In the News
Is this new craze creepy or comforting?
Between the depressing “downturn” of the economy, the sad loss of our Golden Girl feminist forerunner Bea Arthur and spooky spread of swine flu, we could all use a hug this week.
Cuddle party, anyone?
This tactile trend has been snuggling its way across the country the last few years. Cuddle parties feature consenting adults gathering in their PJs for an evening of cozy (nonsexual) snuggling. No drinking, no unwelcome cuddling (you’ve got to ask before you touch) and no guilt if you only feel like hugging the “hotties.”
Before you presume this is another creepy commune filled with free-loving hippies … OK, they do promise trappings like a “Cuddle Lifeguard” and a “Welcome Circle.” But they definitely discourage all sexual behavior.
In fact the Web site CuddleParty.com has an entire entry in their FAQ devoted to handling things that may “pop up” unexpectedly:
When men get aroused, they sometimes get erections. Arousal is an inherent part of being human. But somehow, somewhere, many of us began to believe that we must act on this arousal whenever it showed up, as if we may never have another chance to be horny again and we must strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.
Well, this attitude has caused all sorts of weirdness in our society and massive miscommunications between the sexes.
Since Cuddle Parties are safe spaces for adults to explore and practice affectionate touch without sexualizing it, and since the state of arousal is natural for us human beings, it’s no surprise that erections sometimes do occur. Our goal is not to teach men how not to get erections. Instead, we want to make normal functions and needs of human beings seem, well, “normal.”
We strive not only to free people of the awkwardness surrounding arousal, but to allow them to develop some real coordination around it. At a Cuddle Party, erections become Mother Nature’s way of giving us the thumbs-up sign. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s dirty. Nothing’s suspect. And as long as you’re not dry humping anyone (Rule #7), it’s completely okay. Really.
The founders of Cuddle Party, Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, emphasize that the events encourage communication and affection in a culture that devalues human touch.
“Cuddlemonials” taut the benefits of cuddle parties.
Rich from New York City raves about his first cuddle party, “I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until I left and embraced how spectacular I felt. The party brightened my world. I definitely feel more comfortable and less inhibited.”
And a woman from Amsterdam named Donna, says the parties make her “feel safe enough to ask for a cuddle when I needed one. I’m catching up on years of cuddle-deprivation now.”
But one guy I spoke with, Andy, isn’t as enthused: “”Straight-up creepy. I prefer my group encounters in the dark and with a happy ending. I’m old-school … that way.”
If you’re up for a little game of cuddle monster, check out this calendar to find a cuddle party near you. ( ) Just one suggestion – you might want to hold off on that cuddle party until the whole swine flu thing is passé. But after that, go on and get down with your bad, cuddly self.
Check out Current’s video from inside a cuddle party here.
What do you think — are cuddle parties creepy or comforting?