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Old 06-05-2012, 09:33 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Question Cuddle Parties?

OK, more opinions from your truly, but I really would like to know if I am alone in how I feel about the Cuddle Parties that seem to be a semi-regular feature at Poly Conferences, etc.

They make it very obvious that these are there as a non-sexual cuddling and otherwise touching party. They are presented (to my observations) as a perfectly natural and normal part of what it is to be poly and go to conferences.

The idea of that level of intimacy with complete strangers seems utterly mind-boggling to me. I mean, I am a "huggy" person by nature, but only hug people that I know, trust not to take things the wrong way, and like. I wouldn't dream of getting into pyjamas and cuddling with someone I had just met.

I can imagine that for those who have had issues with intimacy, such a therapy could be quite useful, but based on poly folk I have met, this is a small portion of the poly population.

What do others feel about these types of events?
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2012, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
They are presented (to my observations) as a perfectly natural and normal part of what it is to be poly and go to conferences.

The idea of that level of intimacy with complete strangers seems utterly mind-boggling to me.
For what it's worth, my mind also boggles at the thought of cuddling with strangers.

I assume participation in such events is not a necessary condition for being poly. Otherwise, I'd have to turn in my membership card.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:45 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Default A total turn-off for me

Oy, don't get me started! I once went to a poly party held at the studio of a woman who also is involved in organizing Cuddle Parties in NYC and a few of the partygoers there were explaining why they like the Cuddle Parties... a perfect stranger, who hadn't even introduced himself to me yet, told me about his personal issues with touch and saying "no," even mentioning some issue with his mother, and how Cuddle Parties have helped him deal with intimacy with his partners, and it just felt so inappropriate and invasive for him to stand as close to me as he did and tell me such personal details. I knew that if he was that weird just talking to me at a cocktail party, I would not want to be in the situation of him approaching me for a cuddle at one of these things. You know, things like that can attract truly off-center folks just looking for connection or release, but I choose not to take part in that sort of environment.

I weighed in on the whole organized Cuddle Party thing in a few posts here. One was on a thread that River started about cuddling with friends, another was a response to seeing a Cuddle Party on the agenda for a poly event. Rather than repeat myself, I'll just quote:
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
But am I the only one who finds that Cuddle Party guy incredibly annoying? All he has is an art degree, but now he's a sex educator? Eh, he's like everyone else who comes out of the Landmark/Forum/EST, with that smooth yet arrogant confidence and the ability to convince people he's an expert. I guess it's because I'm older and have participated in "puppy piles," cuddling in groups, mostly in "New Age" or other situations, but we never had to pay for that! In NYC, those parties cost $35 or more and some of the people who I know go, are not anyone I would pay to be in the same room with me, much less touch me. He has found a way to really profit from something that us children of the 60s and 70s have been doing for a long while. And now the word "cuddle" has a different flavor. Ick.
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I really dislike the whole idea of cuddle parties with strangers, 'cause I am sure at least some people are just pretending they want to keep it non-sexual and something inappropriate would happen. And that would piss me off. I don't think I could relax at all if I joined one.

Since learning about poly and discovering cuddle parties, I even find it a huge turn-off to hear (or read) grown-ups talking about cuddling. It's like the word is tainted for me now. I cannot explain it, but I get really irritated with the whole "cuddle movement," so to speak.

It's funny that the idea makes me uneasy because, back in the late 80s/early 90s, I did participate in what we called "puppy piles" with a close-knit group that I was connected with (we were all trained in an alternative healing modality) and it was wonderful. Basically, we all hugged each other in a pile together, but it was always within the context of certain gatherings we held within the community. But we all had a common language and a well-established basis of trust amongst the group. However, I wouldn't have gone and cuddled with any of those people on personal time outside of those workshops/celebrations, etc. We never called it cuddling.
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...I think the fact that you have to pay for these commercially organized cuddle parties and it's a bunch of strangers from who-knows-where (in NYC they have Meetups for them - you just don't know who will show up. Did they bathe? Are they lecherous? You know, lots of potential for ickiness), whereas the puppy piles I took part in organically happened within an already defined and safe space or were loosely directed by people in the group that we all knew well and already trusted -- and these things never felt artificial.

