Anthony Esolen has an eloquent and painful requiem for male friendship here. It would be gilding lilies for me to try to reproduce it or indeed comment on it in detail at all.
Esolen is obviously quite right about the effects of the sexualization of male relationships on the possibility of intense, completely non-sexual male friendship.
I would note, too, that too many young people have been brought up without really being familiar with literature that both assumes and extols strong male friendship. I was lucky enough to have that literature and have tried to pass it on to my children. From the wonderfully productive male bonding in the Lord of the Rings to the less lofty adventures of Alan Quatermain (written by Rider Haggard), literature shows us this aspect of human nature. I always scorned people who fussed over there being "not enough women" in LOTR. That was because I got it. It had to be the way that it was. The women were brought in where they fit. And they certainly did not fit in the Company of the Ring.
But I would prefer to do something non-depressing. I'm hoping that the requiem for male friendship is a little premature. So I would like to ask readers: Where have you experienced or seen unabashed, intense, and completely non-sexual male friendship and male bonding still flourishing? I don't just mean light friendships but really close friendships.
I think they are still out there. One area that I like to write about a bit at my other blog is Southern Gospel music. There's a very strong masculine ethos in Southern Gospel. That's not to say that there aren't female singers in the genre; of course there are. There are also family groups. But there are lots of all-male groups who travel together, and their members are unashamed to say that they love one another. Nor are such statements misinterpreted. Yes, there is always malicious gossip concerning any area of human endeavor. But in general a statement like, "I really love these guys" from an SG singer is not met with titters or raised eyebrows. It's understood quite well.
Readers, where have you encountered what I will call for want of a better phrase "traditional" strong male friendship? If you are comfortable doing so and if it seems relevant, please indicate your approximate generation. For example, I saw that there were young men at the Christian college I went to who had very close friendships with one another. That was in the 1980's. Hopefully, that is still the case.