Joe Biden and male affection in the me too era

April 12, 2019

Joe Biden

Opinion by Steve Brody, Ph.D.

Joe Biden is a hugger. He is, to date, not a sexual predator. He didn’t have sex with an intern as Bill Clinton did or brag about grabbing women by their private parts like Donald Trump.

It would appear from his public behavior that Joe Biden is an affectionate male. The question now is whether we want men to be affectionate or not. I would argue that we do. The psychological literature is replete with studies on how emotional father-absence affects children adversely.

As a clinical psychologist, I’ve seen hundreds of clients over my 40 years in practice struggle with not feeling loved by an emotionally and physically aloof father. How they would have loved to have received a hug now and then.

Personally, I get Joe Biden. I’m a hugger, too. I even hug the guys in my poker group. But depending upon one’s personal history, physical affection, male or female, is loaded psychologically.

We all have histories, some more traumatic than others. It’s been estimated that one of every three or four women has been sexually abused to some degree during the course of her lifetime.

You don’t need a Ph.D. in psychology to realize that survivors of such abuse are often triggered by physical affection. It can easily ring an old, unconscious bell of an earlier trauma. And we’re all capable of reacting to one-alarm blazes as if their four-alarm fires, depending upon our conditioning.

So if Joe Biden has hugged thousands of women over many campaigns, might it be reasonable to assume that a number of them would be uncomfortable. This is not to say that the women who have come forth publicly have a history of abuse. Certainly there are other reasons to feel uncomfortable. Family of origin values, being startled if the hug comes unexpectedly, especially from behind, would certainly affect how one would react.

Whereas we certainly don’t need uninvited male sexuality, we do need male warmth and affection. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater and scare men into retreat behind the old male battlements of not expressing emotion or affection. We don’t need more cold, distant men.

Perhaps Speaker Pelosi’s suggestion that men “join the straight-arm club” and engage in just a handshake is a reasonable and safe place to start. This can be done with warmth and genuine affection.

My advice to us men who want to go a step further: Ask a woman what she would prefer, and let her preference be your guide. Then proceed with caution and sensitivity, but proceed. Be discerning and aware of body language. Does the woman (or man) tense when hugged? If so, back off.

Joe Biden has triggered a national discussion. It’s my opinion that it shouldn’t derail his run for office. It’s an opportunity for all of us to grow together.

Steve Brody, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Cambria, California, and a past president of the Division of Media Psychology of the American Psychological Association. 


It’s amazing! Absolutely amazing how The Party of Trump The Pervert has turned a blinds eye to not only their president’s self admissions of sexual predatory behavior but all but demonized the women and the young teenage girls who have come forward and accused this pervert of far worse than anything Biden may or may not have done. This hypocrisy is only outweighed the “mulligans” the Religious Right keeps doling out to this pervert so their agenda of doing away with the Equal Rights Amendment and overturning Roe v Wade is accomplished.

While I agree with your opinion Dr. Broden I fear it falls on mostly deaf and or denying ears here on CCN, as most who post here not only have drank from their pervert’s Kool-Aid they’re drunk as hell from it; and yes, they’ll more than likely vote for their predator again in 2020 as their wallets are far more important then the morals they espouse to hold dear and represent.

While I’m not a supporter of Biden (I like the Socialist Democrat Sanders and will vote for him again {as I wrote him in in 2016}) anything the Democrats have to offer up will be far better than the current pervert in office….


Biden is an old white cis gendered apparently heterosexual male. He doesn’t stand a chance of getting the Dem nomination.


Democrat or Republican, makes no difference, creepy is creepy.


Nobody cares about Joe Biden (except you apparently). He’s toast.

Jon Tatro

When you stand behind a woman you just met and stick your nose into her hair to smell it than kiss the back of her head , you’re a predator. That is an act of power over the woman not affection. You would think a Doctor of Psychology would know that. Abusive Sexual behavior doesn’t have to be an overt sexual act.


I wonder if the author would post the same article if creepy Joe was a republican.