On Cuddle Parties, Sexuality vs. Sensuality, Boundary Setting & Aphrodisiacs

October 21st, 2011

This is by CP facilitator Edie Weinstein, and posted on SMINGLE, a website for singles.

SMINGLE: How do cuddle parties play into boundaries and communication?

EDIE: Cuddle Party is a 3 1/2 hour workshop designed to offer a safe space to learn about communication, boundary setting and nurturing, non-sexual touch. It includes what I call ‘portable life skills’ that allow participants to practice immediately saying yes to what they want in life and no to what they don’t want. The workshop begins with The Welcome Circle which sets that helps people get to know a bit more about each other and establishes the rules, including that clothes stay on the whole time and that verbal consent is necessary before anyone is touched.

SMINGLE: How does sexuality and sensuality differ?

EDIE: Sensuality is about immersing in each experience with senses fully alive and engaged. Enjoying an orange, for example, can be a completely sensual experience as you gaze at it, noticing the color of the rind and the pulp and the fruit itself, and then smelling it, taking in the sweet and tangy aroma, listening to the sound of the peel coming away from the pulp in a slight ripping manner, feeling the bumps on the skin, tasting the juice as it sits on your tongue and licking it off your fingers and from your chin as it drips downward. Doesn’t it feel like you just ate an orange?

Sexuality is greatly enhanced if you allow all of your senses to be turned on. The most powerful aphrodisiac is the imagination and the most important sex organ is the mind. We are each responsible for our own pleasure and cannot expect a partner to provide us with that.

I encourage women and men to get to know what they enjoy and then share that information with any others with whom they are involved so that no one need be a mind-reader. You are more likely to ‘get what you want, when you know what you want’

SMINGLE: What role does body image play in sexuality?

EDIE: These amazing bodies we are given at birth have receptors that can take in all manner of sensations. A healthy, vibrant body is able to offer and receive immense amounts of pleasure. Unfortunately, in many cultures, there is the mistaken impression that only certain body types are attractive. That belief limits people in terms of their willingness to be visible. Shame, perhaps from childhood messages about our bodies, trauma or abuse history may play a role in how people view themselves. The more you love the skin you’re in, the more you will enjoy sexual interaction.SMINGLE: How do cuddle parties play into boundaries and communication?

Cuddle Party is a 3 1/2 hour workshop designed to offer a safe space to learn about communication, boundary setting and nurturing, non-sexual touch. It includes what I call ‘portable life skills’ that allow participants to practice immediately saying yes to what they want in life and no to what they don’t want. The workshop begins with The Welcome Circle which sets that helps people get to know a bit more about each other and establishes the rules, including that clothes stay on the whole time and that verbal consent is necessary before anyone is touched.

SMINGLE: What advice would you give individuals embarking on a new relationship with someone that has different spiritual beliefs?

EDIE: Openly share with a potential partner, what your beliefs are and the ways in which you live them. Spirituality is not simply what you do in a house of worship on a particular day of the week. It is about the influence it has on your values and principles. If either person’s beliefs are so rigid that they leave no room for those of the other, then perhaps there is not enough synchrony between them. If there is flexibility and understanding, then peaceful co-existence is possible.

SMINGLE: What advice would you offer divorcees re-entering the dating scene?

EDIE: I would first encourage them to love the man or woman in the mirror. No one will ever love you enough to make up for you not loving yourself. Treat yourself the way you would want to be treated by a partner. Know that you are whole and complete, whether or not you are in a relationship. If you feel wounded by divorce and are still carrying anger and resentment toward your former partner, it will have an impact on any new relationship. Enter into the experience with a healing heart. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else; it is a gift you give yourself. Dating is a way of getting to know another human being AND getting to know yourself. I was widowed and since then, have had wonderful lovers and relationship partners. I have few regrets and find that love is never wasted.

BIO

Rev. Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a Renaissance Woman and Bliss Mistress who delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. Her business is called By Divine Design, the title of which came to her in a dream. Edie is an internationally recognized, journalist, interviewer and author, inspirational speaker, licensed social worker and interfaith minister. She speaks on the subjects of wellness, spirituality, sexuality, loss and grief and is a frequent guest on radio and television. Edie is a contributing author to the book Sunshine Sisters: A Celebration of Legacies http://www.mollysunshinetour.com/. Check out Edie’s daily Bliss Blog at http://blog.beliefnet.com/blissblog/

Cuddle Monkey?

April 11th, 2011

I saw this in the window of a local ice cream shop a few weeks ago in Austin Texas. I got a kick out of it – thought you might, too.

Betty Martin, Facilitator in Seattle

About Cuddle Party and Gender

August 27th, 2010

By Betty Martin, Certified Cuddle Party Facilitator, Seattle

Cuddle Party is not about sex. Therefore, it’s not about gender.

It’s about people, kindness, touch and communication.

However, we realize that it’s a question that comes up, and many people are just not yet at the place where they are comfortable with people of the ‘wrong’ gender. It’s understandable and deserves some thought.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Cuddle Party Diet – Does Cuddling Lead to Weight Loss?

July 9th, 2010

by Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski

For those of you who ate to much this Thanksgiving or who are already strategizing a New Year’s resolution to counteract all the holiday sweets, you may want to try the latest thing: a new weight-loss plan called the “Cuddle Party Diet.” It’s fantastic. You make new friends, get some affection, and leave feeling relaxed and elated. What could be better?

Humorous though it may sound, it could be true. A number of recent studies have indicated that cuddling may actually help you lose weight. But how can that be?

