Cuddle Parties are Transformational
“Cuddle Party” … really?
You may have heard the term Cuddle Party lately, seen news reports about it, read about it. Today’s post goes into Cuddle Parties, what they are, what benefits they would have, and why they are therapeutic in teaching consent and helping people find safe and healthy ways to feel love that don’t need to involve sexuality.
Cuddle Parties technically were invented in the 1920s, as “Petting Parties”, where, in the rebellion of the times, parties were held where young men and women, who otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t interact with each other, or didn’t know how, due to a very conservative view of interactions between young adults of different genders and no clear definition of what was acceptable. These parties, taught and allowed for talking, for actual petting, hugging, kissing, or as they called it “necking”, and helped evolve the interactions between the male and female genders. There was an increase in premarital sex within this period, but whether that can be directly attributed to Petting Parties and not to the overall restrictive feel of that period, and whether or not premarital sex is necessarily bad, is very debatable to say the least.
The contemporary form of Cuddle Parties was invented by relationship and sex coaches Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski in February 2004, as a way to create comfort with and expand upon their existing audience with those that were too shy to participate in the more intimate events they would host and wanted to create a compromise that would be in alignment with their principles as coaches. The result was an immediate success with coaching for certified Cuddle Party hosts beginning the following year.
A Cuddle Party is a non sexual place to find comfort and safety. To revisit the pure comforts and joys of your early youth with the ability to recognize and appreciate them for what they are and to be able to approach them with the perfection of hindsight. It is a place where you are in control of what you want to do and how you want to be, so long as it is in pursuit of happiness and comfort with the boundaries and consent of others and most importantly, yourself, put to heart.
Arriving in comfortable clothes, with little or no cologne or perfume, you meet in a large comfortable room where you stand and go through a guided meditation to clear your head of the stresses of the day, any anxiety or nervousness you may be feeling, and to feel clear and fresh. You have the container for the event established, the rules for consent; that you don’t have to cuddle with anyone, can leave at any time, that you have to ask for what you want and you have to receive or give a clear answer.
Cuddle parties take place with small groups of people in which each participant gets to ask another a question. Each person takes turns asking other participants questions and responding to other ‘s questions with yes or no and thanking the other for their response. Everyone gets to practice saying no, as well as thank others for responding with no. This practice allows participants to know and experience the fact that no is not a restriction but a sign that what you seek is elsewhere. You also get to practice practice compromise; you may not want to hug someone but may want to shake their hand. Other examples of activities that may occur at cuddle parties, other than cuddling or massage include playing a board game, reading a book, talking, gazing, basically anything that is not disruptive to others, fosters connection and affection, and is non sexual is allowed.
Watch the following YouTube video clip of Going In With Brian Vines for a first hand look at what his first cuddle party experience was like.
There are some that cuddle mingle, cuddling with a variety of people, either because of a need to connect with a variety of different energies, or because that person is very popular among attendees. There are some that cuddle in groups and may remain so for the duration of the party. Some that stick to themselves, and that’s okay. Some that allow themselves to feel joy, some cry. All feel a variety of euphoria and connectivity to the group as the energy of the event builds.
For those that just want to cohabitate; do their own thing but like the energy of being around other people while doing it, that's perfectly fine. It's a perfect place for those who consider themselves asexual, aromantic, to find a space to be comfortable in. The non-sexual, no pressure atmosphere is truly a safe container for all.
To finalize a Cuddle Party, there is a closing meditation. Sometimes there is a puppy pile, a brief energetic group wide cuddle. But there is always a feeling of deep bonding and connectivity, hugs goodbye, numbers exchanged, and new ways of communicating and demonstrating love learned. In a world where affection is so limited we’ve had no choice but to find it immediately associated with sex, there is an event where space and time are created to create a separation and to allow for more genuine love and affection to enter life, so as to be able to create the ability to differentiate, appreciate, value, and continue to make space for love and affection to become a permanent and primary aspect of our lives.