The Christian Side Hug: Real or Hoax?

Thanks to Peter for drawing our attention to this strange new concept. (Link to his forum post.) Apparently side hugging is gaining popularity in the land of conservative Christians. The idea is to avoid the dangerous risk of "two crotches touching." Therefore:

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.

But upon closer examination, I think this is another example of Poe's Law. In other words, it's satire. The concept of the side hug traces back to the humor site Stuff Christians Like, where it's identified as satire.


Posted on Thu Dec 17, 2009


All Christians know the "A-Frame Hug." You each stand about two feet apart and, bending at the waist, tilt only your upper bodies toward each other, then embrace with only your forearms, so that nothing touches except your hands and shoulders, and, very briefly if at all, each other's cheeks.

The chances of "two crotches touching" during this maneuver are less than zero.

I know this stuff: Very few people have been in more churches than I have.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Dec 17, 2009  at  09:42 AM
The side hug has been around a LONG time. Well over 15 years.
Posted by coit  on  Thu Dec 17, 2009  at  10:08 AM
Back in my youth group days the youth staff were taught the "side hug" as the only acceptable way to hug the youth, it was to prevent any "misinterpritation" of a hug and to discourage the youth from lingering over the hug.
Posted by Cari  on  Thu Dec 17, 2009  at  12:06 PM
The side hug is an ideal opportunity to cop a feel, whilst leaving your free hand to, well do something else.
Posted by Mr R  on  Fri Dec 18, 2009  at  02:26 AM
Having grown up in a fundamentalist Christian home and spent my life up until university as a fairly hardcore Christian, I have to say... never heard of the side hug. But hey, I'm in Canada. We do things differently up here.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Fri Dec 18, 2009  at  07:29 AM
I've never heard of this either, and I have been a Christian all my life. Granted, I'm Episcopalian so hugging is smething fairly new, only in the last thirty years or so, but I've attended other denominations and never saw this.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Fri Dec 18, 2009  at  04:24 PM
Of course, the thing with Poe's Law is that if somebody does write a satire that is so very believable, then you'll have fundamentalists who accept it as true and will adopt its surface message. Thus making it suddenly become reality. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some radical Christian group heard about this, thought to themselves, "Hey, they're right! Let's start insisting on side hugs!", and followed through.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Dec 19, 2009  at  04:46 PM
Not unlike Monty Python's 'Vatican Sex Manual'.
Posted by Mr Henderson  on  Sun Dec 20, 2009  at  02:11 PM
What? I thought when you hugged, you were supposed to grind crotches with the person you're hugging. Isn't that the point of a hug?
Posted by Sakano  on  Mon Dec 21, 2009  at  11:18 AM
No idea if this is real or not, but Boing Boing linked to the youtube video of a christian gangsta rap (WTF?) group talkin' bout the christian side hug.

it's gotta be parody right?
Posted by Scott  on  Wed Dec 23, 2009  at  04:02 PM
I'm a conservative Christian, have gone to conservative Christian churches all my life, been to many different ones and never heard of anything remotely like this. It's obviously something that only people that don't know anything about real Christians and don't understand what they are about would believe.
Posted by catwhowalksbyhimself  on  Thu Dec 24, 2009  at  04:23 AM
I was brought up in the Pentecostal church, went every Sunday for a very long time - I've been to many churches that I could see advocating this message.

Christianity is a very varied religion, so I doubt any one branch can absolutely state what a Christian would not advocate.
Posted by Scott  on  Thu Dec 24, 2009  at  05:33 AM
this is stupid my dads pastors a chuch and we dont do that side hug crap its just stupid
Posted by patrick seger  on  Wed Feb 10, 2010  at  08:46 AM
A friend of mine pretty exclusively uses the "side hug", but it's mostly because... well, due to certain physical endowments that she's been blessed (or cursed, depending on your opinion) with, it's difficult for her to give somebody a hug without either smothering them or crushing some very sensitive portions of her anatomy. Also a really devout girl, but I think it's moreso just to do with comfort than any moral standing.
Posted by FH Zebedee  on  Tue Feb 23, 2010  at  04:08 PM

That's a pretty typical Christian response, "Anyone that doesn't do exactly like my cult isn't a REAL Christian." It's a logical fallacy called "No true Scotsman."
Posted by Mitur Binesderti  on  Sat Feb 27, 2010  at  10:11 AM
I'm not aware of it in any formal context, but as a 50 year old married male, I find it more appropriate to hug female members of the church in this manner. Been doing it for years, don't know where I picked it up...
Posted by Wally  on  Tue Mar 02, 2010  at  03:36 PM
i fuchk this beach admin
Posted by i fuck you beach admin  on  Wed Mar 17, 2010  at  11:56 AM
My wife works at a conservative Christian church. The staff went to a workshop about ethics recently, and they were told that church staff should not be hugging each other or church members unless it is with a side hug. So, they came back jokingly calling it the "ethical side hug," but now that is their official policy. So, at least for some churches, it is real (and sad, I think).
Posted by Eric  on  Tue Mar 30, 2010  at  09:25 AM
The side hug is great. It lets you put a full finger up the other persons ass without stretching too much.
Posted by Gus  on  Wed Aug 18, 2010  at  11:45 AM
Hey! This is real. I don't know how common it actually is, but I'm pretty familiar with the A-frame/side hug from other members of christian circles. That kind of hug was even suggested in the book "Every Young Womens Battle".

I'm sure there are probably plenty of cristians who have never heard of it. But its hardly a "hoax".
Posted by Lythre  on  Fri Mar 25, 2011  at  08:29 PM
The 'side hug' has been more of an unspoken rule in my churches.... Like taking a cone by the bottom.
Posted by Sherlocke  on  Thu Oct 20, 2011  at  02:06 PM
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