Wow, I had no idea so many people are so anti-cuddling. It seems all for good reasons, as deliberately making yourself uncomfortable or frustrated seems somewhat backwards to me. It seems that I live on the edge....
YES! I have "cuddle friends", but I just call them friends, since most of my friends will cuddle with me under different circumstances. Some only if one of us is sad, or our bodies are broken and need a massage. Some because they also like cuddles. Sometimes arousal happens, but we've already talked and we know where the boundary is.
I think it's interesting to hear everyone's stories, thank you all for sharing. I connect with River, who mentions a high need for touch that perhaps came from time in an incubator as an infant. I did too, and I often have a longing to be small and fit into a dear one's lap again, to fall asleep as I did on my aunt's knee at family parties. I also identify with Redpepper, who says she gets "touched out" at work: I work in childcare, and really don't want to be touched when I get home either, but I find it doesn't last more than an hour or two, if I spend that time in peace.
Nyncindie, I agree that paying to go and cuddle with (potentially unwashed) strangers is uncomfortable. I want the people I cuddle with to be people I care about. Yes, being picky is important, and context is important too. I wonder if it's so uncomfortable because you feel your boundaries won't be respected?