A cuddle party is pretty much what it sounds like: a bunch of people get together with the express purpose of snuggling up and holding each other. I found it to be surprisingly fulfilling in the most innocent and comforting ways and I wish I’d discovered it sooner.
I was excited and nervous because it was such a foreign concept.
I’m an absolute cuddle junkie when it comes to friends and romantic partners, but I’d never cuddled with strangers before. I was excited to see what this new dynamic would feel like and nervous about potentially awkward encounters. What if I didn’t want to cuddle with someone? What if I liked cuddling with someone a little too much? It was a total unknown.
It was really relaxed and not at all awkward.
As it turned out, the whole thing was really chill. The space was lined with mattresses and pillows, there was tea and a table of food for people to browse in between cuddle sessions, and the whole atmosphere was super laid-back. It seemed so normal, within the confines of that space, that people should snuggle up together with no strings attached.
There was no pressure.
It was so clear that consent was a huge part of the cuddle party. People generally asked before they touched me and I always knew I could leave an interaction if I wanted to. I wasn’t particularly keen on cuddling with men that day and I never felt any pressure to. It made the whole experience very safe and easy. Having the eating area also provided space for people to stand around and chat without needing to be wrapped in a cozy embrace.
It was like any other social encounter, just with way more physical contact.
One of the strangest things about the whole experience was how normal it all seemed. Of course, we’re social animals and physical touch gives us all those feel-good endorphins, so why shouldn’t we all get together and have a big love-fest? Once I was in such an environment, it seemed as though I’d been missing out on something completely obvious my entire life.
It felt like a utopian dream.
In many ways, it was surreal. It was like all my dreams were coming true in this bizarre alternate reality. It seemed insane that just outside the door, the ‘real world’ plodded along as normal, while in here, dozens of strangers were meeting for the pure purpose of snuggling up together. It was a strange and delightful experience to be part of a secret society of cuddlers.
It was totally non-sexual.
One of the most enlightening things about the whole experience was seeing a dynamic of physical touch that didn’t revolve around or even include sexuality. In most contexts, I would only share such intimate touch with someone I was sleeping with or interested in sleeping with. Basically, I wouldn’t normally cuddle with someone without there being some sexual tension. At the cuddle party, it felt totally innocent to touch someone sensually without it meaning anything and it was incredibly liberating.
I felt totally at home.
Very quickly, my initial nerves wore off and I felt totally at ease in this new environment. It was such a cozy and welcoming atmosphere that I couldn’t help but feel comfortable. Most people were in yoga clothes or pajamas and it seemed so easy just to join in. Sharing physical touch is such an easy way to break the ice that I felt immediately as if I belonged there.
It broadened my views on affection.
Most of my life, I’ve reserved cuddling only for people I have some romantic interest in. I’ve almost never shared such intimate contact with friends, let alone total strangers. It was like I’d been let in on the secret that affection can be a standalone experience. Groundbreaking, I know, but after a lifetime of experiencing cuddling only within one context, it was like a veil had been lifted and suddenly I could cuddle with anybody!
I knew I needed more of this in my life.
I immediately wanted this to be a huge part of my life. Knowing that there was a community of people practicing this strange new concept was confidence-inspiring. My whole outlook was changed and I wanted to go out and put it into practice. I immediately started spreading the cuddle-gospel, snuggling up with friends and casual acquaintances and espousing the virtues of platonic affection.
It became a lifestyle.
From that first cuddle party, I was introduced to a network of open-minded individuals interested in touch and connection. It seemed like every week there was another cuddle party, either open to the public or privately hosted amongst friends. It changed my entire social sphere and it felt great to be part of a community of fellow cuddle junkies, sharing touch with no strings attached.
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