Very interesting discussion. I, too, have had experiences in the past with spontaneous puppy piles. I am wiccan, and we had a group who was particularly cuddly and after ritual we would all sit on the floor, and eventually lean against each other and snuggle, do back rubs, etc. While it was sensual it was never overtly sexual, all were respectful and loving. I miss that.
I was recently to a friend's birthday party and near the end she asked if she could sit on my lap. She is just the sweetest person, and she cuddled against me, resting her head on my chest. She said she wished she could just fall asleep snuggled between me and my partner, K. I so wanted to do just that, nothing sexual, just loving. (She just turned 26, and I'm 53; I have a daughter older than her!!) The problem would have been K's partner, (who was gone) would not have been okay with that.
So two days ago, my friend and I were traveling to see some other friends, and she told me she was kind of sad...she'd been to a large gathering where everyone was very open and loving and physically affectionate, and she was missing and longing for that openness of affection, and I'd been feeling the same way after her birthday. We held hands for the rest of the drive, and snuggled a bit at the friends' house (they are also very open and affectionate) and it was wonderful. I realized how much I miss this! I know K is fine with it, and would be open to the same himself. He just got back home from a week away with his partner D, so once life has settled a little (they're unpacked and rested from their trip) I want to open this discussion. I really want more of this in my life!
I am sure that D would be fine with me holding someone's hand and a little semi-public cuddling. But D is also not very trusting of me (she thinks I want to have sex with everybody (I don't, I just love sexual banter), and she also gets very jealous if other people are affectionate with K) so if I, K and C had had a sleepover she'd have had a big problem with it. (It would have been against our agreed upon rules to have done that without checking with her anyway, which is why it wasn't an option.) We are at this point a polyfedelitous V with K at the point and me and D as metamours. We are still trying to work around D's needs, she is pretty much monogamous and really struggling, even though we've been in this configuration for over 3 years. There have been some recent changes that have helped...D has been spending about half her time at her daughter's home helping with the granddaughters, then is here around half the time; i.e., she's partially moved out, and seems a bit more relaxed.
So, as someone who is likely closer to the end of my lifespan than the beginning, I really don't want to miss out on things that are important to me. (I really think that should be true whatever age you are!) I realize this might create some discomfort, but I need to be true to myself and honest.
So somehow this whole cuddle thing has turned into a branch of how we are in poly, even though this sort of cuddle was completely not a problem in my previous monogamous relationships.
In some ways, I think polyamory when translated directly to 'many loves' really does describe me. My heart opened so much to C, she is just such a sweet and loving spirit, and I do love her on some level more than just a friendship, and it has to do with what River was talking about, moving your energy to your heart, though it has never been sexual for me with C, it's such a deep, lovely, open feeling, almost like a new kind of love.