Meeting our shared human needs for connection, love, and belonging through consensual, non-sexual touch.
Human beings need loving, consensual touch. It reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and promotes a sense of belonging and emotional well-being. Consensual touch positively affects the way that we relate to other people and ourselves. Without touch, we suffer from something called skin hunger — making us feel lonely, isolated, stressed and unhappy with our lives.
The good news is that loving touch is abundant! Cuddle Party brings together people from different walks of life to explore giving and receiving loving touch together. Not only that, but it promotes a culture that is built around consent! You do not have to do anything that you don’t want to at a Cuddle Party — you’re completely at choice.
Community Cuddles Itinerary – Arrive by 3:15 on November 12, 2017
Community Cuddles Itinerary
3 PM – Cuddlers arrive, help set up blankets and pillows, share snacks, get a feel for the space, and socialize.
3:30 PM – Welcome Circle. This is the most important part of the event and we ask that all attendees be present for the whole Welcome Circle. This part of the event will include practice setting boundaries and communicating around consent. We are back inside so the doors will lock once we are finished introductions in the Welcome Circle. An exception may be made for a late arrival if you have attended Community Cuddles before and you give us advanced notice that you will be late.
4:30 – 6:15 PM – Open cuddling! Per cuddle party rules, you MUST ask and get a verbal ‘yes’ before touching or cuddling with anybody at this event. If you are not sure how to do this – great! We will talk about it during the Welcome Circle.
5000 Butte Street #76, Boulder, CO 80301.
Cuddle Party Etiquette
ARRIVE ON TIME: It is important that all participants are here and ready to go once the Welcome Circle has begun. The Welcome Circle serves the purpose of creating the safe space for consensual, non-sexual touch between participants and making sure that everyone is informed about the rules of cuddling. The doors will close once the Welcome Circle begins.
HOW TO PREPARE: Shower and brush your teeth but no extra scents, please. Many of us are sensitive to strong odors so please come free of cigarette smells, perfumes, and even essential oils. Bring your clean self with minimum extras.
WHAT TO WEAR: Pajamas, sweatpants, yoga pants, onesies, anything that you feel comfortable in. Nothing that you consider sexy or risque – think elementary school slumber party.
WHAT TO BRING: Non-alcoholic beverages and/or snacks to share. You can bring any cuddle accessories that you would like — stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, whatever you would like! You can even bring anything that you might want to do as a solo or group activity.. things like books and board games. The only thing that you are required to bring is you and your smiles!
The Rules of Cuddling
- Pajamas stay on for the whole event.
- You do not have to touch anyone at a Cuddle Party, ever.
- You must ask permission and receive a verbal YES before you touch anyone. (Be as specific as you can in your requests.)
- If you’re yes, say YES. If you’re a no, say NO.
- If you’re a maybe, say NO.
- You are encouraged to change your mind.
- Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
- Get your facilitator or assistant if you have a question or concern or if you need assistance with anything during the event.
- Tears and laughter are both welcome.
- Respect people’s privacy when sharing about Cuddle Party.
- Keep the cuddle space tidy. No one likes to cuddle in a puddle!
(the above text is very lightly adapted from a Cuddle Party description shared with me by Vega DeLeon who regularly hosts Cuddle Parties in the Denver and Boulder areas)
These reasons are why Cuddle Party has truly impacted my life.
- I get as much touch as I want. Until cuddling with clear guidelines and consent practices, I didn’t know how much touch I really wanted. There were always reasons I couldn’t touch people including not wanting to be confusingly sexual or creepy. The 11 rules of cuddling help all of us be on the same page. While sex can be great, that’s not why we’re cuddling and cuddling really is the whole reason we’re here. This touch is about affection, safety, bonding, and trust and leaving the sex for other times and places.
- I practice my Yes and my No. Cuddling has helped me realize that my Yes is only as trustworthy as my No. That means in order to be trustworthy, I need to have a strong, clear, confident No. Cuddle party has helped me develop that clear No that is still kind. I don’t need to make anyone (me or the other) wrong if I say No.
- Learning that No is a complete sentence. I don’t need to justify, explain, or tell a story about my No. It stands as it’s own complete sentence. In fact, simple and clear often work better than a story.
- Practicing changing my mind. Just because I said Yes to spooning doesn’t mean I need to stay in this position all night. When my desires change, it’s not only OK but good to voice the change and ask for something else. Time and again I find that when I ask for something different, the person I’m cuddling with also wants something different. And they certainly don’t want me to endure touch with them. Finding areas of mutual consent and enjoyment is easier in a Cuddle Party.
- My life gets more efficient when I cuddle. Touch is a need. Skin hunger is real. When my energy is distracted with this unmet need, it is harder for me to be productive in other areas of my life including running my business and parenting my daughters. Regular doses of cuddling help meet my needs for touch elevating my moods and allowing my mind to focus more fully on the task at hand.
- Cuddle Party helps me learn the difference between my desire for touch and my desire for sex. And it helps me get more successful in meeting my needs for both. Our culture often confuses touch and sex (you may even have noticed yourself feeling cautious about cuddling and wondering if it was going to “lead to more”), but they are different needs with different strategies for being met. When we explicitly create a space that’s a Yes to cuddling and a No to sex, we get to tease apart our desires and experience getting our touch needs met. That feels great!