What we're about

Our first event was in November 2015 at the Center on Halsted. Back then, we only focused on hugging (due to lack of floor space and we hadn't quite figured out the logistics of offering lie-down cuddling). WE ARE FOUR YEARS OLD and growing! (By the way, when you create your profile, please either give your full name -- or your first name and last initial. It gets very confusing with 20 Joe's. Also this is a forum to meet people so it's best to post a current photo of yourself.)

MEN CUDDLING MEN (MCM) has grown into an amazing way station where men can get their touch needs met. This is a nurturing, platonic group which allows gay men to meet in new ways. We have awesome, diverse members who participate in our bi-monthly cuddle groups. "Cuddle Parties" started about twelve years ago in New York and has grown into a global movement. Businesses for professional cuddlers started about six years ago with: Cuddle Sanctuary, Cuddlist, and Cuddle Up To Me. Just 20 seconds into embracing another human, your brain releases the neurotransmitter Oxytocin which allows us to feel nurtured, safe, loved. Imagine what 2 hours of cuddling at Men Cuddling Men might feel like.

While it's not mandatory, members are encouraged to post their faces -- rather than avatars -- with their profiles. It's a way for folks to get to know you.

"Will I be comfortable in the group?" Sometimes yes, sometimes no. New experiences, by nature, force you to move outside your comfort zone. But many guys who were nervous about attending have said they were so glad they did. One member tried for a whole year to attend. He came to the address but couldn't walk through the door. Until happily one year later he came in and had a wonderful cuddle experience.

NOTE: Our group meets every other month. If you have a desire for cuddling in between groups, try reaching out to other members you've met at the group. Sex is great but this is not a hook up group. Though if you happen to start dating, please let us know. This is a group for soulful connection and building our community. We are rated as a Five Star Meetup Group based on member reviews. Members are encouraged to post a profile picture, and to interact on the discussion threads.

When we first launched this cuddle group MEN CUDDLING MEN, our group catered to single, gay men. Now the group is open to all who identify as male: be they gay, bisexual, trans, asexual, questioning, straight, single, partnered, of diverse ages (21 and up) or of diverse ethnicities -- who want to cuddle with other men. It's definitely a gay-friendly space. I've been very lucky to collaborate with Charles Gamble on developing this group. We've had as many as 23 attendees at group cuddles! -- and as few as 10.

Our group is non-sexual. Clothes remain on at all times. It's recommended that members contact members only AFTER first attending our meetup and meeting them, for safety purposes. We are not responsible for any interactions outside the group. (**Also for your profile pictures, please wear clothing.)

I started the group for a few reasons. As a gay man who's been single for a long time, I deeply longed to cuddle again. And at times, I have dealt with stress and anxiety. Cuddling is a good remedy. New Cuddling is part of a larger movement to transform the way that all of us can get our touch needs met.

* In need of private, one-on-one cuddling? Visit https://cuddlist.com/

Cuddling is soothing, fun and energizing. When you hug 15 different men in a session, you learn how each man cuddles differently. The experience can be sensual and even a bit romantic -- but think of this as mostly as Communal Cuddling. We have over 400 members. The regular admission is $20. There is often an early bird special for $15. If you're on a fixed income or money is tight -- sliding scale is available or complimentary admission. Contact Dwight directly to arrange.

You really don't know what the experience is like till you've had it. What are you waiting for?

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One disclaimer: neither Charles nor I are therapists. Please let us know if you have any special needs, or physical or mental health issues we should be aware of. It is up to you to decide if our group might be a good fit for you. We would like to be supportive of anyone, but realize there are limitations.

Here is a video I made about our group. Please enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl4qv2avdH8

Our group has been profiled in Windy City Times and Chicagoist.com:

WINDY CITY TIMES http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Hug-cuddle-group-for-gay-single-men-arrives-in-Chicago/53567.html

CHICAGOIST.COM http://chicagoist.com/2016/01/28/contact_high_cuddlers_explore_the_p.php

* Various Cuddle Opportunities in Chicago:

OUR TOUCHPOINTS is open to all with an lgbt focus supporting women cuddling women: https://www.ourtouchpoints.com/

TRUTHFUL TOUCH is open to men and women: http://www.meetup.com/Truthful-Touch-Cuddle-Party/

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GROUND RULES for MEN CUDDLING MEN

(Updated 9-22-16)

Traditional cuddling takes place between people who are dating or in a romantic relationship, and the function is basically to deepen intimacy in that relationship. But the reality is that many of us aren't partnered, yet we still have the strong desire for tender touch, hugging, cuddling. And some guys might have partners that don't like to cuddle.

