What we're about
"Touch has the power to comfort us when we are sad, heal us when we are sick, encourage us when we feel lost, and above all else, allow us to accept that we are not alone"
~ Samantha Hess
"A relaxed feeling of being held helps you to have nicer thoughts"
~ Temple Grandin
"To touch is to give life'"
Welcome Irish Cuddlers!
This group exists to facilitate regular, organised gatherings and opportunities to experience consensual, mindful, non-sexual touch and affection in a welcoming, safe, nurturing, obligation-free environment. We are the first and longest-running Official Cuddle Party community in Ireland.
Our official Cuddle Party events are brought to you by the Conscious Touch Network and are led by experienced facilitators professionally trained and certified in human touch, intimate relating, and Cuddle Party facilitation. The facilitator’s job is to guide you into those skills gently and easily, in a fun, safe and light-hearted way. We welcome you and create an atmosphere of respect, and remain available for questions and support.
Irish Cuddle Salon events generally take place in or near Dublin (monthly or more frequently).
Questions to ask yourself:
* When was the last time you were held?
* What if it was okay to be held by someone you trusted?
* What would be the worse thing that could come from being held?
* What if the benefits out-weighed the risks?
From birth through death, humans (and indeed all mammals) have a biological, neurological, spiritual and emotional and social need to give and receive loving, non-sexual touch and affection. It is crucial for our mental and social development and emotional wellbeing. Unfortunately, the pace of modern society has left us lacking, with little opportunity for quality connection with others.
Though touch is natural, the skills that make it welcome and enjoyable have to be learned. Skills of communication, boundary identification, asking for what you want, and saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ with clarity and kindness.
Nurturing, welcomed, consensual touch is good for you. Cuddles are especially good for:
* Lowering blood pressure
* Relieving pain
* Calming your nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety
* Lowering your risk of heart disease
* Boosting your immune system
* Stable and vibrant emotional health and overall wellbeing
* Enhancing your ability to connect and deepen trust with others
* Increasing your ability to respect and care for yourself, your creativity, sense of safety, comfort and belonging.
An important aspect of an Irish Cuddle Salon event is that there is no nudity and it is non-sexual in nature. In an atmosphere removed of sexual anxiety, expectations, obligations, etc., participants are free to explore giving and receiving touch, free to learn and to integrate those experiences safely deep within themselves.
Irish Cuddle Salon events are about experience, intimacy, and learning. Especially for those who are touch-deprived, attending a Salon event can be a powerful healing session. Although touch is natural, the skills that make it welcome and enjoyable need to be learned. These skills include communication, setting and respecting boundaries, asking for what you want, and being able to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ with clarity and kindness.
You will be gently guided to co-create a light-hearted, safe, and fun space with your fellow cuddlers - at whatever level feels right for you. Facilitators will be available for participants should questions or support be needed. Some benefits of attending an Irish Cuddle Salon event:
* Enhanced Clarity and confidence
* Improved Boundary and communication skills
* Comfort, support and encouragement
* Welcome, relaxed, non-sexual touch
When boundaries and consent are clear, every relationship becomes easier.
“Good fences make good neighbours”.
Why come to an Irish Cuddle Salon event?
* to connect with yourself.
* to meet new people.
* to enjoy amazing conversations.
* to learn new skills.
* to touch.
* to be touched.
* to have fun.
* to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment.
* to re-connect with yourself and the rest of the world.
* to help you feel like part of the planet when life's problems can make you feel that you aren't.
* Just to cuddle!
Irish Cuddle Salon events are nonjudgmental and open to everyone, all ages, genders, sexual/relationship preferences, sizes, and abilities.
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Do participants have to cuddle?
* No. Nobody has to cuddle at an Irish Cuddle Salon event. You're not required to do anything. If people want to bring a book or write in their journal, or just converse and not cuddle, that is completely OK.
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About Your Host:
Randy Ralston is a consciousness facilitator and touch professional holding a California state-certification in sexological bodywork and separately, a UK certification in somatic sex education. He hosts regular Cuddle Parties in Ireland and is a trained and certified Cuddle Party Facilitator. Randy has a lifelong passion helping others experience freedom in their lives, loves, and relationships.
Feel free to contact Randy directly at any time with questions and he will be happy to answer them.
Private cuddle parties and individual cuddling sessions also separately available, please enquire.
