At the end of a Cuddle Party

Cuddle party in the Kootenays

Castlegar resident Erica Scott is planning two cuddle parties for the Kootenay area.

Cuddle Party has come to the the Kootenays.

Castlegar resident Erica Scott is training to be a Cuddle Party facilitator, and has two upcoming cuddle parties in the area. The first will be in Nelson at the Health Collective on September 26, and the second will be in Castlegar on October 17.

A cuddle party is in some ways exactly what it sounds like. A group of people get together to cuddle each other. But before the cuddling comes the workshop and the laying out of ground rules.

“It’s very important that everyone involved be part of the welcome circle,” says Scott. “So what we do is, we open the doors half an hour before it starts, but when it starts we shut the doors and we lock them, so that no one new comes in without being part of the welcome circle.”

The welcome circle gives participants a chance to get to know each other, and it’s where the facilitator—in this case, Scott—leads consent and communication exercises like “practicing saying no, practicing hearing no, practicing asking for what you want and how to do that, and verbal consent, what that looks like and what it doesn’t look like.”

Scott will also go through the rules.

Cuddle parties are non-sexual events, and many of the rules reinforce that idea.

“The general idea is if it’s something you wouldn’t do beside an eight year old, then don’t do it,” says Scott.

The first rule is that pajamas—which participants are encouraged to wear—stay on. Pajamas should be cozy, not lacy or sexy.

Another rule is that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

“If you decide tat you don’t want to be a part of it at all, but you want to stay, you can sit and watch, you can write in your journal, you can read a book, [or] you can sketch,” says Scott.

During and after the welcome circle participants still have the chance to decide whether or not Cuddle Party is for them. If it’s not, they can leave and get a full refund.

Cuddle parties last for three and a half hours, and at the end everyone is invited to join a puppy pile.

A lot of the media coverage around Cuddle Party emphasizes the benefits of human touch. Among other things, people who are deprived human touch don’t live as long.

But Cuddle Party also provides an opportunity to learn about consent and communication in a safe space.

“Some people come to Cuddle Party just to practice saying no, because they’ve never been able to do that before, or they struggle with it in their daily lives and they just want to practice,” says Scott.

Participants are also encouraged to change their mind, and are taught ways to express that.

“If you say yes to something, and five seconds later you decide it’s no, then you are encouraged to be authentic in that moment, and change your mind,” says Scott. “And we encourage people to take that experience out into the world.”

Scott works as an electrician, but she’s been looking for something else.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to integrate how I feel inside with how I make a living and how I am in the world,” she says.

Scott started her training at a workshop in Chicago, but to complete her certification she needs to host three review parties, each with a minimum of eight participants who will give feedback on her performance as a facilitator.

She hopes that the parties in Nelson and Castlegar will have enough participants to count as her first two review parties.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Powerful thunderstorms called for the West Kootenay this weekend

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday afternoon.

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Update: Deceased suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing only in town two weeks

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read