A Cuddle Party is a workshop and social event on touch, boundaries and consent. It is a safe space to explore our touch desires in a non sexual environment. Everybody is welcome! The need for loving touch does not just go away when we are older, but access to touch is often limited to our romantic partners or family. This workshop is safely held, and empowers you to decide each moment how much and what kind of touch you would like to receive or give.
We start with a structured part which is called the Welcome Circle, a little over one hour long, where we go over the Cuddle Party rules, and practice our Yes's and No's with each other in a playful way. We also practice how to be specific in our requests and offers, and to ask every step along the way of the encounter. We have a beautiful group of regulars and newcomers, and the event is safe and suitable for both Beginners, and Advanced and Experienced Cuddlers.
Please note: because our events are promoted on other platforms as well as Meetup the RSVP numbers shown here may not reflect actual numbers attending!
Latest Feedback by Kim:
“It was during the welcome circle of my third cuddle party that I realised I was there for one of the very reasons Stella established them in the first place. As we sat and shared briefly what had brought each of there, Stella’s recollection of a partner who had received very little physical touch or affection as a child (and who, therefore, had little to no desire for it as an adult) really resonated with me.
Before discovering the London Cuddle Party events I too had no skills to ask for, learn to receive, give or even enjoy cuddling (besides with the cats!). As a child, no one hugged me. No one allowed me to cuddle up to them in bed at night. No one comforted me in their arms when I was sad. And I was actively rejected if I sought out physical comfort from the adults in my life. Therefore, as an adult that type of loving, platonic, human touch was not only alien to me but also actually acutely uncomfortable at times. It led to lifetime of unsuccessful romantic relationships where I confused my craving for comforting, nurturing human contact as a need for purely sexual relationships. Sex was much less physically and emotionally uncomfortable for me than any loving or caring embrace. I had never been a ‘cuddly’ person.
So you might imagine how uncomfortable and daunting the prospect of a cuddle party was for me! But the universe had spoken. The very week my trauma therapist had suggested I ask my own mother for a hug, a Facebook post popped up on my timeline advertising a Cuddle Party. Filled with a heady mixture of excitement and sheer terror (and with a friend in tow for emotional support), I dipped my toe in the waters for the first time at an all female & non-binary cuddle party.
Stella has an instantly soothing and reassuring presence. Her calm and friendly demeanour is warm and welcoming and her good humour put everyone at ease as she talked through the ground rules for a safe and consensual cuddle party. Alas, that day my anxieties had me firmly in their grasp and so I spent the majority of the cuddle party sat at the edge of the room completely frozen in fear. It was all I could do to remember to breathe and will myself not to take flight. Again, Stella was brilliant and checked in with me to ask if I would like to receive any contact or if there was anything she could do to help. Feeling much too overwhelmed, I declined but opted to get myself a hot drink and just observe the other participants. At no point was I made to feel uncomfortable for not participating, in fact, it had been stressed during the welcome circle that no one was under any pressure or obligation to join in.
And I’ve never been more grateful for allowing myself to sit with that discomfort and overcome my fears... because the following two cuddle parties were so very different.
Despite not participating in any cuddling that first time, I felt so compelled to return and try again. Admittedly, I was a little hesitant because it was a mixed gender event this time. But I needn’t have been because the genders of participants are evenly balanced and everyone, in my experience, is very respectful.
From having my son I’d learned about the positive physical and mental health benefits of nurturing human contact (thanks to baby massage and attachment parenting!) and so I was determined to learn to allow myself to enjoy experiencing those benefits with other adults also. The knowledge that the London Cuddle Party was a completely safe and supportive environment to learn gave me the courage to go back.
For the first time in my adult life, during my second Cuddle Party, I spent a blissful hour enveloped in the arms of complete strangers. Rather than feeling an intense desire to escape, I felt a sense of calm, relief and contentment. It was such a profoundly moving experience and one that left me with a longing to do it all again. Turns out my brain is a big fan of all those endorphins released during a hug!
Beyond a beautiful sense of comfort and contentment that I come away from the sessions with, I have also been gifted a new found set of life skills which I did not have before. Thanks to Stella’s cuddle parties, I am confident in saying no to contact that I am uncomfortable with. Without the guilt we are often socially conditioned, especially as women, to feel when rejecting physical advances from others. At the same time, I am also more confident in asking to receive the touch that I would enjoy (with the confidence to know that I can also stop the interaction at any time). Most importantly I am now in a place where I am able to openly welcome and experience pleasure from giving and receiving gentle, platonic touch.
Whilst I still haven’t had the courage to ask my mum for that hug (undoing a lifetime of conditioning takes more than three cuddle parties), I hope to continue to enjoy reaping the wonderful benefits of these amazing sessions for as long as they are running in London. And I am eternally grateful to Stella for bringing them here and changing this aspect of my life so much for the better.
I sincerely hope that if you are reading this and feeling as sceptical/ reluctant/ terrified as I was at the prospect of attending a Cuddle Party, you will consider allowing yourself the opportunity to attend a session to see for yourself just how wonderfully healing they can be.”