Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cuddle Party?
Cuddle Party is a new kind of workshop/social event, that creates a safe place to give and receive non-sexual touch in a fun and affectionate setting.
Cuddle Party lets you:
* Learn clear and easy communication skills
* Set limits simply and straightforwardly
* Give and receive enjoyable non-sexual touch in a safe setting, where your boundaries are respected.
You can come to a Cuddle Party to meet new people, to enjoy amazing conversations, to touch, to be touched, to have fun, to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment. Shucks, you can even come to a Cuddle Party just to cuddle!
Cuddle Party is not a sexual event! It’s not a hook-up or dating scene. It’s common to make new friends, and occasionally people have met dating partners, but mostly it’s about friendship and learning nurturing touch.
Many Cuddle Parties have an approximate balance of women and men. Sometimes we host parties for particular groups, like women only, or seniors, or singles. We ask for a donation or charge a modest fee to cover expenses. Adults only (18 and up).
You don’t have to come to our party – we can come to yours! We can run a private Cuddle Party for your birthday, fund-raiser, or social group.
For a longer explanation, check out the article What Is a Cuddle Party?.
What happens at a Cuddle Party?
First, everyone arrives on time and changes into pajamas or other comfy clothes.
Next, a trained facilitator gently leads you and the other guests through a Welcome Circle and orientation, where you’ll learn to make easy, respectful requests and communicate clear boundaries, and where we’ll go over the simple rules.
Everyone agrees to the Cuddle Party Rules, which include:
* Pajamas stay on the whole time.
* Ask for what you want and get a verbal “yes” before proceeding.
* You don’t have to cuddle anyone you don’t want to, or anyone at all, ever.
* You are free to leave at any time.
Then, you’ll have a couple of hours for free-style cuddle time – to relax, chat, cuddle, have a snack, or just hang out.
Typically, people enjoy foot-rubs, back rubs, spooning, nuzzling, and just generally snuggling up together. Some people like to settle in for a period of time, others like to try shorter times with a variety of people. Usually 3 or 4 or more will end up in something of a ‘puppy pile’.
At the end, we close with a short closing circle.
Who hosts Cuddle Parties?
Cuddle Parties are hosted by local people who have gone through a training and certification process with the Board of Directors of Cuddle Party.
Of course, anyone can invite their friends over to cuddle (We wish more people did), but our Certified Facilitators are trained to teach the participants to make respectful invitations and communicate clear boundaries.
Simply put, our Certified Facilitators help a room full of grown-ups in pajamas feel safe and comfortable while learning new skills and enjoying themselves!
Who comes to Cuddle Parties?
Singles - We often have more singles than couples. Singles really appreciate the opportunity to enjoy some simple physical contact without, as one participant said, “getting into a situation”.
Couples – Couples often find that the short boundary and communication workshop we start each event with actually helps them at home, too.
Women – Women are sometimes afraid they will be expected to be close to someone they don’t want to be. But they always discover that we really mean it when we lead the guests through practice in stating our choices and boundaries (including saying no). Very often, women find the nurturing (with both men and women) to be just what they wanted, but didn’t know was possible, until now.
If you’re feeling skeptical about cuddling with men you don’t know, please check out this article – Women Skeptics
Men – There is a social idea that men only want sex. It’s not true. Men are just as appreciative of opportunities for non-sexual cuddling as are women.
Men are sometimes afraid no one will want to cuddle them. But it hasn’t happened yet! You might like this article – Real Men Do Cuddle.
Young and Old - We have a wonderful age range at our events, often (20’s to 70’s), and we always hear people appreciating each other.
Beginners – Sometimes people are afraid they won’t know ‘how’ to cuddle, or will feel awkward. That’s why we help you get started and guide you through some ideas and examples. And by the end of the evening, you’d never know anyone felt awkward a couple of short hours ago!
Varsity Cuddlers - These folks dive right to the middle of the puppy pile, are comfortable and relaxed from the start. Their comfort is usually contagious.
What are the rules?
Before you arrive
- Arrive on time.
- No drugs or alcohol, period.
