Hug Your Daughters

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About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website


  1. Wow, I’ve never known of any man to get an erection when he hugged his daughter. My daughter is grown and has a son of her own. I still hug her and always will. In fact, If I leave her house and don’t hug her she’ll phone me and ask if something is wrong. And for that matter, I also hug my grown son.

    There appears to be a lack of understanding that many dads know when it’s appropriate and not. When my daughter was maturing and she got her first bra, I couldn’t even look in her general direction without her asking what I was looking at.

    I wish people wouldn’t make it sound like men have no clue about things or worse yet, know their daughters.

    “A son is a son until he takes a wife but a daughter is a daughter all of her life.” this is a fact in my life.

  2. Honestly, I don’t really like hugging my dad because I feel like he wants a hug all the time. For example, before work, after work, at night and maybe once in between. But I don’t want that. I think that a simple Hug goodnight would do it. I’m 16 and I love my dad, just I don’t want to be treated as a little girl. And I’m not sure the kind of affection my dad gives me is appropriate because he’ll touch my legs and he’ll wrestle with me on my bed or he’ll try to playfully pull me off my bed when I have short-shorts on and obviously my shorts are riding up. It’s very uncomfortable. And I wish I knew what to tell him.

    • yes.i know the type.And no-its not appropriate.Hes looking for something.You’re a good woman though.must have gotten it from your mom.

    • Alicia, I don’t think your dad is necessarily a creep. I believe that maybe, as you said it, he still feels you’re his little girl. It’s very important to find a way to tell him that (maybe ask for the help of a school counselor or something) in order to preserve your relationship with him or at least get the matter straight. I wish you good luck with your struggles!

  3. My dad has always hugged me but i found it odd that he wanted to rub baby oily in my body when i was ill at 16 i said no but he carried on anyway, he is now no longer in my life thank god

  4. No wonder Americans have so many issues if hugging is seem as wrong. Sheesh. You even almost succeeded in transferring your paranoia over here but fortunately several newspapers ran articles that made it clear there is nothing wrong with hugging a child (who isn’t uncomfortable with it), including kids who are your students or at nursery (preschool) and there was an article about a school making it clear they encourage hugging (or cuddling as many of us still call it here) their students. As for the extremely paranoid idea that men want to access their daughter’s bodies: most men are not child molesters – and if your dad was one, you’d know it long before you hit puberty. On a side note, correct about the erections – heck I still get the occasional spontaneous one, and massage parlors know that touching certain parts of the body (not even the intimate parts) can cause an erection. Nothing to be ashamed of – it’s the intent that counts.

  5. Be careful

  6. Laramie White says:

    My daughter is 23 years old and just graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison this past May. I still hug her, just as I did when she was little. Yes, sometime we feel awkward at time s but we come from a hugging family (my wife’s side of the family). Just this morning I walked pass her and grabbed her by the arm and she stated you are touching me..I told her I will always touch you and show you I love ya.

    My dad never showed his children affection by hugging us when we were growing up. Not until he became older in his late sixties did he tell us he loved us or would hug us. We all noticed the change in him at this time. My father in law would always give me hug whenever he would see us, even though the kids would complain about his hugs in a kidding way.

    I don’t feel anything sexual whenever I hug my female relatives or daughter. Yes, men will always have sexual thoughts during each day but feeling this way towards my own child would be just Nasty to me. When she was little we discussed with our children what touch was appropriate and which was wrong. To tell us if she / he someone touched him / her the wrong way, so we could take action against that person.

    We need to continue to tell our children we love them, just as we did when they were little. To let them know we still can discuss anything they may be going through in life with us. This leads to them having a healthy and loving relationships with others. Trust them to make the right decisions in life.

  7. Robert Ferreiro says:

    WoW……all these feelings….some so sad…but there are woman that feel that men do not always think about the woman/girls feelings….There some great Dad’s out there I am sure..I have come across a few…but have also come across a few different one’s….AS woman are not the same..SO too are men…I am a person who never had a daughter but had young people that showed me so much love with small hugs that it still with me 6 years on…I miss the warm feelings…YOU Dad’s are so lucky and enjoy the investment and it will give you the returns…and Ladies..young…old or in between be upfront with the MEN in your we that are seen as uncles’s friends will love you even without the hugs….You are so special…Thank you for the time you give me…

  8. Holy vitriol on this comment page.

    On a more emotional note, this article has me in tears. I miss my parents, and wish I could hug them, especially my dad. He still kisses me on the cheek when we say “goodbye”. It is something special to be touched by other humans.

  9. I’m confused.. My boyfriend told me he needs to be honest with me and told me when my 15 year old daughter hugged him he got an erection. He told me he loves her, does find her physically attractive, but it isn’t a sexual thing. He often gets erections just when he feels good or really happy , which I’ve seen before and has never been father figure to her but I still am confused. Is it normal for a guy to get an erection when feeling good or happy about something? He also told me its not a sexual thing for her. I just don’t know how I’m meant to feel and need answers.

    • Men get their egos twisted and their feelings hurt when a female tells them something about themselves. Wow!
      Anyway, my cousin who is a 47 year old male said this in a conversation with other cousins around. He said that many fathers touch or eben molest thie daughters and it goes unnoticed for years. His niece was molested that way and no persn had a clue. Her real dad was the culprit. It happens So mwn, if you want to break the cycle, stop getting your little feelings hurt when a female says she does not want to be hugged by dad


  1. [...] to how a “good” father might navigate such impulses. [For an interesting article on this, see "Hug Your Daughters" about fathers who withhold affection once their daughters hit [...]

  2. [...] Father’s Day, I wrote an essay called “Hug Your Daughters,” in which I implored dads to be courageous (and, of course, appropriate) in showing physical [...]

  3. [...] “When will I be good enough to love?”Fathers, hug your daughters. [...]

  4. [...] goes beyond contacts amongst adults. Some time ago, Hugo Schwyzer wrote an excellent post called “Hug Your Daughters,” addressed to the fathers in the audience. Somehow we don’t need to be asking mothers to [...]

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