NOTE ON PHYSICAL ATTRACTION: Traditionally people cuddle because they are physically attracted to each other. With New Cuddling, we cuddle with the understanding that we all need to be held, and physical attraction is not relevant. One can say no to a suggested cuddle position, but please do not say no to a whole person.

The cuddle movement has been growing for twelve years and there are cuddle groups throughout the world. "New cuddling" is a bit different from old cuddling. It can occur between people who have just met. It is motivated more by compassion and empathy, than by physical attraction or the constructs of a relationship. It can create deeper feelings of connection, reduce aggression and anxiety, provide comfort when one feels isolated or lonely or when one is going through a difficult time. Cuddling is powerful, healing, and platonic!

REFUND POLICY. We must pay for room space, facebook advertising fees, etc. to hold cuddle events, so we generally don't offer refunds if you must cancel your RSVP. We can refund if a member gives 5 days notice, and asks for a refund. Or if there is an extreme event which prevents you from attending, that is left to the discretion of the organizers.

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1. Cuddling can be exciting but please keep your clothes on at all times. Sexual arousal can happen, but please focus on nurturing rather than arousing -- or we may need to gently intervene. :) This is communal touch which is different than romantic touch. We are caressing each other because we all need to be touched.

2. Please be at least 21 years of age. We may need to see proof of your date of birth.

3. Most people come to a cuddle group to cuddle. But if you prefer not to cuddle at this time, that is also an option. It's understandable that newcomers might be a bit shy. Though you'll probably have more fun hugging and snuggling!

4. If either cuddler at any time feels uncomfortable with the touch being giving -- please take responsibility for telling your partner, and changing the course of the position. If said partner does not respect your boundaries, feel free to end the cuddle and move on to someone else. Also feel empowered to ask for the kind of touch that you want.

5. To fully experience cuddling, it's important that people come to the group without recreational drugs -- including marijuana and alcohol and other such substances.

6. Members should bring a carryable blanket and small pillow. A light blanket or bed spread is easier to carry.

7. A clean body and clean clothes are essential for cuddling. No strong colognes; deodorants are fine. People often wear sweatpants or gym shorts, t-shirts, etc. Some wear pajamas.

8. Everyone who wants to get cuddled will get cuddled. Make sure you take responsibility for getting your needs met.

9. It's a basic human right to hugged and cuddled -- whether one is in a relationship or not. Don't worry about erections. They can happen. Just focus on nurturing rather than arousing. Or think of baseball!

10. Sexual harassment and drama won't be tolerated. Please respect people's stated preferences. Also please be respectful of people's privacy and avoid gossip of any kind.

11. Some people like to talk while they cuddle. Others may prefer not to.

12. Please share the wonders of cuddling with your friends! We can change the world...one snuggle at a time.

Upcoming events (2)

NOVEMBER CUDDLE! Our First IN-PERSON GROUP CUDDLE since pandemic.

The Rooted Space

$10.00

Hi cuddle monsters! Our group hasn't met for six months thanks to Covid-19! But MCM has hosted two cuddle zooms and one in-person, outdoor brunch. There has been some interest in trying to put together a small group cuddle as a trial balloon during this pandemic pandemonium. Mark Wideman and I will co-host this event for Sat. Nov. 14 @ 3-4pm. Our regular space, Rast Dance Studio, has sadly shut down after 14 years. The new owners at that location are The Rooted Space. Rentals are more pricey but we will adjust. The rate is now $50 an hour (used to be $30 an hour). And now we also must pay for setup and breakdown time. So punctuality is key. We will need to start at 3pm, with or without you. WHAT'S DIFFERENT FOR COVID CUDDLING? -- Maximum of 10 cuddlers instead of 20. -- Place cuddle blankets at least 6 feet apart. -- Wear facemasks during cuddle and all times. -- Study the CAREFUL CUDDLE MENU for position ideas. -- We are cuddling for 1 hour instead of 2 1/2 hours. AGENDA With only one hour of snuggle time, our agenda is short & sweet. 1. Try to arrive (wearing your mask) by 2:45pm so that we can start at 3pm. This allows times for you to sign in, set up cuddle space, get changed if needed, meet others. 2. Place your blankets & pillows on dance floor at least 6 feet apart. Mingle with other cuddlers. 3. We'll start with HELLO HUGS. Each man hugs another for 1 minute, the bell rings, switch to hug another till you've hugged most guys. Music plays. 4. The heart of the event will be Three 15-MINUTE CUDDLES with different partners. Take responsibility to get your touch needs met and ask guys to cuddle with you. If there is agreement, go for it. Try to pick partners not based on superficial looks but energy and chemistry connections. We will wrap up at 3:55. NEW VENUE OWNERS As noted, The Rooted Space is the new name for the dance space we cuddle in. Choreographer Stefany Cotton will be onhand during our event so be sure to say hi. She will likely be in the small room just outside the space. THE BASICS If you're new to MEN CUDDLING MEN or therapeutic cuddling -- our touch is non-sexual, nurturing, de-stressing, communal. Clothes stay on. Some guys like to talk while cuddling, some less so. Please negotiate touch. SPEAK UP if something is not comfortable and you want to change it. SPEAK OUT to ask for the kind of platonic, safe touch you desire. (As we get closer, I will send out the CAREFUL CUDDLE MENU and cuddle guidelines, along with building entry procedures.) YOUR ACTION REQUIRED In order to guarantee your spot for this special 10-man cuddle group, RSVP ASAP. When you do so, Meetup/WePay will charge your card $10 if you've set it up. We hope to see you soon. Let us know if you have suggestions or questions. Cuddle on! Things will get better. We will get through this and become stronger as a result. Dwight & Mark

