respectful and understanding of other cultures, and new people.

  104. says

    If you don't want your crotches to touch, don't thrust your pelvis forward. Common sense.

    Anyone who has a problem with this should take partnered dance lessons. There you will learn how to make full frontal contact while leaving your crotch out of it. I have made some very good full frontal contact with men without any sexual organ contact. It's amazing. :-)

  105. bigshoulders says

    i don't particularly like hugging in genreal unless it's a family member or a gf. However some people, guys and girls are offended if you don't give them a hug if they know you.

  106. daniel lionsden says

    The side hug does leave your back side open to infringement. I know from experience(not so flattering from an 85 year old lady with an apparent goose-like nerve tick in her fingers). Perhaps that is why the children called her mother goose. #shudder#

  107. Guest Commenter says

    I CANNOT stop laughing, thank you thank you for posting these snippets of hilarity :)
    p.s. Side hugs have been a pet peeve of mine since grade school, and so I always go in for the Real Thang- life is short, if I'm giving someone a hug, they're getting the big ol' bear hug <3

  108. says

    Have you ever noticed that the Duggars have the side hug DOWN? I've never seen anyone in that family give a frontal hug. Not even among siblings, and for real, if you are so afraid of bodily contact that you won't even wrap your arms around your own blood sister, something is very wrong with your Word.

  109. Anita says

    I don't like pressing my body up against a man I am not intimate with. Those of you who are freaked out about the idea of side hugs need to get over it. Sometimes a full on hug may feel like a mauling under the guise of being friendly.

  110. says

    Side hugs? Seriously? This should be the badge of Phariseeism. If you're that insecure and uptight about bodily contact that you need to "side hug" people you have mastered the ranks of extreme religious fervor. Give your self a self-righteous pat on the back now there!

  111. CJ says

    I dedicated my life to Christ four years ago, as an adult. In the childhood church I’d noticed a lot of Christians (particularly my parents) had lots of serious hangups (and usually petty). To my chagrin, as an adult and in the past 4 years, I’ve again noticed a ton of hangups. As for this “side hug” business, I’d noticed the pastor who led me to Christ would hug me with his pelvis noticeably drawn back. He was like a brother, no need to be so noticeably squeamish! And it turns out he and spouse have such a hangup about other Christians in general and to what extent there’s communication and fellowship (you read that right), even if involving other securely long-term married couples (me included), that they consistently drive others away. Now it’s to the point for the past 2 years we have zero fellowship or communication. Probably never will again. There is a hypocrisy in his dealings with others which, on principal, I could not tolerate and he refused to listen to reason. Sad overall.

    Agape love and fellowship in Christianity should be the most natural thing on Earth. But no, it’s ruined by silly attitudes and un-Christlike fears and sometimes political agendas.

    So here we are, four years later: My spouse still refuses to attend church with me, I’ve withdrawn from attendance because apparently even a middle-aged mildly overweight MARRIED woman is somehow considered “a threat” by various mentally unhinged types, there is zero communication with the pastor or his wife who led me to Christ four years ago.

    So this “side hug” business? Doesn’t surprise me in the least. I thought Christ SETS YOU FREE.

    Unfortunately there are a ton of slaves to fear and suspicion instead.

  112. mandy says

    I'm a front-hugger, but I have a couple of guy friends who always swing me around for a forced side hug. Or they turn 90 degrees right before we make contact. Talk about awkward.

  113. kimberlee says

    Being 4-11 and having friends much taller than me I don't like the full frontal hug because I might as well motorboat them!! :P sorry, can I say that here?

  114. says

    I hug both to the side and to the front, the key is to not, in a woman's case, press your chest against whom ever might be receiving said hug. That's awkward on both ends. I hate when I get another woman's chest pressed against mine, and I certainly don't want to be doing such do my female OR male friends. Just general respect, that's all.

