As a joke, my husband’s boss sent a link to a facilitator training opportunity which promised to teach you how to be a “Cuddle Party Facilitator.”
I am not making this up.
There’s a whole site dedicated to finding or learning how to host a “Cuddle Party.” Nathan thought this idea was hilarious, and he started reading the descriptions and FAQ’s on the website. Here’s the description of the training:
Cuddle Party Facilitators go through a training and certification process to ensure that they have the skills to lead a group of guests through an event that is safe, fun, welcoming and a rich learning experience.
The first step is Foundations of Facilitation, a 3 day training for anyone looking to bring group facilitation skills into their work and life. Not everyone who takes Foundations of Facilitation goes on to Cuddle Parties. Many of them use the skills for their own events.
The second step is Cuddle Party Certification Training, a 4 month teleclass training that is specifically about Cuddle Party. During this time, Facilitators-in-Training create and facilitate 3 ‘Review Parties’ and receive an evaluation from their guests.
Change People’s Lives… Nurture Yourself… Transform the World.
When Nathan read this to me, I thought he was kidding. Then he read the description of what happens at a Cuddle Party from their FAQ page:
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.
And here are more of the questions on the FAQ page (click through to see them all & the answers provided):
- What should I wear?
- Why would I want to cuddle with a bunch of strangers?
- Why would anyone need to learn how to cuddle?
- Do I have to Cuddle with everyone? What if I just want to cuddle with certain people?
- What if no one wants to cuddle with me?
While Nathan gleefully read the descriptions of these parties where strangers show up in PJ’s and cuddle, I was absolutely SKEEVING OUT at the idea. (Meanwhile, our 15 year old, whose main Love Language is touch, thinks this is a Splendid Idea Whose Time Has Come!) I finally had to ask him to stop reading the descriptions because I was getting stressed out in a major way.
And I have to say that while the idea of a Cuddle Party is horrifying to me (WHAT?? STRANGERS TOUCHING ME AND TRYING TO CUDDLE!!??), it’s also fascinating from a certain standpoint. The website states correctly that the kind of human touch that is supposed to take place at these parties – chaste, loving, simple, affectionate – is good for our health, both physically and mentally. It’s the kind of touch that people tend to get plenty of in families, too. When you have children, there’s lot of hugging and cuddling and touching that comes from love and affection with no strings attached.
Our culture, though, has gotten to the point where people feel that any physical touch leads somehow to sex. Look at the hook-up culture that abounds at colleges. Look at the examples of relationships on TV and in movies. Heck, just look at Netflix’s “Romance” category sometime. It’s all about sex, it’s all about hooking up. In these movies, sex eventually might lead people to say “I love you,” which is completely backwards from where it was when I was in high school and college. And even that was messed up, in that “I love you” didn’t necessarily lead to marriage, which is where sex belongs in a rightly-ordered world.
People need loving touching that doesn’t come with the pressure to take off all their clothes and start hopping into bed with someone. People need affection that doesn’t imply that sex is expected at some point. And that’s sorely lacking in a culture that thinks this is a good idea for a movie.
We now have a generation of young men and women who are avoiding marriage for one reason or another (though I might point out that random hook-ups teach you not to bond with someone with whom you have just shared the most intimate of actions with) and with that are now lacking families. Less marriage = fewer children = less of the physical touch we all crave and need. More and more people live alone, which means simple, daily contact like this:
doesn’t happen for everyone.
So as much as I know I can’t even fathom wanting to go to this, I can see how the millions of people out there without spontaneous moments that happen so often in families (especially those with children) would crave the kind of human contact I take for granted.