I want to share a bit more about my experience with finding platonic “cuddle buddies” online, as it’s relatively unusual and there isn’t a lot written about it online. It’s new and uncharted territory, so there aren’t many guidelines about how to proceed. Firstly I want to share my personal experiences, then I want to give tips to others who would be interested in platonic cuddling.
At first I decided that I only wanted to cuddle with women, as I was a bit wary of creepy men who might be looking for sex. However, now that I have a bit more experience with platonic cuddling, I would be willing to try it with a guy I trust – though I’m not sure I would do it on a very regular basis. If I met a guy for cuddles, I would probably bring my current cuddle buddy with me and only cuddle with all three of us together. I would also probably also feel more comfortable with gay guys than heterosexual men, though I would take it on a case-by-case basis.
The first person I met was a woman who contacted me through the “Cuddle Buddies” forum on Reddit. I had posted an ad sharing more about myself, so she sent me a message and told me a bit more about herself. Eventually we arranged to meet for dinner first, as I didn’t want to cuddle a stranger straight away!
I was super nervous about it, partly because it felt so vulnerable to put myself out there as someone seeking physical affection. It seemed a little desperate, as if I were openly declaring, “I’m really lonely and touch hungry!” When I thought about it beforehand, it seemed like this was a giant elephant in the room – but it turned out not to be nearly as awkward as I imagined. For some reason in our culture it’s much more acceptable to do online dating and openly talk about seeking romantic love and/or sex, but seeking friendship and platonic touch is a lot more taboo.
The first meeting went relatively well, so I decided to go to their place to watch a movie and cuddle together. I had made it clear that I’m pretty sensitive about what movies I watch, so I explained that I preferred children’s movies. We ended up watching two movies and cuddling for about six hours, as I really enjoyed it! However, the first couple of weeks were quite a shock to my system, as I had never had this much touch in my whole life (since I’ve never been in a romantic relationship) and it was a bit confronting. I also had fears that my cuddle buddy might be romantically interested in me, so we had to have a big conversation about this to allay my fears and clear up misunderstandings.
Now things are going really well and we catch up regularly for cuddles, as we have developed a strong friendship. It’s been very rewarding and I’m really glad I took a risk to give it a try! Having such a positive first experience has also helped me to stay open to meeting new cuddle buddies. I have had other experiences with cuddle buddies which didn’t last very long, but I’m glad that I gave it a go even though it didn’t work out in the end. Due to the intimate nature of physical affection and cuddling, I think that the two people involved need to feel very comfortable with one another, have a high level of trust, and a good connection, otherwise it tends not to work so well.
One thing that can also be confronting when you first try platonic cuddling is feelings of sexual arousal and/or attraction. My cuddle buddy and I both experienced feelings of arousal at first, even though we were just cuddling together on the couch, watching a movie with our clothes on. We weren’t doing anything romantic or sexual in nature – it’s just that both of us had gone without affectionate touch for so long, we weren’t used to it. Also, in our culture most people are conditioned to associate cuddling with romantic or sexual relationships. Thankfully, after cuddling together several times, the arousal reduced dramatically and I could relax and enjoy the experience much more.
I found this post from Your Other Brothers quite helpful – and this section particularly confirmed my own experience:
“So, I kept going. I kept hugging and cuddling and being affectionate. The more I cuddled, the more I hugged, the more time I spent in physical contact with my friends, the less frequently I got a boner. And when I did get hard, it wouldn’t last as long.
Sure, that first night of cuddling was a wood-fest for me, but by the third or fourth time we cuddled, my boner lasted only a short time. The first few months of hugging my friends more made me want to keep my pelvis a safe distance away. But after a year or so, I could do a full-frontal, belt-to-belt hug and hold it there indefinitely without any worries of my penis acting up or my friend pushing me away.”
