There's a LOT of information here...we know. This might seem like a lot of work, reading all of this, but it's important. Our events are not a "party", but a community, and our members want to be and feel safe, which is why we conduct a vetting process on all aspiring guests. We must insist you read this page thoroughly, so you have a good idea of what you're getting yourself into, and so that there are no surprises or mismatched expectations. Don't have time to read this? Then our events are probably not a good fit for you.
How our events & community works
What's the big deal?
For many, cuddling is something we do with family members or romantic partners, but it is so much more! It is a well-known fact that human beings need touch, and it has benefits across the board. New mothers are advised by their medical staff to touch their newborns as soon and as much as possible. Soldiers in the military touch as a way to alleviate fear and create better comradery between them. Even animals cuddle-up both in nature and in captivity (even in warm weather).
Scientific research has shown that when cuddling, our bodies produce Oxytocin, which is a hormone that calms us down and makes it easier for us to deal with stress. Oxytocin can also block pain signals and reduce blood pressure, which makes cuddling very helpful and therapeutic.
While many of us do cuddle with our loved-ones and family, not all of us have people to cuddle-with. Even when we do, life often gets-in-the-way, not leaving us enough time to really enjoy and benefit from this activity. Beyond that, there really isn’t such a thing as enough, when cuddling is concerned. At our events, people cuddle for hours-on-end, and some even fall asleep (and with all that Oxytocin, a 20-minute nap is better than several hours of sleep anywhere else!)
Sex & touch positive
The terms “Touch-positive” and “Sex-positive” are used often in our community, and they are very important. The term Sex-positive is associated with an Austrian doctor named Wilhelm Reich, who observed how some societies view sex as “negative” (shameful, disgusting and generally unfavorable, even for simple discussion). Other societies, according to Reich, hold opposite views and encourage sex to be openly discussed and practiced without arbitrary rules. For example, a sex-negative rule is that sexual intercourse should only happen between married individuals. Another is that it must only be performed if it can be guaranteed no one else knows or hears it. Many of us are taught such “rules” so early that we grow up unaware that it can be any other way.
Touch-positive is a similar concept. Most societies are touch-positive, and their members understand that touch is an essential part of human existence. In American culture, a touch-negative attitude is often observed (for example, many schools have policies that forbid students to hug each-other when meeting or parting).
While cuddling is not Sex, our community is, of course, very sex-positive and touch-positive. Part of our mission is to “open up” American society and help everyone realize the value of touch and how it can dramatically make us all healthier and happier. Not only do we want to provide a fun and safe cuddling space for residents of Puget Sound, we also want to inspire others across the country to be more open about this. By association, our attitude is also very sex-positive. Many of our members are involved with several sex-positive organizations, and so sex-positive topics often come-up in conversations.
An important aspect of cuddle events is the topic of consent. In the world of Cuddling in general, and at Hugz & Cuddlez in particular, consent is at the top of our value list, and for good reason. Even though cuddling is not sex, it does involve people touching each other, and therefore, respecting consent and boundaries is of prime importance.
If you plan on attending one of our events, it’s imperative to keep in mind that one can cuddle with other people only if they are VERY clearly welcome to. That means that a simple glance or eye-contact does not mean consent. Everyone must seek and obtain verbal, clearly spelt-out consent before any form of touch (even a pat on the shoulder!). It’s also important to keep in mind that consent isn’t forever. In other words, having obtained consent from a person once doesn’t mean you still have it an hour later (let alone a day or a week later). Similarly, anyone can withdraw their consent at any time.
Beyond the concept of obtaining consent and keeping it, one must keep in mind that a cuddle is often a group activity, which sometimes means you would be joining several people in a cuddle (sometimes referred to as a “cuddle pile” or a “Cuddle Puddle”). In such a situation, consent needs to be received from all participants.
Finally, keep in mind that even though consent management requires effort, we must avoid thinking of it as a hassle or nag. Even if you yourself are very easy-going with giving consent, it’s imperative for everyone at our events to feel safe, and so it’s critical to not only manage consent, but also avoid pressuring or shaming people who don’t want to give it, or who decide to withdraw it. No unpleasant words, no nasty looks, and no trash-talking others will be tolerated at Hugz & Cuddlez events.
How it works
To attend one of our events, you will need to be vetted, so a first step is to submit a request. The vetting process takes some time and would usually require a phone-call, so please make sure you fill the form with all the details and be aware that we cannot do same-day or last-minute vetting. Long-time members of the sex-positive community might get expedited processing. Once vetted, you can attend any of our events.
