Welcome back to On Going Growing!
As recently as 2 weeks ago, we decided to attend a Cuddle Party with my wife. I know what you already think (Yes I do!). It is indeed, nothing of sexual nature. A cuddle party is “is a playful social event designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries and affection.”
I will share with you today my experience at the Cuddle Party and highlight why you might want to try it out by yourself. 🙂 No spoilers, but it was a great experience! If you want to learn more about what is exactly a Cuddle Party, you can find some resources: Main Website and Cuddle Party Rules.
As a callout, I will leave other people’s experiences out, as Cuddle parties are subject to the Las Vegas rule!
How it all started that night.
After being nicely welcomed by the facilitator and having a warm cup of tea, the Cuddle party was opening its doors. Imagine a room, with blankets and pillow everywhere so you can sit or lay down comfortably at all time. People between their 20s to 50s were present, roughly 12 of us. The atmosphere was nice, the tea warm and people looked nice.
The evening starts with a little workshop about boundaries, the rules are explained clearly but also we practised how to say Yes or No. It’s a big part of cuddle parties as you can only receive what you feel comfortable receiving and give what you are comfortable giving. So before receiving or giving a touch, for example, consent needs to be expressed verbally between the people involved.
You can go to a cuddle party and be cuddled, massaged, touched (never sexually) or hugged by stranger(s) and the best part is that nothing can happen that you don’t want to happen! You can also just chat with them, have a tea or take a nap. Nothing is forced, nor expected. Anyone can spend roughly 3 hours with other people and connect as much as they are capable of and in a way that feels comfortable.
What were we looking for?
That’s a good question, right? What would we go, as a couple, to a cuddle party?
For the readers who know my wife and I, you know that cuddling isn’t something we are lacking in our relationship. That is a practice we enjoy together, multiple times a day, every single day. We love the closeness, we love the kindness of soft touches and we feel so close when we do it. We love the embrace of one another. Long story short, we love it all and it is harder for us not to do it, than doing it.
Back to the question, surprisingly enough, we didn’t discuss at length why we wanted to go there except that we were curious about it. It felt like something to try and it was our quest for that night.
My wife is high on feeling connected and is comfortable with strangers. Connecting to other beings is a big part of what creates joy and happiness in her life so she knew what she was looking for.
For me it is another story, I am a lot less comfortable with strangers. Even for just talking to them, so thinking of giving/receiving touch feels confronting. Before the event, it felt that going is a good opportunity to expand my comfort zone. After all, as there are rules, a trained facilitator and most people going to the event are also uncomfortable, there is no better place to be hugged risk-free by strangers. 🙂
During the workshopy part of it (introduction) and before we started the Cuddle Party, I had the chance to talk to people asking about why I would come here and/or why I would come here with my wife. It was very good to actually think about what I could be looking for. I ended up being interested in 4 things for that night:
- Being Hugged/Cuddled by a fatherly man
- Being Hugged/Cuddled by a woman I find attractive
- Being Hugged/Cuddled by the facilitator
- Being more comfortable with my wife connecting to other men (and women)
I will go through each of them to explain exactly what I was looking for.
First, my father wasn’t a hugger and as far as I remember, we never really hugged and had meaningful physical contact. Being hugged by another man is nearly always confronting that I thought I should experience that and see how it goes. The challenging part here is that I want my child to be allowed and hugged, maybe my adult too but it felt like my inner child needed it more.
Second, for my close friends or my readers, you should know that I have been single for ~9 years before I met my wife. There was a lot of shame around being attracted to women after feeling rejected for so long. It’s still confronting and I can feel shame if attracted since I’m married and committed to my wife. Getting close to an attractive woman in a safe environment like a Cuddle party could help me work that out.
Third, the facilitator is a woman in her 50s probably, she looks open and genuine. She is extremely kind and gentle, she inspires trust and acceptance. So it should be soothing to be in contact with her.
Then finally, seeing my wife connecting with other men and women, in a physical way (again, nothing sexual^^) was an interesting experience. I could witness her giving a massage to someone else, resting on another man’s chest or just touching another girl’s hair. All of these brought different emotions: sometimes worries, sometimes fears or jalousie but at times, the joy of seeing her looking happy. My fears are coming from my insecurities and seeing her in this way should develop trust and give less power to my insecurities.
