I lived in the USA for 30 years and got into cuddling there, where it is rapidly growing in popularity and I want to share with you the importance of physical touch and why I believe society would benefit enormously if it ditched all the shame around physical touch that is currently so prevalent.
Are you getting your daily recommended dose of touch? With today’s touch-deprived society, chances are high that you are not. It seems that touch in today’s culture is taboo as if all touching must be sexual and, therefore, evil.
Well, I’m here to state that non-sexual platonic touch does exist, and not only is it great, but it is also necessary and extremely healthy. Just like food is necessary to sustain life, so is touch. If you aren’t getting your required dose of touch, I call that being touch starved.
Everyone is different and has different needs, touch is no different. Because everyone is different everyone has a different level of touch they require. It is important to keep in mind there is no right or wrong level of touch. One should never be ashamed of the level of touch they need, whether they require a very little or very high level of touch, regardless of what society wants you to believe, your needs are 100% valid. Your needs are your needs, and there is absolutely nothing wrong or shameful with that.
I need to start by stressing how important consent is when it comes to touch. Never, under any circumstances touch anyone anywhere without an explicit verbal consent. More on consent here
Societies messaging that all touch is sexual and sexual promiscuity is all sorts of bad and evil can be very counterproductive and a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy. It also causes a lot of unnecessary tension and stress when interacting with other folks, especially in male/female interactions in a very heterosexual gender binary dominating societies. First of it is human nature to be attracted to things that are illicit. Second equating sex and touch lead folks who are only seeking touch to be sexually promiscuous.
This is problematic on so many levels. Let me start by going on the record that the assertion by the society that touch and sex always go together is based on really bad fallacies. To start with most touch is non-sexual, and sexual promiscuity is a wonderful thing when done safely and consensually.
Since most touch is non-sexual, sex does not provide much for those seeking to fill their need for touch. Therefore those that seek sex to fulfill their need for touch leave unfilled, and remaining touch starved. As a society, we need to get better at communicating what we want. Are we after non-sexual touch like hugging and cuddling, or do we want sex, or do we want both? We need to reject society’s idea that these always go together.
It is also important that as society we become better about communicating our boundaries on where we want to be touched and where we do not want to be touched. On the flip side it is critically important to respect people boundaries and enforce consent
The idea that cuddling is always sexual is so pervasive that finding stock photos that showed people cuddling without having a sexual tone was extremely challenging. The options are: cuddling animals, cuddling babies or lovey-dovey couples making out. I find this very sad.
Problem with lack of touch
Being touch starved can lead to a multitude of problems, both physically and mentally. Do a quick web search for something along the lines of “benefit of cuddling,” and you’ll see various articles go into all sorts of details. You’ll find articles listing benefits such as boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, lowering stress, lowering depression, lessening social anxiety, etc., etc. I’m not here to validate these claims, nor do I make any such claims. Just here to point out that these claims are out there and that I personally believe them. I’ll leave it up to you as to if you believe them or not.
As I’m updating this page the world is still struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result of that I haven’t come within 2 meters (6 feet) of another human being in about 18 months. I have always been very driven, fairly high energy and my blood pressure was always remarkably low. Now my energy is very low and my drive is totally missing, and for the first time in my life my doctor is worried about my blood pressure. The blues are also lot more prevalent than they were before covid.
Now I can’t scientifically proof that all of these are tied to my touch tank running on fumes for 18 months, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I personally find there are clear correlation, however it remains to be seen if there is causation.
It is well documented and acknowledged even by medical professionals, that touch is essential to newborns. What baffles me is why we think we grow out of this need as I’ve seen nothing to suggest that. I believe it is just as important to adults as it is to babies.
Now how do you get your required level of touching, especially if you don’t have a partner or your partner has different needs from you. Let me introduce you to the concepts of cuddle events and professional cuddlers. Unfortunately, due to aforementioned taboo these are only available in very select parts of the world. I’ve only ever known about them in certain US cities, although I’ve heard rumors they might be available in other parts of the world as well.
Enough of the negativity though. These are both ways for you to fill up your touch tank, so to speak, through consensual platonic (i.e., non-sexual) touch and cuddling. Cuddle Events is where someone organizes for a group of people to get together for the expressed purpose of cuddling. This is the lowest cost option and offers to cuddle with multiple people at the same time or in the same evening.
The scheduling is very fixed and sometimes infrequent. You also have to take your turn and be both a giver and a receiver.
Professional cuddling is one on one cuddling at a mutually agreed upon time and location and thus offers you a more concentrated time and more flexibility in scheduling and locations. You book specific time with a specific professional cuddler. This time is dedicated to you and is all about you. With professional cuddling, you have someone that can guide you through various exercises or let you take the lead. While these are more focused and flexible, they will end up costing you significantly more.
I was introduced to the idea of cuddle parties by the very first professional cuddler that I found through a site called Cuddlist while living in the Seattle WA USA area. Initially, I was intimidated by the idea of a cuddle party as I tend to be shy and reserved during parties, mixers and the like.
I tend to prefer one on one interactions so professional cuddling seemed to be a better fit for me. It took me a solid year to get up the nerve to try a cuddle party. Once I did I instantly fell in love with it. The people there are very welcoming, open and friendly and most are in the same boat as being shyer and more reserved. Some told me this was their only social outlet.
Here is a great video on professional cuddling from the leading professional cuddling site cuddlist.com, which BTW where I was trained and certified as a professional cuddler.
For both options, strict adherence to everyone’s consent is mandatory, as well as excellent hygiene on everyone’s part. Alcohol, weed, and other mind-altering substances are a terrible combination with cuddle sessions. Furthermore, if you are under the weather or have anything that can be spread via simple touch or airborne, you better seek a medical profession and get that taken care of first. This is doubly important after living through the Covid-19 pandemic.
This leads to a bit of disclaimer, while cuddling has a wide-ranging benefit both mentally and physically, it is not a substitute for treatments by a licensed medical or mental health professionals. Also, know that professional cuddlers are not licensed nor regulated by any governmental body, and there is no standard for training or certifications. I would argue that none are needed. I believe that we all instinctively know how to touch and cuddle.
We have to allow ourselves to tap into those instincts and ditch the shame that society may have programmed us with. We need to train ourselves in respecting each other boundaries and let ourselves want to be touched. These are all things that a professional cuddler can help you work on.