After you get there
- Pajamas stay on the whole time.
- You don’t have to cuddle anyone you don’t want to.
- Ask permission and get a verbal yes before touching anyone.
- If you’re a yes to a request, say YES. If you’re a no, say NO.
- If you’re a maybe, say NO.
- You are encouraged to change your mind.
- Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
- Come get the Cuddle Assistant or me if there is a concern, problem, or if you need assistance with ANYTHING.
- Tears and laughter are both welcome.
- Respect people’s privacy when sharing about Cuddle Parties.
- Keep the cuddle space tidy.
Why do I have to be on time?
The Welcome Circle orientation establishes our communication and boundary skills for the evening. This creates the clarity and safety that lets everyone relax and know they are on the same page.
If you arrive after we begin, sorry, we will not be able to let you in.
What should I wear?
Bring comfy pajamas to change into. (Of course, you are welcome to wear your pajamas on the way over, if you don’t mind funny looks on the bus) Sweats are fine, but no shorts or tank tops, please. Think less lace, more flannel. No lingerie.
Please avoid perfumes and scented products like hairsprays, if possible. This makes it easier to cuddle you!
You’re welcome to bring a pillow or teddy bear, too, if you like.
Why would I want to cuddle with a bunch of strangers?
Some people are already comfortable with touch and can’t wait to be in a place where that’s OK. Others aren’t even sure they want any touch at all, but come to explore some communication skills. Others are just curious about what it might be like.
Many of our First Time Cuddlers don’t want to cuddle with strangers at all, but during the Welcome Circle find out that many people there have shown up for similar reasons. Once we’ve taken the first step in getting to know one another, it’s surprisingly easy to want to reach out and rub someone’s shoulders, or ask for a hug.
Whatever your reasons, a Cuddle Party is a great playground for discovering more about yourself, for exploring new ways of connecting with others, or simply enjoying a relaxing, cozy evening with other cuddly souls.
Why would anyone need to learn how to cuddle?
We have found, at the hundreds of parties we have facilitated, that it is not the cuddling that most people come to learn. It is the boundaries and communication skills that are most appreciated by our guests. Once boundaries, choice and communication become easier, the cuddling happens quite naturally.
It is always a joy to see a group of relative strangers, some of whom feel a little awkward at the beginning, relax and enjoy themselves together, and by the end of the evening feel quite cozy and satisfied.
Do I have to Cuddle with everyone? What if I just want to cuddle with certain people?
You absolutely do not have to cuddle with anyone you don’t want to, ever. And it’s fine to choose and invite only those people that interest you or you feel safe with.
It is helpful though, to remember that it’s not a dating scene. Most people are surprised at how comfortable they are with most everybody, once the Welcome Circle has clarifies the Rules and set the tone.
What if no one wants to cuddle with me?
Everyone, including you, has a choice about who and how to share touch. That means that there may be people who say ‘No’ to your invitation.
However, it has not happened yet that a guest finds no one willing to cuddle with them.
Even if it did, you can always ask your Facilitator for some help and support.
Is this a singles event?
It’s not a hook-up or dating scene. It’s common to make new friends, and occasionally people have met dating partners, but mostly it’s about friendship and learning nurturing touch.
How can I be assured that everyone will respect my choices?
Our Certified Cuddle Party Facilitators are trained to use the Welcome Circle orientation to establish the boundary agreements and teach communication skills for the evening. We go through the Rules of Cuddling and a few exercises for practicing the skills of asking, communicating and respecting other’s choices.
Even so, it is possible that someone at the event may goof. We are all humans! This is where you get to use the communications tools you have just learned.
And of course, please ask the Facilitator for help with anything, at any time.
What about sex? Isn’t cuddling about sex?
Our society is a little confused (or a lot!) about the nature of touch and sex.
All touch, and all cuddling, is not about sex. Sadly, in a society in which they get lumped together, most people have very little opportunity for touch or cuddling that isn’t part of sex. We believe this is a great loss.
Human beings of all ages need touch and affection. We never outgrow it. As we re-discover non-sexual touch and affection, find a spacious and generous opportunity to enjoy and explore kindness and human affection with others. And we have more fun.
