piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
i just came across this: http://cuddleparty.com/ and thought it sounded like just the thing for you.

on 2006-03-14 01:19 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] crazed-lynn.livejournal.com
I was shown that site about a year ago. One of the young regulars at our show was trying to organize one, but she had no success.

I am not very excited about it. It bothers me that an official cuddleparty has "lifeguards." If I don't know the people in the room well enough to do without a lifeguard, I shan't be cuddling. :)

I do wonder how well they are doing. It sounds like a great way to make a litle money. Get people to pay you to train them to host a cuddle party or be a lifeguard. I wish I had thought of that part. :)

on 2006-03-14 02:31 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
interesting. and yet you think highly of HAI and landmark, and they do exercises in intimacy with total strangers, and those total strangers pay for the privilege, no, and have instructors (who have been trained and have paid for that privilege as well)? why so cynical about these guys? what's the difference?

i saw it on TV, and it looked perfectly wholesome, actually. and i think having a "lifeguard" is a good idea if one engages in intimacy exercises with strangers, because occasionally somebody might have gotten the wrong idea even though the rules are very clear.

on 2006-03-14 04:48 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] crazed-lynn.livejournal.com
Landmark doesn't have anything physcially intimate. and the don'tg require anyone to disclose anything personal if they don't want to.

HAI does get touchy feely. But not quickly. There is a lot of time to get a feeling for the room. I have had my moments where I had trouble with HAI. I'm not doing anything with them right now because they hae swung back to being mostly about sex. That was not why I was there.

I think cuddleparty.com is probably everything it says it is -- more or less. And I'm pretty sure I'm in one of more cynical moods right now. I've been following the news again. :)

on 2006-03-28 01:13 (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Hi. I host Cuddle Parties in Orange County and thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. On costs, each host does his or her own thing. Some charge $30 for singles and $50 for couples. Some discount for seniors or students. Many (including Suz in Emeryville) say no one will be turned away for lack of funds. I accept voluntary contributions at the end and don't watch who is and isn't putting money in the cookie jar. My average collection has been between $100 and $200 per party, with about $50 going out for food. About 30 hours of time is spent updating the web site (www.oc-cuddle.com), responding to e-mails, etc. for each 3.5 hour party. Do the math, and you'll see compensation is well below minimum wage.

I try to age-balance, so I don't end up with a bunch of 25-year old women and 60-year old men. Men are homophobic, and the idea is for everyone to have a good time, so gender-balance keeps guys from sitting alone, and age-balance keeps the women from getting creeped out at the beginning.

Most people start either giving or receiving back rubs or foot rubs. Some end up cuddling more closely if they find a connection with the person they are with, and some only get massages. Some just watch, which is ok.

Sex is a definite no-no, and it's an hour of workshop discussions and exercise that help keep it that way. My primary role is leading that hour, and then everyone behaves themselves after. Cuddle Parties aren't for everyone, but the testamonials page on my website says that many people really do enjoy them. Some get simple cuddling. Others feel amazing empowerment to take control of situations when they were raised (usually as a result of sexual abuse) to NEVER say no to guys. And recently a man and woman completely connected at a Cuddle Party and are now well into a long-term relationship.

I ask about age and gender on the sign-up form, not appearance, weight or race. Some very heavy people have come and fit in just fine.

What I would suggest is for someone to attend. Sitting through the first hour will give a much better idea of what a party is about, and there is a very strong emphasis on the option to leave at any time for any reason. You will also be amazed to see that almost no one qualifies as a "loser." The biggest surprise for me is that literally, after 12 parties, only one couple left at the end of the rules. They announced they were swingers and had come to meet like minded couples. They had come to the wrong party. Everyone else stays and enjoys themselves.

Doug@oc-cuddle.com

on 2006-03-14 01:38 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
They managed to offend the sfbay poly list a while back. Not that that's at all hard to do.

on 2006-03-14 02:31 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
how did they do that, do you remember?

on 2006-03-14 04:27 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
there was a general criticism on list of the notion of paying that much money to attend a cuddle party. one of the organizers did a pretty good job of negotiating her way through all the criticism. another organizer, her mentor i think, came onlist briefly and tried to get all authoritative, and that didn't go over well.

there are a number of people on that list who are quick to criticize any group where people are paying to learn something about intimacy, including HAI.

on 2006-03-14 07:41 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
*nod*. i didn't even check how much the parties are. huh. i couldn't find it easily on the site, maybe i overlooked it -- but in the nerve.com review it said $20. that's certainly not cheap, but also not onerously expensive for 3.5 hours of self-discovery or just comfortable closeness, o,plus apparently some snack food and non-alkie beverages. so a party host makes 200-400 bucks per party, minus some outlay for provisions. i don't see anyone getting rich off this.

are those people also opposed to paying for counseling?

on 2006-03-14 08:33 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
Oh, now I remember something else the list criticized - the gender balance requirement.

The list now has a "classifieds" sublist, which somewhat seems to take care of the complaints about kinda-off-topic costs-money workshop posts. The complaining was initially directed at frequent posts about tantra workshops, especially those that made a point of mentioning "couples".

I agree that cuddle parties appear not to be unreasonably priced, especially compared to other similar workshops/events.

I queried the facilitator about whether people my size ever come to them. She basically said "not really" and offered me free admission. I appreciated the honesty and decided not to go.

on 2006-03-15 00:02 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
yeah, the gender balance thing stuck out at me right away, and that sort of thing always make me suspicious. i wonder whether it's just a thinly disguised "hey, you het folk could make a love connection here", since most of their clients seem to also be singles, or whether there is some thinking behind it that otherwise they'd get a lot of touch-hungry men and if the ratio isn't approximately 1:1 then the women would feel overwhelmed and the energy of the event would change. or something entirely different -- if i actually thought of attending one, i'd ask, but as it is, i'm not curious enough. and i am completely not tempted, *heh*; if anything, i require less touch than most people i know -- but i thought it was in principle a really neat idea, since a lot of people are touch-deprived, and don't know how to ask for it, nor have the opportunity to explore their own and other's boundaries in a safe way.

interesting about the size thing. the TV clips didn't make it look like there were only thin people there, or only those of the "beautiful" set; i saw several plump ones -- but yeah, alt.polycons, frex, seem to me to be much more over the map size-wise. what i liked best about the clips was the atmosphere in the room -- it really felt like a slumber party with close friends who're all touchy-feely. i like that sort of energy, even if i would likely be at the outer fringes at such an actual event.

on 2006-03-15 00:14 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
When I'm touch-deprived, strangers touching me doesn't seem to be what I want.

I'm bigger than "plump".

I think overall it's a good thing, even if not for me. I think it can't be bad that people are getting more of an opportunity to decide cuddling is OK and not necessarily all about sex. And this seems like a more welcoming forum than SF cons and polycons, which are for people with specific interests, or HAI workshops, which are more expensive and also more mysterious about what exactly goes on.

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