A men’s only group from Plymouth, Pennsylvania, is launching the state’s first-ever ‘cuddling event’ for men to help redefine the social constructs of masculinity and to fight the sexual abuse faced by men.
The ‘Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group’ wants “to provide a safe, structured, and platonic environment for men to experience ‘the three As’: Acceptance, Affirmation and Affection.”
The group aims to provide support to all men, regardless of their past sexual abuse experience.
According to the invitation of the event, men should be at least 18 years of age to participate and should come in a fully dressed state.
Moreover, they must be present sharp at 7 pm in a “hygienically sound” condition.
Before engaging in cuddling or any other sort of touching, all participants are required to ask the other persons for their verbal consent.
“We establish ‘safe touch’ boundaries [sic], and only allow non-sexual cuddling. Men may want to cuddle for many reasons, including to help heal past sexual abuse,” the event organizers say on Meetup.com.
“If touch boundaries are not honored by all men, it can be damaging to the emotional or psychological health of other men,” they add.
The organizers suggest a “motorcycle-style” cuddling in which a person, described as the “holder,” would “sit 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 says.
“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.”
Besides motorcycle-style, other cuddling options include the “cuddle train” and ”spooning.”
Men’s Therapeutic Cuddle Group aims to address the “toxic masculinity” created by social norms.
In an interview with Philly.com, one of the group’s co-founders said: “So often, we’re taught that to be an emotional stoic is the mark of manhood.
“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 added how cuddling has enabled him and his fellows to handle their psychological stress in a healthy way and get in touch with their emotions.
Pennsylvania’s group isn’t the only cuddling group for men in the US.
‘Men Cuddling Men’ in Chicago and ‘Cuddling Men NYC’ in New York City are some other similar groups which organize men’s only cuddling events in their cities.
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