by REiD Mihalko

What's a Cuddle Party? you ask. It is an event for adults to get together and explore affectionate touch and communication without it becoming sexualized. At these events, we create the safe space to talk about and explore what our needs are as adults when it comes to affection, intimacy and welcomed touch. In other words, CUDDLING!

That's right, C-U-D-D-L-I-N-G.

Remember when you were six years old, and you and your cousins all crawled into the top bunk and squealed and squirmed until your parents came in and had to quiet you all down? Or how about when you and your friends would make tents with the sofa cushions and whatever blankets mom would let you play with? Remember how you'd make the tent and then all snuggle up inside playing with Lego blocks and dolls?

Short of making tents and trying to fit everybody atop a bunk bed, this is the feel Cuddle Parties are going for.

In today's world, many of us aren't getting our Recommended Daily Allowance of Welcomed Touch. Cuddle Parties seek to change that in a way that's conscious, healthy and nutritious. Growing up, many of us thought that a pull-out couch full of puppy-piled kids camped out in front of the TV was okay, but somewhere between ages 11 and 31 things changed. Now it's only okay for kids to do that. The only places for grown-up puppy-piles are in football and the occasional game of drunken Twister. Touch in groups only occurs in packed elevators, rush-hour subway cars or crowded movie theaters, but that kind of touch is usually accidental and not necessarily welcomed. For some of us, permitted touch only occurs when we pay for a massage or when we give the okay to get patted down by an airport security guard.

Most of us don't pick up somebody at the bar for a one-night cuddle. Our society has gotten weird about groups of people touching one another and it's taking its toll on us. Sure it's okay to touch the one you're dating or married to (that is, if you're still touching each other), but what about the single people? Many of us are wary of being labeled a slut, even if we aren't looking for sex, and even then, how healthy is it when most of us have to get drunk to give ourselves permission to get physically close to someone? Drunken, sexualized touch borders on desensitized groping.

We are touch-and-snuggle deprived. Our need for touch has gotten so packed down and warped and pressurized that we fear its release. These years of "cuddle oppression" have become explosive. The more pressurized the situation, the more the need to suppress it, and the cycle feeds on itself. The symptoms of this "dis-ease" can be seen in the social and corporate rules, regulations, and stigma surrounding touch. With our culture of mixed signals and double standards, the intricate sexual harassment maze, and the echoes of our Puritan predecessors still audible, the world can be a very scary and unsafe place to voice our sensual needs. And one of our primary needs as humans is to touch and be touched!

So come to a Cuddle Party and GET BACK IN TOUCH! Upcoming parties are listed on our calendar.

© Article Copyright 2004-2005 Atlas Spooned. Originally published on cuddleparty.com, and reprinted with permission. 

What is a Cuddle Party?
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