  115. MegAnn says

    My husband is a VERY affectionate person who will hug anyone and everyone. When a good friend recently told him that when we first met her she thought he was hitting on her, he freaked out. Turns out it was because he hugged her good-bye. He is now working on “side-hugging” except for close family & friends. In our day and age it’s better to be safe than sorry…

    • Jonathan B says

      I come from a hugging family as well, but we do have a good Southern propriety rule: a male should never hug a female at first meeting unless *she* initiates it. This allows the woman to establish the comfort level, so that there is no appearance of making advances. Once the “hug level” is established, you don’t have to worry about it much.

      Because friends online tend to hug a lot over instant messenger and such, I usually tend to work this rule into the conversation when planning a meet-up with a female friend from my gaming groups (assuming we do hug online). Something like “You’re welcome to a hug if you want one, but you’ll have to initiate it the first time as Southern propriety requires the male not hug a female till she initiates it.”

    • Charisse C. says

      I agree, they offend me too. I love hugs, squishy, warm, full body contact bear hugs. I would rather not hug at all if we have to be unnatural and pervert a beautiful thing. On the other hand, I don’t want to push someone beyond their level of maturity, because that would not be showing love to my weaker brother. So, I just suck it up and hug them how they are comfortable.

  116. says

    My primary love language (if you don't already have an entry about those…) is physical touch, so I've given and received my fair share of side hugs. The type of hug really depends on the level of familiarity with the other person: any time the youth group is around, you will see plenty of side hugs, but then you'll also see the "dance huggers", the "back poppers", the "ninja sneakers", etc. The variations have actually become a bit of a joke in a very small, eccentric circle.

  117. says

    The side hug is a new one to me. I'm more familiar with the lean-in one-armed shoulder hug. You know, when you stand a good foot and a half apart, both people awkwardly lean in and gingerly wrap a single arm around the other's back – alternate arms, of course. A mini-embrace, followed by a single pat on the back – or double if you're really affectionate, and then quickly straighten back up from the waist and take a step back so as not to crowd personal space…

  118. Rick says

    My in-laws invented the side hug. Really, it's sad, maybe even tragic among Christians; however, you've got to remember that it's about them (unless of course you have b-o).

  119. Ian says

    The problem I have with the side hug is that a lot of nice people put their hands right on my pistol, which I carry on my belt, under my shirt at three o'clock. I have developed protective habit:

    1) staying in my chair near any known side huggers – this one works pretty well!
    2) keeping my right arm reflexively tight against my side so that can't work their hand in there. This one has the result of making the hug come off awkward – which makes me seem like I don't like the side hug.


    • Rebecca says

      I side hug specifically because when we hug “full frontal” people always end up hugging my pistol. =P I tend to side hug on the right, with my left arm stiff on my side so that nobody bumps my gun. It is awfully awkward when they do end up touching it, especially at church.

    • Wendy says

      I am scrolling down the page and when you said that they put their hands right on your “pistol” I’m afraid that I misunderstood and spent some time twitching around in my chair trying to envision a hug posture that would include “pistolling”. Ick. Sorry.

  120. Phillip says

    I think everyone should cover their bodies as exposed flesh can cause the mind to wander to impure thoughts. Even ones eyes need to be covered as eye contact can be sensual and elicit impure thoughts…… No but really you all need to work on controlling your thoughts. You can side hug air 5 or what ever , if your a pervert that gets hard from a hug you're the problem no the hug. Like someone said if you dont want to hug then dont hug dont come up with some rationalization that front hugging leads to sin or sinful thoughts. Im a sinner to the most degree working toward bettering myself and I have never thought about sexual actions while hugging someone. If I was thinking about sex it happened before I was hugging them and the hig didnt increase the thoughts or desires. You all have so much sexual frustration you dont even realize sex is running your lives. Like reverse sex addicts. You spend so much time avoiding sexual stimulation it seems to be all you think about.