It was never like, "Okay at 7:00 pm tonight, we're all gonna cuddle in a pile! So get ready and here are the rules." It was more like, all these practitioners of the type of bodywork I studied were there waiting for something (like a lesson or seminar) and someone suggested everyone all fall into a puppy pile. Or two people would be cradling each other on the carpeted floor and someone would join them, and then another, and another, and so on. And because it was in the spirit of the moment, and we were all friends, or most of us knew everyone, it felt good and was organic and respectful without anyone having to tell us to be respectful. No one would cop a feel (although we were all bodyworkers and very much into touching). And there was no time frame, so it broke up when it naturally happened. If the teacher came into the room, he or she would join in. If there were people there who didn't want to, they didn't. There would be laughter, groans, what-have-you, and it was always great.

It is something I remember very fondly. When I read/hear about these organized cuddle parties that ask for $40 I feel it is an aberration of something that was very special to me. I think an activity that us old hippies just organically and spontaneously did has been turned it into a big money maker and that bugs me. I also feel like the word "cuddle" has been made creepy, for some reason.
Let me just add that when I did throw myself into a puppy pile with friends, we were all fully dressed! I don't see the reason for wearing pajamas at these things.

Obviously, the whole idea of organized Cuddle Parties as therapy really irritates me.
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Last edited by nycindie; 06-05-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:46 PM
Pretzels Pretzels is offline
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Wait, they charge for these? That's beyond weird.

These hold no interest for me. I'd rather just get cuddly with my people. Maybe I'm just simple that way.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:12 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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I like to touch strangers on the dance floor. It's a socially sanctioned, nonsexual form of touch. We dance for lots of reasons, including the exercise, the music, the friendships that form, the conversations, etc. but I can't pretend that I don't enjoy the hand holding and the dips and the swaying in each others' arms. We need human contact to thrive, and this is one form that I enjoy greatly. (I also enjoy dances with people I know well.)

I have never been to a cuddle party but I am guessing it serves a similar purpose. I would find it a little weird just to touch without the context of a dance or other goal, but if it works for some people it doesn't bother me. I'm not sure how it would be related to polyamory though, or the purpose in including it in a polyamory conference. Doesn't really have anything to do with love or relationships!
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:42 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I would love to take part in a cuddle party, but only with my close friends. People don't always want to hug and cuddle, and I personally love it. When I moved back to France from the US, I hugged all the friends who ate out with me that evening, and since they were in a circle around me, I just kept going and hugged them a second time. Then it turned out everybody was going the same way, so I hugged them a third time when we went our separate ways.
I would have hugged them even more if I had found excuses too, and I would be hugging them that much every time I saw them if it was socially acceptable. I wish I could just ask for a cuddle party among us without everyone thinking I'm creepy or hitting on them.

This being said, I wouldn't mind hugging strangers, but I think I'd rather do it one at a time, it would be overwhelming to be touched from everywhere by people I don't know.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:48 AM
PinkDragon PinkDragon is offline
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I am very affectionate with my friends, family, kids, and partners.... everyone else better stay away or be prepared to get a bloody nub!

I have stepped back/away from people I don't know trying to hug me. I must say that I do feel bad for them when they realize that they've just made a huge faux pas, but I'm not going to make myself uncomfortable just to feed their need to hug.

All of that said... there is NO WAY I would cuddle with strangers!
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:07 AM
km34 km34 is offline
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No cuddling with strangers for me! I'm not a big cuddler anyway, although I do enjoy having some minor touching (legs on someone's lap, their head on my lap, or something like that), but not full body contact very often!
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:51 AM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post

What do others feel about these types of events?
Likewise. In the words of Saul Bellow, "Potato love."
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:23 AM
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Somegeezer Somegeezer is offline
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All for cuddling, and would love to be cuddled with many. But complete strangers... Ergh. Not much more revolting than that, and I've seen the album cover to Dawn Of The Black Hearts =P [seriously don't look it up if easily offended, you were warned].

I don't at all like strangers near me, touching me, even breathing on me, without my consent. Start by talking to me like a normal human, at a comfortable distance, as to not have me smelling what you had for lunch 2 weeks ago.

Being close to those you love is completely amazing feeling... For me anyways. I know some people like their space even then. But I'm very much a cuddly type person with any partners I'm with.
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