Let’s Start the (Cuddle) Party!
The facilitator suggested that people in relationships might want to chat with their partner before the cuddle party is starting so everyone feel safe. We were the only couple present that evening, so we met quickly for a chat. As we now know the rules, we wanted to clarify between each other what is okay/what is not okay for the evening. The rules set for the event were enough for us, no sexual touch, no kissing and so on. Hugging, Cuddling, Massaging and all that was a go, that’s why we are here after all. The last thing we agreed on was that we wanted to check in a few times during the evening, to make sure both of us are doing okay and support each other if needed.
By the time we are done talking, the Cuddle party started already. At that stage, people were talking mostly and very little amount of touches or hugs happened. It was a bit confronting for me as I was on my own and I had to introduce myself to a group of strangers already formed, which is always uncomfortable to me. I ended up sitting between two groups and started to discuss with a dude in the 50s probably. We were likely both uncomfortable with touch or hug so we didn’t ask to receive nor to give. But we had an interesting conversation about self-development and books we read on the subject.
The evening moved on and people started to hug, massage each other and just getting closer. I still didn’t made any request, whether to give to someone and ask them to give. I had a lot of nice discussions, some people asked little things from me. Like: “I can put my hand on your shoulder”. To be clearer, imagine a bunch of 12’ish people sitting in a medium size room. You have a few people you can reach easily.
I found myself caught in excuses and listening to my mind. Listening to all the good reasons it found not to give nor to receive if I have to initiate it. 2 hours in, I find myself connecting quite easily to people but by talking to them and not connecting physically. While a Cuddle Party is more about the touching/hugging part, talking is okay as I explained at the beginning. Nothing is forced and everyone does what they feel comfortable doing.
The facilitator and another guy wanted to initiate a “spoon chain” (big spoon cuddle). I felt like joining but didn’t dare to ask for it so I kept talking to the people around. By that time of the evening, I had many impulsions to act on the 4 things I wanted to experience (and others) but all pushed them away by listening to all the reasons my mind found that night. A little while later, the facilitator asked me if I wanted to join, which I accepted and the spoon chain started to expand! Someone else joined, then another one and so on. Until 10 of us were spooning. It was a nice and peaceful moment, a lot of soothing silences but a lot of laugh and nice exchanges. We were a lot of people and we were “together” and close. You could spoon someone, by spooned by someone else at the same time and you might feel an extra arm of someone else on your shoulder for example. It was peaceful and full of tenderness. People are very kind in a Cuddle party and these moments are wonderful.
The evening ended up there, on a spooning note and the event lasted a bit more than 3 hours.
A great lesson was learnt that night!
Regarding myself, I have been clearly a taker that night. In the sense that I didn’t give touches/hugs to anybody else (except spooning) nor asked if they would allow me to give. Also, I haven’t asked anyone about what I would like to have and I gave when asked (as it felt okay). The only part I achieved is being more comfortable with my wife connecting to others. That wasn’t as challenging as I thought, partially because I had a great evening in terms of discussing with people, so I wasn’t too busy looking at what she did and when I did, it was okay on an intellectual and emotional level.
As I didn’t experience what I wanted to, I think about coming back. Maybe alone, maybe with my wife. But for sure, with the intention to get what I want and honour my desire. Like many of us, I tend to ignore myself and my needs, I tend to find excuses for them not to be met and I make it okay. Sounds familiar?
We all deserve to get what we want in life, sometimes it is easy, sometimes it’s hard. That night it wasn’t very hard in theory, but out of my comfort zone and I didn’t dare to go out of it. It was a valuable lesson and I hope that my experience may help you dare to ask for your needs. In other words: We need to get out of our comfort zone to get what we want in life.
It was a pleasant evening. I met a lot of interesting people, get to know myself and my desires a little bit better and got reminded about what I need to do next time when I have a need or desire that is totally appropriate and okay to follow.
I would suggest you give it a shoot! Let me know what you think of it when you did! 🙂