Some Minneapolis folks are finding a lot of comfort in monthly "cuddle parties"—non-sexual meet-ups facilitated by registered nurse Candessa Hadsall. The cuddle sessions, held in her living room on piles of bedding, are meant to help participants, who don't always know each other, explore boundaries and improve communication.
The first rule of Cuddle Club is that Cuddle Club costs 20 dollars. The most important rule is you must ask permission for each touch, and you don't have to cuddle with anyone if you don't want to. Other rules stress that the word "no" is a complete sentence, and advise that if a cuddlee is uncertain of whether or not he/she is open to a particular touch, it's best to just go with "no." No word on whether or not Dutch ovens are acceptable.
Hadsall, a registered nurse who has worked with sexual assault victims and chemical dependency patients, believes that cuddle parties enable participants to become comfortable expressing what they do and don't want from another person.
Science corroborates the belief in the the healing power of human touch. Cuddling releases oxytocin, a hormone made in the brain that reduces stress and can lower a person's blood pressure.
Cuddle Club seems like a more medical take on a professional cuddling industry that's made headlines a few times in the past. While Cuddle Parties may not be for everyone, they do seem like an excellent way to stay warm on those freezing cold Minneapolis nights.