cuddle up

This from reuters.

Over 12 years old but still like to be held? Or hugged, touched, stroked, caressed, piled atop on, reclined across, nuzzled, and affectionately massaged? Try a cuddle party.

Cuddle Parties are “a place to begin exploring and reclaiming the sense of affectionate touch and play we naturally displayed and enjoyed as children, and that we need to be happy, healthy adults.”

Ever since they started in NY in February, hundreds of people since then have paid $30 to participate. According to the organizers, affectionate touch is necessary for healthy immune systems, good mental health, and the development of our brains and nervous systems. It can reduce stress levels and help sick or injured people to heal.

Before any cuddling occurs, participants gather in a circle to hear the rules and voice any questions or concerns. Rules are absolute and essential:

  1. Pajamas stay on the whole time.
  2. No SEX.
  3. Ask for permission to kiss or nuzzle anyone. Make sure you can handle getting a no before you invite or request anyone to cuddle or kiss.
  4. If you’re a yes, say yes. If you’re a no, say no.
  5. If you’re a maybe, say NO.
  6. You are encouraged to change your mind from a yes to a no, no to a yes anytime you want.
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  9. If you’re in a relationship, communicate and set your boundaries and agreements BEFORE you go to the Cuddle Party. Don’t re-negotiate those agreements/boundaries during the Cuddle Party. (Trust us on this one.)
  10. Get your Cuddle Life Guard On Duty or Cuddle Caddy if there’s a concern, problem, or question or should you feel unsafe or need assistance with anything during the Cuddle Party.
  11. Crying and giggling are both welcomed and encouraged.
  12. Outside of your personal relationships, it’s nobody’s business who you cuddle, so please be respectful of other people’s privacy when sharing with the outside world about Cuddle Parties.
  13. Arrive on time.
  14. Be hygienically savvy.
  15. Clean up after yourself.
  16. Always say thank you and practice good Cuddle Manners.

There are “Cuddle Lifeguards” who are responsible for ensuring the integrity of the room, meaning that no sex happens, that everyone feels safe, and that the sexual energy, when it shows up, is dispersed safely.

The overwhelming message is, cuddle parties are not about sex. It’s expressing, and receiving, affection through touch that has no hidden agenda. That it’s okay to want to be touched and comforted without having to worry about what it can lead to. First base does not need to lead to second base.

If during the course of a cuddle party, some people connect, find out they have lots in common, go on a date and things develop, that’s fine. But it’s not the purpose of a cuddle party.

The cuddleparty website has “cuddlemonials” with glowing testimonials from people who have been to cuddle parties. About how they reduce stress, and help people express their feelings.

Hmmm. Hug please.