Here are some tips for anyone who is considering trying platonic cuddling:
Tip 1: It’s generally a smart idea to meet the person in a public place a few times before arranging a time to get together and have some cuddles. You could even bring a friend if that helps you to feel safer – or at least let someone know when and where you will be meeting them. It’s an important precaution so you can get a feel for the individual and see whether you would feel comfortable. I advise that people go with their gut feeling on this one.
Tip 2: Communicate openly about what you like and don’t like, and what you are/are not comfortable with. At the start it’s often good to ask for permission before you do anything, though over time it’s likely that you will both get to know what the other person prefers and it won’t be necessary to ask all the time.
Tip 3: In order to prevent things getting sexual, it’s generally best to cuddle with clothes on, avoid discussing sexual things while cuddling, and don’t watch movies with strong sexual themes. Also, it’s wise not to cuddle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Tip 4: I prefer to communicate my physical boundaries before I meet the person, as this helps to clarify my intentions and weed out people looking for a romantic date. Generally my boundaries are no touching of the breasts, genitals, and bottom – and no kissing on the lips. Of course, I understand that when hugging or cuddling, people are going to touch my chest incidentally, but what I mean is no intentional fondling and so forth.
Tip 5: If you don’t know the person, it often helps to start by watching some movies together (either at the cinema or at one of your homes) as it gives you both something to focus on and makes it a bit less awkward. Over time this may become less necessary – I often just like to relax and listen to music with my cuddle buddy.
Tip 6: Think about what you will do if things don’t work out well and you don’t want to continue being cuddle buddies. It’s important to have strong boundaries and to be able to say no if you don’t want to continue. One approach is just to tell the person at the outset that you’re not sure if you want to do it regularly, but you would like to try having a one-off cuddle session and just see how it goes.
Tip 7: Remember that some feelings of arousal and/or attraction are perfectly normal, especially if you have gone a long time with very little physical touch. I would advise you find an open-minded and accepting close friend, mentor or therapist to help you talk through your experiences and process your feelings.
Tip 8: If possible, it’s usually best to have more than one cuddle buddy, to reduce feelings of exclusivity in the relationship and to avoid becoming overly dependent on one person. Platonic cuddle buddies are by nature a low-commitment relationship, so it’s a good idea to have other people to turn to in case your cuddle buddy moves away, suddenly becomes very busy, or doesn’t want to continue cuddling for any reason.
Tip 9: If you have an Anxious-Preoccupied attachment style and you haven’t had much touch for quite a while, you may find that starting a cuddle buddy relationship triggers more feelings of anxiety and touch hunger at first. This was my experience, and it can be difficult if your cuddle buddy doesn’t need as much touch or regular contact as you do. Again, it’s a good idea to have a trusted friend, mentor or therapist to confide in and process these feelings.
Tip 10: It’s best to try to find someone with similar needs – because if you want to meet twice a week and they only want to see you every month or two (or vice versa), it could be challenging. It may still be workable, but it’s not as easy or enjoyable as when the desired frequency of contact is mutual and reciprocal. Thankfully my first cuddle buddy was in the same boat as me, as we both wanted to meet up fairly often. Also, it could be difficult if you have conflicting schedules, so it works better if you both tend to be free on the same days and times of the week.
Tip 11: If you want to keep things purely platonic, it’s probably easier to choose someone you wouldn’t naturally be attracted to. That’s not to say it’s impossible if you cuddle someone of the gender you are attracted to, but there will be more built-in frustration and you will have to be more careful about boundaries. So if you’re a heterosexual woman, it may be simpler to only cuddle with other women or gay men. If you’re a gay guy, it may be worth considering cuddling with a female or straight male friend.
Tip 12: Be patient when looking for a cuddle buddy, whether you’re searching online or through your existing friendship networks. It actually took me ten months to find my current cuddle buddy, but it was well worth the wait! Many people find one or more cuddles buddies more quickly, though it will probably vary depending on the size of the town/city you live in and how specific your preferences are (e.g. I was only willing to cuddle women at first, which limited my options quite a lot).
Further Links and Resources:
Where to find local cuddle buddies: