A Plymouth, Pennsylvania men's group is introducing an all-mens' "cuddling event" in order to help men redefine mascuilinity in their own lives, and to cope wth past sexual abuse, according to local news.
The "Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group" as it's known on Meetup.com, wants to help all men — regardless of past experience with sexual abuse — and aims “to provide a safe, structured, and platonic environment for men to experience ‘the three As’: Acceptance, Affirmation and Affection.”
The next session is April 3, and there's still room to sign up.
All participants must be over 18 years of age and come to the event fully clothed, according to the event invitation. Men must be "hygienically sound" and be present promptly at 7p.m. They are also required to ask everyone else in the group for verbal consent before engaging in any actual touching or cuddling.
"We establish 'safe touch' boundries [sic], and only allow non-sexual cuddling," according to the event's Meetup.com age. "Men may want to cuddle for many reasons, including to help heal past sexual abuse. If touch boundaries are not honored by all men, it can be damaging to the emotional or psychological health of other men."
The Blaze got even more details about the event.
Group organizers suggest holding your fellow man "motorcycle-style," which is described as the "holder," who "sits on a pillow on the floor with his back against a wall or sofa."
"The 2nd man; the one being held, sits in front of the holder facing forward so his back rests on the holder's chest, his head on the shoulder," the page adds. " The holder will embrace the man around the chest and, in time, may be asked for additional forms of affection such as hand holding, hair or beard stroking, back rubbing, hand massages, etc."
Other options reportedly include "spooning," and the "cuddle train."
A quick Google search shows that Pennsyvlania isn't the only state where men's-only cuddling is coming into fashion. Groups like "Cuddling Men NYC" and "Men Cuddling Men" in Chicago, Illinois, offer the same services, and organize men-only cuddling events with regularity in both major cities. There are even "cuddle party facilitators," according to a Meetup.com listing, who will help you organize your own "cuddle party."
The group in Pennsylvania lists, among its aims, to take on "toxic mascuilinity."
"So often, we’re taught that to be an emotional stoic is the mark of manhood,” the group's cofounder told Philly.com. “If you show any emotional weakness or vulnerability, that’s a failure to your title of a man.”
"If we expect men to be emotionally sensitive to the needs of others, they first need to be able to build an emotional vocabulary,” he continued.
They do caution that cuddling is just one tool in the emotional stability "toolbox."
Although the concept seems strange, the men quoted by Philly.com say the cuddling has helped them get in touch with their emotions and better cope with psychological stress in a healthy way.