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She browses through names, ages and descriptions, messages the most appealing men and women she finds and shares with them her own lists of things she does and doesn't like in a partner. They exchange messages and plan a time to get together. When they finally meet, they skip the date and go straight to one of their places. I crave affection," Rory, 25, told Mic.
She's part of a small but active community that uses the Internet to connect with like-minded cuddlers. I'm always looking for new cuddle buddies on dating [or] other social networking sites," she said. What is this phenomenon, exactly? The word "cuddle" has been around since the 16th centuryand the act itself is even older.
Take the recent discovery of a 5,year-old couple, for example, who were found buried in Greece, locked in an eternal cuddle.
But the proliferation of the purely platonic cuddle, where the partner is a stranger or nonromantic interest, is relatively recent. In FebruaryMarcia Baczynski and Reid Mihalko hosted a cuddle party in which strangers gathered to snuggle. They then formed an official organization called Cuddle Partya self-described movement to "reclaim" the option of nonsexual human touch that hosts meetups across the country.
This past February, Portland, Oregon hosted the first-ever cuddle conventionCuddleCon, sponsored by Samantha Hess, who markets herself as a professional cuddler. Like Rory, people who engage in regular, platonic cuddling do it because they enjoy the feel of human touch. Indeed, there are numerous studies that demonstrate how valuable physical affection can be, from improving our immune systems to boosting our production of the bliss-causing chemical oxytocin. Despite the physical closeness of cuddling, it's not inherently sexual or romantic.
It's the end goal. While cuddle parties, conventions and professional services have turned the cuddle process into an official business, the formality is absent among cuddle duos who meet through Reddit. It has a much more grassroots feel than something like Cuddle Party, which functions like a marketable, organized machine. It's up to the cuddlers themselves to seek out willing partners and decide on a set of rules beforehand.
Rory, then, is an aberration. Most are short-term, I think. Many have throw away s. Many talk to me for a while then disappear for no apparent reason, usually when I try to connect elsewhere to make plans to actually meet.
The first two she "liked well enough, but they Looking for a cuddle buddy work out," but she grew close with the third; they've been regular cuddle buddies ever since. DersEvvak had a less-than-perfect experience with his meetup: After driving three and a half hours to see his cuddle partner, he noted, "She did not seem interested in cuddling during the encounter. Then there are the other platforms. A host of other websites have popped up, and though they resemble dating websites in de and method, they're not intended to facilitate romance.
Cuddle Comfort is one such site. For me, I don't see it as a hobby but rather a need that we all have, depending on day-to-day circumstances. How often do you have a bad day at work and just want to go home and have a cuddle? Cuddle Comfort resembles OkCupid. Other sites, like Cuddle. Fishare cut from a similar cloth, and an app called Cuddlr, touted as the Tinder for platonic cuddling, launched this past fall, though it appears to be on a hiatus as of press time. But the idea of "casual touch" is strange to most people. Cuddling is one thing, but cuddling with a complete stranger is a different animal.
These feelings are amplified when the meetup process occurs online. It's a bizarre contrast between something that can feel impersonal sitting behind a screen and something deeply personal cuddling. While one could argue the same is true of traditional dating sites, they're deed with romance and intimacy in mind; cuddling is not.
The creep factor, too, can be difficult to comprehend. Even Rory, ever the cuddle fanatic, admitted that things haven't always gone well. Boundaries, respect and consent are everything. It's catching on. Fish and Cuddle Comfort, suggests that these sites are on to something. For Rory, using the Web to find a friendly cuddler is simply an alternative way to meet like-minded people.
And as a sufferer of erythromelalgia, a chronic pain disorder, cuddling is one of the only things that relaxes her. I can't imagine. By Sophie Kleeman. There's a catch, however. There's no sex.
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