No Sex, Please – I’m Cuddling

15 Oct
Cuddling, tattooed man

Let’s just cuddle

By Elizabeth Shore

Right around this time last year, big brouhaha was afloat in Madison, Wisconsin over the proposed opening of The Snuggle House, a go-to place for reaping the benefits of “touch therapy,” to help us feel connected in our disconnected world. So cozy! The very thought makes me feel like the fabric softener bear with the squeaky voice. Except not all Madison councilman were snuggling up to the idea, many expressing concerns that The Snuggle House was a cozy front for not-so-cozy prostitution. After much dickering among the owner, a bevy of lawers and a multitude of politicians, The Snuggle House at last opened its doors. For three weeks.

Alas, The Snuggle House is no more. Dang. So what’s a person to do nowadays who just wants an honest-to-goodness snuggle? Or cuddle? Is there no hope? Well, of course there is, silly. All you need to do is download Cuddlr. It’s like Tinder but without the sleazy casual sex association. Cuddlr, according to its website, is a location-based, social media app to find people who are up for a cuddle. And that’s it. Errr … right?

Perhaps I’ve just been around the block a few too many times, but I have to confess, I have … concerns. Am I truly to believe that two strangers meet, hug, and then go their separate ways, a balance of peace and harmony restored in their lives from their quickie cuddle? Maybe if it really, truly worked as the app developers envisioned, then maybe. Maybe. But here’s the thing: if I just need a hug, I can get one from my true friends. There aren’t sexual expectations from them. We’re friends. We love each other as friends, support each other as friends, and give each other hugs as friends. If there’s someone out there who can’t get a hug from his or her friend, is that person I myself would want to be hugging? Or, worse yet, cuddling?

I have visions of using Cuddlr to get myself a nice dose of oxytocin through the warm touch of a stranger, only to have said stranger start groping me. Maybe his arm “accidentally” slips a little too far down as we cuddle and suddenly my ass is getting grabbed. Or I feel his stiff “member” pressed not-so-cuddly against my butt. What then? According to Cuddlr, they’ve thought of that. You can report on the cuddlyness of your cuddler by rating him or her after the encounter as “successful” or “unsuccessful.” Too many bad ratings aren’t likely to get one repeat cuddle requests, and Cuddlr says it bans anyone consistently using the app improperly. I suppose I could, as a  woman, decide only to cuddle with other women. Cuddlr doesn’t allow users to filter for things such as age or gender, but you could just keep declining cuddle requests until you get one from someone you think looks OK. Except all you really have to go on is the cuddle requestor’s Facebook picture, and we all know how accurate those can be. Another disagreeable side effect of the app is that, without warning, a map appears documenting you and your potential cuddler’s whereabouts. Hope you’re not caught up in privacy concerns!

As earnest as the developers’ intentions, the biggest problem with Cuddlr is that it doesn’t take the awkwardness factor into account. People in today’s world are lonely for good reason. It’s hard to meet and connect with people on an intimate basis, even if you don’t intend for the intimacy to be sexual. So an app attempting to address the loneliness factor is conceptually a fine idea, but technology isn’t going to help us overcome how weird and awkward it is to simply start spooning with a stranger.

For a better, safer, and much more rewarding cuddle, I recommend Liz Everly’s wonderful new historical romance, Tempting Will McGlashen. We’re celebrating its release this week, so why not give yourself a good ol’ self cuddle and get yourself a copy. And while you’re at it, be Tempting Will McGlashen by Liz Everly - 100sure to follow Lady Smut. We’ll wrap our virtual arms around you and we promise not to grope.

 

 

5 Responses to “No Sex, Please – I’m Cuddling”

  1. Kel October 15, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Okay, I’m in the minority here… sometimes I just want a hug from someone who doesn’t want to ask me what’s wrong, what’s happening in my life, where I’m going in my relationship(s), when am I going to get back to them on Big_Decision, what are my plans for Upcoming_Holiday…

    I do have friends who fill this space in my life, but we’re kinda flung out… and sometimes it’s just not convenient to take a 400 or an 800 or heaven forbid a 3000 mile trip to get an unconditional hug. Heck, sometime the close ones just have plans with their families (and kids always come first), or are getting married, and damned if I’m going to say “Hey, not to rain on your wedding or anything but…”

    It’s the curse of busy-ness. My need-for-a-hug doesn’t fit into my own schedule, never mind anyone else’s. I was part of a very touch-orientated friend-groups in highschool and college. I know I can get hugs when I want them… it’s just getting to them that’s the problem now that we’re scattered adults. I imagine that I’m not the only one who is a screaming introvert, but was part of a very touch-friendly youth and kind of misses being able to just curl up in someone else’s space and not think for a while.

    Why everyone else seems to equate this with sex is sort of baffling to me.

    Like

    • Elizabeth Shore October 16, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      I’m completely with you, Kel. Sometimes we just need a hug. But I still have to admit about being skeeved out by “cuddling” with a stranger. It just seems like thinly disguised foreplay. I don’t think everyone who wants to cuddle has visions of it leading to sex, but IMHO, there are enough people who’d want the cuddle to turn into something more to make me pretty cautious toward the idea.

      Like

  2. Megan Morgan October 15, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Thank you for expressing my exact thoughts when I heard about this. Though the creators of the app may have pure intentions, people in general don’t. I’m sure a large percentage of those who use this are just going to use it as another hookup app. Sure it starts with cuddling…but so does a lot of sex!

    Plus, is it weird I think it’s just creepy? Somehow it’s less weird to meet a perfect stranger for a hookup than to cuddle with them.

    Like

    • Elizabeth Shore October 15, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      I know – I feel the same. Somehow hooking up for casual sex seems far less creepy than hooking up just to “cuddle.” And yes, it’s cuddle in quotes because I completely agree with you. Maybe cuddling is how things start, but I gotta believe that many people using the Cuddlr app are hoping that the simple cuddle is not where things end.

      Like

      • Kel October 15, 2014 at 10:38 am #

        Possibly because there is an implied emotional intimacy in cuddling. There’s more trust involved in emotional intimacy than casual sex, so the thought of opening yourself up to a stranger triggers warnings.

        It makes sense… even if the risk-to-reward is a little skewed. No one has caught a deadly virus from cuddling that I know of… although I suppose arguments could be made for Ebola and various plagues.

        Like

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