WHEN CUDDLERS BECOME A COUPLE... (A cuddle blog, not an event)

Men Cuddling Men is passionate about providing a safe space for those who identify as male to cuddle with other men. Touch is therapeutic, nurturing, and lots of fun. Every once in a while two members meet, click, and start dating. Mark Elsesser and Randy Rozler are two such members. RANDY: I came to my 1st cuddle in January 2019. I had been in a loving relationship for 25 years when my partner David passed away. I spent the next 7 years alone without any physical contact at all. When I felt I was ready to start dating I sought out a non-sexual outlet that would allow me a safe and encouraging atmosphere in which to test the waters. I found Men Cuddling Men on a Meet Up search and decided to take the plunge. I met Mark at my 2nd cuddle. I was in the changing room alone when Mark walked in. I immediately took notice of his tall height, age close to mine and his handsomeness. We exchanged some quick pleasantries and I said I looked forward to cuddling with him. The hug did not disappoint. We fit like a glove and we both agreed that we wanted to commit to a 20-minute hug together. MARK: In midwinter 2018, I fully "came out" to my wife of almost 28 years -- but more importantly -- the previous November I broke down and genuinely surrendered to my true orientation, admitting that I had been living a lie to please everyone else. Hard reality: I was pleasing no one and I was dying deep inside. I had not been touched by another human being in at least 20 years. My first internet search led me right to Men Cuddling Men. I attended every scheduled cuddle I could for the rest of 2018 and then missed a couple of Winter[masked] ones. Then on March 30, 2019 I returned and met Randy, who had been at one cuddle already in January. RANDY: Laying down with Mark and holding and cuddling him was wonderful and felt oh so good. We talked openly, honestly and humorously with each other. We both joined the group who went out for Thai food after the cuddle session. Even though we ended up at opposite ends of the table I felt a connection between us. On the walk back to our cars I asked if he would like to exchange numbers. He said yes. We made a date for coffee the following week. MARK: I remember that first time coming to MCM, I drove without fear into Chicago from the suburbs and eagerly walked into the cuddle room. I did not hesitate. It was a wonderful feeling to know that probably every other man in the room was gay. A feeling of belonging that I had never felt before. And the experience was life-changing! I'll never forget the first physical contact. Years of pent-up deprivation MELTED AWAY. My breathing changed. Muscles relaxed. Something "naturally chemical" coursed through my brain. The feeling of connection was awesome. (I am not exaggerating.) I was at peace -- even with a complete stranger. Though Randy and I take care of each other's cuddle needs these days, it does not preclude us from joining in on future cuddles. We've talked about giving back. RANDY: Since that cuddle on March 30, 2019 we have been a committed couple and consider that date our anniversary. Mark and I are living together in the Jefferson Park neighborhood and we are genuinely enjoying creating our home together. We share many common interests including music, architecture, nostalgia, new adventures and enjoying life. At this time of our lives we are enjoying being an out gay couple and love to walk hand and hand and hug and kiss in public as much as possible. Mark and I will always be grateful to Dwight and Men Cuddling Men for bringing us together! MARK: For me, the best part of a romantic relationship is knowing without a doubt that another man loves me just as I am; that someone is waiting for me to arrive home; and especially that I can unashamedly and deeply express my love for him emotionally, physically, verbally, and sexually with my real self.

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