I have been hosting Cuddle Up! events in Austin since February 2016. These events bring a group of people together for a consent, boundaries, and empowerment workshop followed by a guided, freestyle cuddling session.
“I learned you can say ‘no’ to someone for no reason, you don’t owe anyone anything” – Sara Elizabeth Brown
I strongly believe the longer and more frequently you expose yourself to something, the less painful or scary it is. This is my view on rejection and other uncomfortable situations. What makes them uncomfortable is that we don’t know how to deal with them and we take them to mean something personal about ourselves. Any rejection we experience is a personal failure. This is almost never true of rejection at a cuddling event.
I sat down with varsity cuddler Sara Elizabeth Brown, who has attended more than 100 cuddling events. Here’s what she had to say about the cuddle party atmosphere: “It can feel like a popularity contest sometimes but there might be real reasons why someone might not feel comfortable with you.” You cannot know the reasons someone has for rejecting you. And at Cuddle Up! no one can ask you “why” you rejected them, its part of the experience and makes saying “no” easier.
- how to say and feel comfortable saying “no” to what you don’t want
- empowering yourself to ask for what you want
- how to approach and talk to strangers
- how to feel comfortable around people you don’t know
- how to be fearless and brave
- feeling more comfortable with rejection
- dealing with uncomfortable situations
- how to effectively give consent
- understanding what consent is and what it sounds like
- the difference between “no”, “yes”, and “maybe”, and why you should always say “no” if you’re a “maybe”
- getting used and respecting “no”
- how to respect the boundaries of others
Men and women experience this event differently depending on their past experience. Many women who come into this space struggle with saying “no.” They often feel the need to accommodate especially their lovers or partners.
You may come here and feel compelled to say “yes” to someone who asks you to cuddle maybe you feel bad for them or just want to be nice. You must say “no.” This is so important. At this event you will learn to put your needs and wants first. Your needs are important and just as important as someone else’s.
Sara comments on the experience for men at cuddle events, “I feel like there’s a lot of learning and growth for particularly women in that environment and men too its just different. Men have to give up their entitlement… a lot of men get in touch with how great it is just to hold someone and not have take it to a sexual place, a lot of times they’re really trained through the culture to get their touch needs through sex.”
What actually happens at Faye Fearless’s Cuddle Up! events:
- workshop on consent, boundaries, and how to empower yourself to say “no”
- cuddle positions 101, yes there are different ways to cuddle!
- freestyle cuddling session, cuddlers move around freely, cuddle with whom they choose for however long they like (multiple partners encouraged)
- cuddling, massage, hair petting, and hugs
Cuddle Up! events are fully clothed, non-sexual events. Cuddle Up! is for everyone, all ages, all professions, all backgrounds, all relationships! I’ve had married couples attend together or one member of a couple come alone. I’ve had groups of friends, poly people, singles, asexuals, and kinksters. This is an inclusive and welcoming space.
If you don’t feel comfortable in a co-ed space I also host women’s only events (anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.)
“What actually happens after all that boundary stuff, what actually happens at cuddle parties normally, is it becomes this blissful, oxytocin filed, mellow event, where people just meld into each other and they get very high from this oxytocin high. It is a high. Your body releases this love hormone.”
Live your life having only what you want ever, and know you can change your mind at any time, just because you start something doesn’t mean you have to finish it.
Come for a hug and a cuddle, and leave with an empowered sense of self.
You are in full control of your life, you just need to take charge and tap in to your power.
You will learn to recognize your needs and wants and you will leave feeling more comfortable, more brave, and more loved.