  121. .sg says

    I'm cool with the sidey. It's way better than when someone comes up for the full frontal and they straddle up to you with that smirk that says, "Come here…"

  122. Missykinns :] says

    I went to a very conservative Christian high school where hugs of all kinds (frontal, side, or otherwise) were extremely frowned upon, especially with members of the opposite sex. that's why my friends and I created the "hand hug." it's like a high five meets a friendly hug. start by high-fiveing the person you wish to hand hug (make sure you're both using the same hand or things will quickly turn into awkward-side-hand-hug mode). proceed to wrap your thumb around that person's hand, thus creating a hand hug.
    say you're using your right hand, and your friend is using their left hand. if you try to wrap your thumbs around each other's hands, you'll quickly realize you've just created an awkward sidehug with your hands. that makes things even more awkward.

  123. Jen says

    Soo funny! I went to a private Baptist high school and during our mock wedding for marriage and family class where classmates were paired up and "married" we could "side hug" our bride/groom depending on if you were a girl or boy. Also, my high school youth group when I was growing up, couples were told to "leave room for the Holy Spirit" when hugging or hanging out!

  124. sisterprincess says

    hahaha ~ very true, 'specially no huggie between the opposite sexes lest a frown cometh your way; however, the side hug is more genuine than the hollywood greeting (<kiss><kiss> w/o messing up the makeup)

    • LC says

      Of course I know the difference between hugging a lover and a friend…. I don’t give my friends a little hump when I hug them! I’m just kidding… or am I? ;-)

  125. FisherOfMen1967 says

    Very funny, but alas, so true. Quite frankly though, in today's society, one must be careful of the mear appearance of impropriety, particularly when dealing with youth. A certain level of discernment must be used. A full frontal hug doesn't necessarily mean a full body press. Often it has to do with how comfortable the hugger is with the huggee and how well they know them. Really it's a protection issue. It's not always about the intent of the hugger, but what is percieved by observers.

  126. Jennifer says

    Hahaha! I'll never forget that episode on 19 kids and counting when Josh Duggar proposed to Anna and then gave her a SIDE HUG when she said yes! In a fish restaurant. With her parents there. And balloons. LOL!

  127. Inspired459 says

    I think it all depends on the person. Some guy friends I think of as brothers so no problem. If I get a creepy vibe like the guy is way to into giving me a hug I side hug. And if you're older (and or) married you will DEFINITELY be getting the side hug.

  128. lulu says

    As a girl, I think that the side hug is a great idea. While I grew up in a large, extended family which does full on hugs (the good pick you up kind) I didn't really hug outside of my family. Then I moved to university and church and campus Christian groups did the hug thing. I was definitely more comfortable to have a guy give you a side hug than try to pull you into a full frontal hug, especially if you didn't really know them all that well. For a girl, you can feel trapped if the full frontal hugging guy is larger than you and takes a while to let go, even if they meant it as nothing but a brotherly hug it still feels incomfortable. And I have overheard guys remark that it is a lot easier on them (for mental purity) if girls don't give full on, chests squished together hugs. Anyway, with hugs after church your Bible should be in your other hand, thus only leaving one free hand to hug :)

  129. Grutas says

    Ive Grown up in the church. and im a PK .. shout out to Katy perry! lol.. but im quite fond of a full on embrace.. while you find out alot about a man via his handshake there is alot to say about aman who throws down a great full frontal hug. and think of it this way. what if Jesus only metaphorically sidehugged us.. wed be screwd yall #jussayin.

  130. Skogz says

    dude how is a side hug holy?? please explain! and if you don’t know a scripture reference then SHUT UP!!! is this how you witness too? just tell people that it’s somewhere in the bible? let me know how effective that is. when you give me a direct reference in context then I might consider what you are saying but until quit writing this stuff cause it’s bull crap!!

  131. karyn says

    i’m a youth leader at my church and we have to side hug if any kid wants a hug. it’s just to keep us from being accused of anything shifty.

  132. Alleycat says

    Don’t blame Conservative Christians, blame lawyers! They’ve managed to turn every nursery worker into a potential child molester, at least in our warped, paranoid minds.
    And if you want to give me a hug, go right ahead. I won’t sue!

