I was scrolling through my Facebook feed a month ago when, inside a private group, someone mentioned their new-found obsession: the cuddle party. A group of adults gather at some random house for the purpose of cuddling up.
Say what? I thought it was a big huge joke. It brought up all kinds of questions for me, like…
1. Is this a Mormon thing? Since the devout do not (or at least, should not) have sex before marriage, a group setting of snuggles keeps things relatively “safe.”
2. What if a guy gets, well, aroused. Or gropes someone. Or… oh my head was beginning to spin.
3. What if I got hooked up with a guy (or woman) I didn’t want to cuddle up with?
I mentioned some of my initial thoughts and did I get an earful from one woman!
“Maybe if everyone’s life was as PERFECT as yours, Lizzy, we wouldn’t need a cuddle party,” she wrote.
I needed to stop her. “Hey, sweetie,” I responded. “I could probably one-up you across the board on how my life was never perfect, and certainly isn’t now.” I was so angry. And then I thought, hey, I was passing judgement on her, too. Maybe the whole cuddle party had some validity to it?
I did some asking around in the group, did a little research, and actually found a friend of a friend (“Chloe”) who has been to a few who was willing to talk about it. Here is what I learned…
Apparently cuddle parties are gaining in popularity all over the country, not just in Utah. Chloe tells me that she craves human touch and never gets any of it– not from dates, a boyfriend (which she has not had in, like, forever), or even her children. I gave her some advice: “Get a dog!” Ok, that did not go over so well, as she reminded me that human touch was not the same as canine slobbers (agree– most of the time puppy slobbers are far better!). She says that cuddle parties are fun. Basically, adults from all ages gather, change into comfy clothes, and sort of are matched up by the host. Generally this host tries to have an equal number of men or women at the party but you never know. Some are ok with snuggling up with other women or men, others are not. The whole point is to be open-minded.
For the next hour or so, it is free time. You can chat with your cuddle partner, nap, say nothing at all, or enjoy snacks (if there are any) together. Sometimes there are foot rubs (yay!), back rubs (even better), just no sexy time in the public arena. One cuddle party involved movies and popcorn and group foot rubs. Ok…
For me, honestly, it sounds really awkward. And sad. And lonely. But, hey, that’s just me. And, really, what was more sad and awkward than the thought of a cuddle party? My former marriage, so what do I know. I suppose there are all kinds of people out there who enjoy this kind of activity and, why not? If it brings happiness, a connection, or even fills any kind of void, who am I to judge? I just don’t like being touched my strangers. And an erection, unless I am alone with the guy and feeling rather amorous myself, just doesn’t do it for me.
Chloe clued me into some facts about the cuddle parties she has attended: There are options for just women, or just men, for certain age brackets, and even weight requests (she knew of a woman who went to a party on the East coast for larger women specifically). There are cuddle parties for married couples, even.
“They are not sexual at all,” she told me. “They are wonderful. I always leave feeling better about myself and those around me. It has helped me loosen up on dates and be more open to human touch.” Apparently in Chloe’s marriage, there was almost no physical interaction for years, then the divorce, then a period where she didn’t date at all. “I have forgotten how to have any kind of human intimacy. A cuddle party is a nice place to start.”
And so I learned something new. I thought cynical me who had heard of just about everything. I guess not.
Am I ready to head off to one? Not thinking this one is for me. But if it is for you, do a Google search for a Cuddle Party near you. I don’t think they are all that hard to find.