Read the rest of this entry »

Cuddling Blind

July 9th, 2010

by Andre Traversa

Most people who know me consider me an open book. There’s not much I’m unwilling to reveal, and many people find it very easy to get close to me. Having said that, we all have things we don’t like to discuss, sticky issues that make us uncomfortable or self-conscious. Or we might not want to talk about certain things because we just don’t think they’re that important and we’d rather not dwell on them. But in the spirit of openness, we sometimes take a risk and share our hearts in the hope that others will receive our gift of vulnerability and accept us, warts and all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Confessions of a Christian Cuddler

July 9th, 2010

by Andre Traversa

For those who don’t know me, let me preface this column by saying that I am a Bible-thumping, Jesus-loving born-again Christian. I believe the Bible is infallible and am absolutely convinced that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. I’m pro-life and am committed to remaining a virgin until I take the plunge into the uncharted waters of holy matrimony. In other words, I’m one of those dangerous people the mainstream media labels as a member of the religious right.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Big “O” isn’t Orgasm: Oxytocin, the Cuddle Hormone

July 9th, 2010

by Marnia Robinson and Gary Wilson

Researchers are always seeking answers to fundamental questions about illness: “What is the cause of cancer?” “How does stress damage your cells and organs?” “What causes plaque to build up inside your arteries?”

The flip side of such questions is “what is the mechanism by which love and affection positively affect health?” The answer to this question is oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter. Once believed to confine its effects to inducing labor and milk ejection, oxytocin actually has far-reaching effects on both sexes. You could not fall in love without it. These days it goes by nicknames such as “the bonding hormone,” “the cuddle hormone,” and even “the love hormone.”

Read the rest of this entry »

What is Sex, Anyway?

July 9th, 2010

by REiD Mihalko, the Captain Kirk of PJs

A reader writes…

You have two rules regarding sexuality…No dry humping, and no sex. The no dry humping is pretty obvious, but the no sex isn’t. Sex means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. How do you define it?
-Shawn

Great question, Shawn.

The quickie answer (pun intended!) is that the Cuddle Party definition of sex is any activity (snuggle, nuzzle, kiss, massage, spoon, etc.) that’s done from the intention of “getting somewhere,” as in, “gotta get to the next base.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Soldiers of Affectionate Play

July 9th, 2010

by REiD Mihalko, Cuddle Cupid

February 28th, 2005 will mark the one-year anniversary of first-ever Cuddle Party. As the date fast approaches, I am blown away by just how far Cuddle Party has come in just 366 days (Leap Year, remember?).

The most touching moment of the past year came to me early one non-descript morning in August when I received a 7:30am call from a stuttery-voiced man asking if there would be any Cuddle Parties in St. Louis come February. I explained that we were planning to begin training people to be Cuddle Party Facilitators early in 2005, but that we didn’t even have an application process ready or anything announced. Perhaps, with some luck, someone from St. Louis would be accepted into the program, go on to become certified, and be leading Cuddle Party events by February, but no promises, I explained.

Read the rest of this entry »

More Spoon For Your Buck: How to Make the Most of your Cuddle Party Experience

July 9th, 2010

by REiD Mihalko, the Warren Buffett of Snuggling

Okay, you’ve heard or read about Cuddle Parties enough times that you’ve finally checked out the website, said to yourself in your best skeptical voice, “Hmmmm, seems harmless enough… Three hours of massage, spooning, and conversation sounds pretty okay.” Then your boss calls up and yells at you for ten minutes, after which the idea of cuddling a bunch of strangers sounds like heaven. In a moment of hug-fest-crave induced courage, you email your RSVP to the next Cuddle Party, and now you’re thinking, “What the heck do I do now? How do I make the most of all this?”

Well, I’m glad you asked, because here’s the 411 on getting the most spoon for your buck! Read the rest of this entry »

Cuddle Party: It’s not an orgy. Really.

July 9th, 2010

by REiD Mihalko, the David Hasselhoff of Flannel

One of the most frequently asked questions we get about Cuddle Party is “It’s really a cover for an orgy, right?” In today’s day and age, somewhere, somehow, we became convinced that sustained affection must lead to sex. Therefore, a group of adults touching each other affectionately over a three-hour period MUST turn into an orgy. The two concepts of Touch and Sex got stuck together and squished. All of a sudden, touching became having sex, or on the way to having sex. Therefore, cuddling must lead to sex, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

Men are Bastards! …And Other Tales of the General Skepticism of Women about Men

July 9th, 2010

by Marcia Baczyski, the Queen Bee of the Stuffed Animal Kingdom

In speaking to people about Cuddle Party, Reid and I have frequently experienced a lot of wariness and disbelief from women. Many women simply don’t believe that engaging in such a thing could be safe, much less fun.

Why would I want to pay for a Cuddle Party when I can get groped by strangers in a bar for free? their raised eyebrows seem to say. Guys don’t listen, they don’t respect us, they just want sex. Men are bastards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Real Men DO Cuddle!

July 6th, 2010

Tales From the Puppy Pile
by REiD Mihalko, Purveyor of PJs

Bill Maher recently declared on his new HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, that “Cuddling is for girls.” He went on to humorously advise against Cuddle Parties for men, stating that the only time a man should say that he needs a hug is if he’s choking.

Maybe a good spooning would sway Bill Maher’s view point, but his humor is right on. The opinion that “skipping the screwing entirely” and going “right to the boring part afterwards (cuddling)” is a sure sign of the “neurotic and emasculated” is funny because it’s so on-target with what many people think. It’s exactly what a virile, All-American, He-Man is supposed to say about non-sexual touch, right?

Real Men don’t eat quiche, and Real Men DON’T cuddle… Or do they?

Read the rest of this entry »

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