Cuddle Party is specifically designed to leave the sexual kinds of touch off the menu, so that the more inclusive, non-sexual kinds of touch have a chance to be found and enjoyed.
Many people find this quite natural. For others, it’s a new experience, or even challenging. Many people are surprised to find such a rich, comforting, playful and fun experience.
And what if I get turned on?
It happens sometimes. It’s perfectly normal when we are close to people, especially if we don’t have much chance to enjoy touch that is not about sex.
Our agreement is to not act on it. It goes away, really it does.
Are the events gender-balanced?
Each of our Certified Facilitators arranges their own events and chooses whether or not to attempt to gender balance. Some do and some don’t, and individual events can vary as well. Please see the listing for that party.
Cuddle Parties are not about sex and not about coupling up, and therefore gender is of very little consequence. Most people think they need a balance, but are quite surprised at how little difference it makes.
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.
For more, try this article: About Cuddle Party and Gender
Why should I have to pay for cuddling?
You don’t! No one could possibly charge for cuddling. You are welcome to invite friends and family to cuddle any time at all!
What is unique about a Cuddle Party is that because it is a facilitated experience, most people feel safe enough to attend with people they don’t know. And they are right. Our Certified Facilitators create safety by leading the Welcome Circle, which teaches communication and boundary skills and helps everyone get comfortable, and by remaining available for any concerns that may arise. Without an event they can trust, most people are not likely to go to a stranger’s house for a cuddle.
It can help to recall that when you visit a night club, you don’t pay to dance. You pay for the space, atmosphere, band and janitor, and in case you need it, the bouncer. The dancing is up to you.
Besides the cost of training and certification, the responsibilities of hosting Cuddle Parties includes the creation and maintaining of websites, newsletters and other forms of promotion, and answering questions via phone and email.
The facilitator/host prepares the space, buys and prepares snacks, leads the guests through the mini-workshop, meets any concerns or problems that arise, and cleans up after the event. All in all, the work of hosting an average Cuddle Party takes about as long as the party itself.
Because of all this, we believe it is fair for our Certified Facilitators to be paid for their time and responsibilities.
So, how much does it cost?
Each local Cuddle Party Facilitator sets the fee or donation for their events. Check the listings on this site.
How can I attend one?
First, read the rules.
Next, see the listing of Cuddle Parties here on the site and contact the Facilitator however the listing says.
Arrive a little early. The Welcome Circle orientation is where we establish our communication and boundary skills for the evening.
If you arrive after we begin, sorry, we will not be able to let you in.
Why can’t I bring my kids?
Cuddle Parties are for adults to relax. 18 and up, for legal and safety reasons.
We do, however have a few Certified Facilitators who are pioneering Family CP’s, where a limited number of children are allowed with their parents. Not all Facilitators have the option to try this. If this interests you, contact us at Cuddle Party HQ.
How can I host a Cuddle Party at my home?
Contact any of the Certified Facilitators on this site, and ask them if they are interested in using your home. Each facilitator makes their own arrangements and choices, and sometimes they really welcome a new location. Some facilitators are willing to travel to new areas as well, so feel free to ask!
How can I become a Certified Cuddle Party Facilitator?
Our Certified facilitators attend a weekend workshop called Foundations of Facilitation. This workshop is for people wanting facilitation skills for any small group event.
Then those wishing to certify for Cuddle Parties enter Certification Training, which includes a series of coaching calls, 3 review (practice) Cuddle Parties, and confirmation of a First Aid course.
For details, see – Foundations of Facilitation
Are Cuddle Parties therapy?
Cuddle Parties are not therapy. But they can be healing, comforting, restorative, rejuvenating, inspiring, insight-producing, and challenging of your preconceived ideas. And they are almost always playful and fun.
Many people have found a deep support and growth in self awareness and relationship skills. Others are fine with where they are, and come just for the fun of it.
They are intended for people who are basically well. People who need professional help respecting boundaries – their own or others’ – should consult trained health care professionals.
So . . . Do the pajamas really stay on?