At our events, you will typically find chairs, couches, a snack table, and of course – a whole lot of mattresses. The mattresses will be covered in sheets, and we also provide pillows and other accessories to make your experience pleasant. Depending on your arrival time (we highly recommend showing up as close to the start-time as possible, as being “fashionably late” makes socializing difficult and awkward), you might find other individuals inside. Some might be snacking, others might be chatting, and a few might be cuddling on the mattresses. We use varying facilities, and so the amenities may vary as well.
Depending on your own personality, you might feel timid at first. Whether you just don’t know any of the other participants, or simply a shy person, you might not know how to “fit in”, and that’s a very common situation. To help you and others, we always have an event leader at the events, sometimes referred to as a “Cuddle Catalyst”. The event leader is present during the entire event, and actively engages with people that appear to be in-need of a guiding hand. The Catalyst can show you around the event space, and will also suggest introducing you around the place and even helping you find a place, a person or a group to cuddle-with. You can stay until the event’s closing time, or leave sooner, if you so choose. Most people start things with some socializing, and then turn to cuddle for the rest of the evening. Some are so relaxed that they fall asleep on our mattresses.
Cuddle events have no dress code. Some people just wear whatever they came-in with. Others adorn pajamas or onesies. Anything that is comfortable for you is OK. The only things we are concerned about are glitter, body-paint and clothing or accessories that might hurt others (for example, a belt with a sharp buckle) or damage our sheets. We also encourage our guests to consider things like body or mouth odor, and take steps to avoid making the experience unpleasant to others.
As noted above, many find this challenging, but don’t worry. Our Cuddle Catalyst is there for this exact reason and even if you don’t ask, they will typically notice and approach you fairly quick. You are always free to approach them, of course, and ask for any info, guidance or help you desire.
If you’d rather do it yourself, a good way to start is to show up early. Being there before everybody else gives you a good chance to talk to people and get to know each other, before people get too-deep into cuddling. A good idea is to be near the door, and once a person comes in, greet them and offer a handshake. Another way to meet people is to offer a backrub (respectfully). Giving someone a good and relaxing backrub is a nice way to spend time with a person and both get to know them, and for them to get to know you.
Once you’ve established a rapport with someone, simply ask “Would you like to cuddle?”, and most people will be glad to give that a shot. Walk over to the mattresses, and find yourself an available spot. It doesn’t have to be all-yours…it’s perfectly normal and encouraged for a person or a group to join an existing pile and form new friendships.
Even if all this is weird or difficult at first, keep in mind that building relationships take time. If you are a kind, courteous and good cuddler, then by the next time you will already have a handful of people who know this, and will be more than happy to cuddle some more. With time, you will feel more and more at-home at our events, and starting up cuddle sessions will become easier and more natural. In fact, if you are a nice person, good chance you will find others offering you a cuddle!
As noted, safety, security and consent are all prime values for our community, and so we require every new guest to be vetted before their first visit. The vetting can take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, during which we go over things like house rules, consent and “how things work”, and learn about you, your experience, your history and your expectations (and of course, answer any questions you might have).
While we cannot provide too much details about the process, so as to not provide the community with a way to circumvent or work-around our security, we can tell you that our vetting process takes into account dozens of factors. This could include people you know or who know you, things you have done in the past, places you’ve been, your online activity, and much more (our interviewers are also trained in multiple communication styles so they have the ability to gauge “who” a person it effectively). The vetting process is extremely resource-intensive for us at Hugz & Cuddlez, but we invest the time and resources gladly, as the safety of our community is above everything else. Click here to send-in a vet request.
Costs & labor
Admission to our events costs is usually FREE, and we operate with no intention of making a profit. We do setup a donation-jar in most locations, as we do need some money to help cover some of the costs, such as that of food, drink and supplies (like sheets, mattresses, pillows, laundry etc.). If your heart and wallet permit, please support us, but even if you cannot, we do not turn away guests due to lack of funds (you can also donate via Venmo, and most people donate about $10-20).
Want to help?
Like many other community-based events and venues, we are 100% volunteer based, and work diligently to reduce costs (*). Our organizers are very adept and experienced, and so rarely require additional labor. However, if you’d like to help, please send us a note and we will add you to the list of potential helpers. We are also interested in ideas for events that the community might like.
* We are committed to full transparency and hide nothing from our members. If you are interested in specific info, please feel free to approach us at an event and ask us anything.
When is the next event?