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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
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.