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"Reawakening that ability for loving touch can be one of the simplest and most beautiful gifts to ourselves and our loved ones. At its most basic, just showing up and being willing to touch someone with the intention of bringing healing or love can be a comforting experience for another. And sometimes it’s as easy as that. We may shy away from placing soothing hands on an aching back or stroking a tense head, thinking drugs or a doctor are more efficient, or not wanting to spend the time. Surprisingly, though, it can be all that’s needed to shift a mood, lighten discomfort, or unlock a deeper emotional layer that’s ready to be cleared. More importantly, touch connects people and increases that sense of trust and love in the world in a way that doctors and drugs struggle to do." - Freya Watson- via elephant journal (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/04/touch-me-please/)
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Below are what some past Cuddle participants had to say about their experiences:
'I love this cuddle space, so safe and soft. <3'
'I LOVE THESE CUDDLE PARTIES! Thank you so much. They make me smile inside and out.'
'These cuddle parties are a celebration of touch and relaxation with nice, therapeutic music, friendly faces, and consent a constant presence - like a meditation of touch and comfort.❤Friendships are made, and hugs & cuddles release a lovely helping of the happy love hormone that combats depression and our moods. 😍 Too many people live with no touch, no hugs, no love - you don't need relationships to receive this affection.'
'People really need to start realising & understanding the importance of touch in this harsh world. People need to learn to have the strength to be comfortable & confident enough to set their own boundaries and to be able to ask for what they want, what they need. Cuddle Parties are perfect for this. Everyone should attend at least one. I believe those who resist most need to attend the most. Please put it on your bucket list. It is an amazing uplifting experience.'
'I think this is something special. I have managed to reconnect with myself and communicate my needs and understand other's needs more clearly through the training I received at the 3 cuddle party's I have attended so far. I look forward to many more, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.'
'Thanks, Randy for your input and guidance is very inspiring!! The Cuddle Salon is amazing.
'Thanks a million for a lovely first-ever Cuddle Party experience! I greatly appreciate how you took the time to make me feel welcome and accommodated, and especially when you described the staircase for me a few weeks ago so that I would know what to expect. I thought you accommodated for my disability very well (and much, much better than most people do. I thought you did a great job creating and maintaining a safe space for everyone, and that the welcome circle exercises were extremely useful. I found that people were so kind and patient. Today, I got to practice giving consent, as well as saying "no" and I think that the entire experience was very therapeutic for me. I'm already planning on coming to the next one and many more after that, I plan to be a regular attendee. The vibes in the room were so nice, and many of the conversations I had were almost as good as the cuddles! Thanks again for all you do to run a fantastic event!'
'Great day - really enjoyed it - thanks for creating a great space.'
'I had heard about the cuddle party at first online and said I'd never be brave enough to try it. I didn't want work or family to ever hear I was into something weird/ so different. I then met someone who had tried it and explained it to me. It was a chance to try having my boundaries verbally instead of using body language as my main tool. I asked for what I wanted and said no to what I didn't want. It was a pure joy to be there. I was high on oxytocin and made some great connections in the cuddling chats, like pillow talk without the sex. At the end our group went into spontaneous group sing alongs to the fabulous music that Randy had playing. We were so joyful like little kids. On an even deeper level I noticed that the shame feelings of wanting love and connection I experienced released and started healing. There was some sadness in the days after about my beliefs that wanting touch and connection was codependent and not good for me. This was a safe space to get a dose of what we all need. Human touch. I will definitely be back.'
'I feel so blessed to have been a part of this. It's a really precious gift you are offering and a beautiful space that you hold.. I love the mixture of playfulness and depth, and have found the three Cuddly Parties that I've been to deeply nourishing. With hugs & gratitude.'
'Yesterday was a beautiful experience. I had never in attended anything like this before. I met gentle spirits incarnate who showed care. It was most professional. It was friendly its was a joy experience. I felt NO invasion of my space my space was nourished. Each individual showed care and respect. I was on cloud nine.'
'Thank you so very much to all people who attended today! This was my first Cuddle party and I had no idea how I would like it! I am so much happier after the party... I had a tough time the last few years and much hurts.. After coming today I feel that i opened my heart again, and i feel better than I have felt in the last few years.. I needed this warmth and kindness of people and hugs so VERY much. Thank you so much... my heart is healing. With love & many cuddles.'
'A very special experience, on so many levels. Thank you.'
'I was quite touched by the event. I'm doing lots of things differently since then. I wake up earlier. I'm doing what I enjoy and not doing what I don't. I'm doing yoga differently by watching my muscles doing the work and by loving my body, which is an interesting new feeling. I feel it because I experienced what it feels like to be loved. I'm watching movies differently by rewinding and watching touching scenes over and over. I'm walking slowly. I just experience a different life.'
'I really enjoyed the last cuddle party I met a great mix of people from several countries and backgrounds. I now feel more confident to ask for what I want and to be more playful in the introduction and practice of rules. I am seeing how much my need for touch is not met in my ordinary daily life and how much of an empty space this unmet need creates. Cuddle Party Ireland is an accepting, friendly, trusting, warm place in which to explore my need for touch and how this resonates with other participants. I am heartened that all participants can check in with themselves and respond with "Yes" or "No" genuinely. I left feeling happy and relaxed after a truly enjoyable afternoon. I'll definitely come to another cuddle party. My warmest thanks for the clear and friendly way in which you hold the space for all of us.'
'Thank you so much for the most fantastic, loving, peaceful encounter at yesterday's Cuddle Party. I am filled with profound thankfulness and gratitude. My state of mind is forever altered!'
'Thank you for yesterday. The Cuddle Party really made me take a good look at myself and how I interact with others. I will be processing that over the coming days. I floated peacefully into 2017...thank you for the beautiful cuddles.'
'It was just what I needed.'
'Thank you for organizing this safe space where a person can clearly ask for what they want and receive feedback.'
'This was a very special one for me.
I felt that I was really heard and accepted and given permission to say No and that it was ok.
I notice that I am often feeling very nervous at the beginning of cuddle parties but when I do honour my wishes of not wanting to hug someone by saying No and letting go of judgements of that, I feel safe.
It's as if when I realise that I have the permission and power to choose the right interaction for ‘me' I put myself at ease. And then I end up relaxing completely and by the end of yesterdays workshop I felt softer, gentler, happier and also stronger and safer in myself.
Another thing I find that is that I can often be concerned about whether the other person is OK that I’m not in the moment and enjoying. I also then don't know what I really want because I'm off elsewhere. It was really good to hear it said out loud that we are capable of looking after ourselves. It was empowering and also relieving. I didn't have to worry about the other person and whether they wanted to stop cuddling.'
'A wonderful afternoon with a lovely, welcoming group. Looking forward to next month's Cuddle Salon!'
'Thank you for being there and creating this fabulous space and opportunity for touch-starved souls to connect. I had a wonderful experience was so cozy and happy snuggled up with a partner. The biggest thing I learned from the Irish Cuddle Salon is to become secure with establishing boundaries. To have the chance to try them out in such a safe environment is really fortunate.'
'Beautiful, moving & fun Cuddle Salon. Thank you.'
'Yesterday's cuddle salon brought out the more loving side of me. I really enjoyed it. It showed me the critical need for physical closeness that we all have."
'Highly recommended safe space for practising how to bring more human connection to our lives.'
'Thanks Randy, I had a great day! :-)'
'It was my first time to go to one last month and it was a really wonderful experience. It was a really safe and welcoming space to be. I learned so much about human interaction and communication, boundaries, consent - it all felt so natural to me. I know I have more to learn and what a beautiful way to spend a Sunday (or any!) afternoon!'
'Great experience, warm and enriching. A really nice event. Can't wait for the next one.'
'Nice, honest, open.'
'Thank you for a wonderful time! Relaxing, loving and nurturing.'
'I'm still feeling the effects of it today, such a beautiful experience, thank you everybody.'
'I had a truly wonderful time at yesterday's cuddle party. The transition from the warm-up exercises to the actual cuddle session was so easy and organic. It was a really lovely group and I'm extremely grateful to have physically and emotionally connected with some beautiful, kind and open people. I was quite depressed at the weekend and it took a real effort for me to get up and out but I'm so glad I did. It's hard to describe how I felt leaving but it was a hugely positive feeling. Thank you.'
'I at first thought it was a bit unnecessary to describe how to say No and Yes, but later on realised it was actually much more complex and useful than I thought.'
'I was apprehensive, not knowing what to expect but really enjoyed it. The structure and clear exercises made it easy so I was able to relax. I felt I gained something vital. A great, enjoyable experience that left me yearning for more.'
'Yes, cuddling with strangers is awkward at first. But we're all people, we all need touch and affirmation and love. After a minute or two, the cuddling gets comfortable and cozy, because you are soon no longer in a room full of strangers. This is a positive, shame-free space to get important needs met. You'll feel better, mentally and physically, after a good snuggle.'
'Definitely would do it again. So much food for thought & discussion."
'I grew up in a hands-off, touch-deprived atmosphere. Cuddling changed my life. Attending cuddle events, I met my partner, made wonderful friends, and helped create heart-centered, touch positive community. cuddling helped me realize I was lovable, worthy of giving and receiving loving human touch.'
'I used to spend €60 per week on massage, and now I have friends with whom I can share different types of touch.'
'Cuddling taught me that touch is as infinite as colour or music. Cuddling taught me that compassionate touch can be as powerful for emotional healing as talk therapy or antidepressants. Cuddling taught me that desire for sex and desire for touch are two different things.'
'As a woman without a partner whose primary love language is physical touch, I find cuddling one of the best ways to feel connected to myself and others in a safe way. I’ve made great friendships along the way, too!'
'Even though I’m a teacher, I sometimes have social anxiety. Well-facilitated cuddles have helped me to relax and connect without feeling the need to have a couple of drinks to loosen up. Also, becoming more touch positive has helped me come through times of stress, loss, or uncertainty with a more robust sense of resilience.'