  133. says

    In our area, we call this the “sidewinder preacher hug.” I haven’t thought of this in years, but when my daughter was about 15 or 16, she was ahead of her friends in the “voluptuous” department, having a very good figure. She came home from church with hurt feelings one evening because she said that the the (male) youth worker hugged all the other girls, but not her. She wondered if she smelled bad or he just didn’t like her. I understood; I commiserated; but I remember being a little angry that my beautiful daughter was unhugged and felt unloved.

  134. John Rigler says

    I’m pretty sure that the CSH started out as a serious suggestion for people to do. When it caught on, so to speak, they realized how stupid it was and claimed it was just a parody. If they’re so worried about total body contact, what’s wrong with a handshake?

    • European says

      So after this everyone will know you ARE interested in him/her if you do a sidehug, because you take it as a way to conceal your real interest.

      “Christian culture demonizes and downplays sex for one reason: they’re absolutely obsessed with it.

      Funny thing is, they do the opposite of what they intend–make young people obsessed with sex without the knowledge of how to practice it safely, thus teen pregnancy is rampant.”

      “Like so many other, and largely misguided, actions this “side-hug” results in MORE attention, not less, being paid to the “suspect area.” By emphasizing no contact to those areas, the young will be made more aware of them.”

      That’s just how a human mind works.. try it

  135. A crhistian says

    I would like to give you a “back christian kick ass!” man… for all the people that don`t come to the church anymore thanks now they think that christians are retard!

  136. says

    I didn’t realize it was the “risk of two crotches touching”. I thought it was the risk of chest on chest touching. Well at least between male and female. Huh, good to know.

    I think we just need to stick to the A-frame hug. Frontal but only arms and shoulders touching. It’s super comfortable and not awkward at all.

  137. autumn says

    i have a christian guy friend who gets frustrated because i completely overstep the side hugs (which are the only hugs he’ll give) and bear hug attack him.

    good times

  138. anonymous says

    I never thought of a hug as an even potentially sexual or tempting action until some concerned parents reprimanded me about hugging their daughter (I’m a guy.) I still don’t understand the issue of “mental purity” of someone hugging a member of the opposite sex. Not everyone, not even all teenage boys, have those problems!

  139. Kjhkjh says

    “In the side hug there’s no risk of two crotches touching.”
    In the front hug there’s no risk of two crotches touching. If you’re a bit messed up I’m sure you could engineer it and you have obviously thought about it. Stop focussing on sex and start thinking about loving your neighbours. That was Jesus’s message. Stop perverting it freak.

    ” I don’t know the exact scripture reference but try the book of Psalms.”
    So it doesn’t exist then

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  1. […] Yes, God wants us to be compassionate and kind and tender with each other. Not only that, but he wants us to love our enemies and serve our neighbors. As long as there is no body on body action. I’m talking of course about a “full frontal hug,” one of those sinful abominations where you just wrap your arms around a friend and embrace them. That’s why Christians the world over have pioneered the “side hug.” In the side hug there’s no risk of two crotches touching. Instead of face to face, you go side to side, putting your arm around the person and your hip against their’s. Still having a hard time mastering it? Pretend you’re taking a photo and you’re both looking at the camera together. The side hug, or A frame as it is also called, is safe for the whole family, friendly and above all holy. I don’t know the exact scripture reference but try the book of Psalms. (from SCL (Stuff Christians Like)) […]

  2. […] Man hugs are pretty awesome. I’ve just been thinking about the furore surrounding the Poe’s Law breach that occured with that Christian Side Hug rap video. It turns out the video was serious – but the origin of the concept was satire. […]

  3. […] The surprising news was delivered to me by two female coworkers. I considered it for awhile and came to the conclusion it’s because the whole coworker boob-touching-boob thing is just too much for me to handle. These bonding moments are now referred to as “side-hugs”, after one of my favorite Jon Acuff posts. […]

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