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Need A Lift? It May Be Just A Cuddle Away

Cuddle Parties Are Nonsexual Ways Of Getting The Human Touch

POSTED: 3:08 pm EST November 8, 2004
UPDATED: 9:24 am EST November 9, 2004

Seeking out human touch has never been so anonymous, intimate or easy as in a new phenomenon called a cuddle party.

"I love to cuddle. I love to meet new people and make friends," said Kelly, a cuddle party participant.

C. PartyCuddle parties are the newest trend sweeping the country. Both young and old people are taking part. At a cuddle party, complete strangers nuzzle, massage, hug and sometimes even kiss.

"They are often experiencing a loss. Maybe they've just broken up with a boyfriend. Maybe they've just lost a wife. They really need the energy that comes from close physical contact and don't have another vehicle in which to get it," said Dr. Susan Kellogg, of the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute.

Cuddle parties are private, personal and growing in popularity.

"It was unique. Nobody does this kind of thing. It was something missing. Something I don't get a chance to do very often -- get to cuddle with friends," said Mike Lehy, a cuddle party participant.

In the party, there is closeness between participants -- the kind you may only be used to getting from close friends and loved ones. But if you're looking for more than hugs, the creators say you've come to the wrong place.

"The first rule of cuddling is pajamas stay on the whole time. This is a nonsexual event and one of the ways we ensure that is nobody gets naked," said Reid Mihalko, a cuddle party creator.

For $20 to $30, you can attend a three-hour snuggle-fest to get your fill of intimacy. There are cuddle lifeguards to enforce strict 12 rules among pajama-clad strangers. For instance, cuddlers must ask before touching.

"It's safe, depending on the responsibility of the cuddle guard -- you can never say never. It appears to be safe. It is not a party driven for sexual activity," said Dr. Kristene Whitmore, of the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute.

Some people are a bit touchy about this touchy-feely take on intimacy with strangers.

"A lot of people are very suspect of this new phenomenon, this cuddle party. They think it's just a fancy name for orgy, for really inappropriate sexual behavior. In fact, cuddle parties are for cuddling only," Kellogg said.

So, if you're in the mood to be touched by a stranger, and you like the idea of getting cozy in pairs, or in piles, cuddle parties may be just what you're looking for.

Currently, there are no Cuddle Parties scheduled for the Philadelphia area, but new parties are being added all the time. Visit www.cuddleparty.com for more information and a schedule of upcoming parties.

Copyright 2004 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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