'Cuddles have had an enriching effect on my life. Growing up middle class, it was taboo to touch people. I recall even having this fear of brushing up against my friends or strangers. But, as I opened myself up to different cultural modes of thought, I explored such things as cuddles, and found that touching and being touched in a controlled environment is quite liberating and much needed!'
'Cuddling has made it possible for me to go much longer without a boyfriend, so that I can be more choiceful in my romantic relationships.'
'Cuddling helped ease my chronic pain & enriched my recovery from surgery by soothing my parasympathetic nervous system & lowering my cortisol levels.'
'Beautiful...I appreciate the effort and care put into it - the comfy blankets and pillows, the gourmet snacks, and of course the smiles and support'
'Really enjoyable and interesting!'
“I have been now to six cuddle parties in a row. They all have been intense, lovely experiences, with the single downside that Mondays are tough as I get something like a cuddle party hangover! :-) I accept that, as well as the energising effect that I get for the rest of the week. More than just fun, I am realising that these parties have become a means to learn about relating, and about myself - so there are benefits that carry into my life outside the parties. Moreover, my cuddling with each person is like a little story, and the story can develop if the other person comes to another party and we cuddle again. This opens some interesting possibilities with respect to depth of relating! In a nutshell: it is great to come to a single party, or even to the odd party, but for maximum benefit I recommend that cuddlers come to every party!”
'Peaceful and Nourishing'
'I need MOAR!!!'
'A great experience. Everyone should try it! '
'Really enjoyed the boundary setting. I feel like if I went to another event it would be of great benefit.'
'I can't even begin to describe how soothed I felt after it.'
'Appreciated the clear explanation of the rules and the examples to aid their understanding.'
'I have attended two of Randy’s Cuddle Parties now, and feel like so many people would benefit from this way of reconnecting with people in a real, physical way. Being at the Cuddle Party was nerve-wracking at first, but by the end I found myself wishing it would never end. Randy creates a safe space where consent and respect are tantamount, and there is no pressure whatsoever to do anything you don’t want to do, including cuddling. The result is this safe cocoon of warmth, healing and understanding, a place from which you can explore and practice asking for what you want without judgement. It really is an amazing way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and a wonderful gift to yourself. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone.'
'I really enjoyed the way the space was set up and the progression of the night.'
'Very much appreciate the lack of pressure to cuddle/touch. It made me think about my own boundaries a lot - very therapeutic. I would like to go again to explore my boundaries more next time.'
'You sprayed us all with oxytocin (I couldn't believe how "at home and relaxed" I felt there)...Thank you for this incredible process that you facilitate!'
'I really like this and felt I could have explored it further, but really appreciated that I was given the space to decide myself what my boundaries would be.'
'Yet again, a lovely experience. Very different to the first time I attended yet the experience still managed to soothe the soul while positively re-directing my perspective.'
'So important for my relationship with my body - first to realise I'm so scared of potential refusal - and of acceptance too; then, to see it's not all that scary, and that it's not true my body is repelling to everyone willing to cuddle me. Thank you!'
'I was pretty nervous when attending my first ever Cuddle Party with Randy. I need not have worried. From the very first moments, I felt at ease and open to whatever would happen. Randy holds the space with warmth, clarity, openness and includes all possible options for participants. He invites people to join as much as they wish and we had a chance to practise consenting or refusing actions. This meant that whatever happened to me, I had either asked for it and knew that the other person agreed freely, OR, I knew that I agreed freely to what I had been asked. This made me feel completely safe and trusted the other participants. This was a gentle, light and colourful space in which to enjoy the basic human need for touch and contact, in a relaxed way and the boundaries were stated very clearly. I would recommend Randy's Cuddle Parties to anyone and reassure anyone that they can be at ease. People can ask questions and Randy supports everyone warmly.'
'A big thank you for the opportunity to discover healthy, non-sexual touch. To me, there is nothing wrong with it - it's so nurturing!'
'As relaxing an atmosphere as it could be...being able to chat and cuddle with people was fun/nice (despite my social discomforts). I like the people who were there. Now that I've dipped my toes in, I'd like to try it again, ya!'
'Great afternoon, lovely time, and beautiful people.'
'Thanks for organising that beautiful event which attracted so many wonderful people. It was a real treat!'
'Getting to experience human kindness and authenticity restores my faith in humanity. Group cuddles may be my new church. I worship every one of you who is brave enough to join me. Thank you. I am humbled. What an amazing evening.'
'Yesterday was amazing for me. I'd been emotionally closed and while wanting wife and family, couldn't even see myself being intimate with anyone again.I am still stunned by how open I am now. After the cuddle party my heart and mind are open and I feel softer. I'm loving again. Thank you.'
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