A reader writes…
You have two rules regarding sexuality…No dry humping, and no sex. The no dry humping is pretty obvious, but the no sex isn’t. Sex means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. How do you define it?
Great question, Shawn.
The quickie answer (pun intended!) is that the Cuddle Party definition of sex is any activity (snuggle, nuzzle, kiss, massage, spoon, etc.) that’s done from the intention of “getting somewhere,” as in, “gotta get to the next base.”
Now, I’m sure Bill Clinton and Kenneth Star wouldn’t define “sex” as that above, but let me explain. Cuddle Party events, specifically because they’re affectionate, non-sexual “happenings” create a unique situation where people can begin to see how they sexualize interactions with others. That’s not something we’re generally aware of or on the look out for.
The analogy is akin to someone who suspends eating for a while. Maybe they’re fasting for religious or health reasons, maybe they’ve got a medical procedure or test and the doctor’s orders are that they don’t eat for the next 24-hours. Whatever the reason, people who stop eating for a day or two or three become acutely aware of just how much they actually think about food and how their mind is constantly running this ongoing dialogue about “what’s next to eat?” Having fasted myself, I was amazed to discover how unaware I was of how much my mind’s routine revolved around food.
In the same way, at a Cuddle Party, many people become acutely aware of how often they’re sexualizing their encounters, interactions, their touch, and their affection. Never mind that you’re at a Cuddle Party and the person you’re snuggled up next to might be a stranger. In many interactions, people can find that they’re running some type of thought process aimed at assessing the sexual or romantic potential of the situation – “Are they interested in me?” “Are they not interested in me?” “Are they mistaking my snuggling to mean that I’m into them more than just platonically?” “Should I ask for their number after the Cuddle Party?” “If I don’t ask for their number (or give it to them), what will they think of me?” and the list goes on.
It’s easy to see how we can consider “dry humping” and more demonstrative, naked activities as sex, or at least attempts at sex. But the real question is, “Where’s the line?” When does an innocent full-body hug become sexual? Of course, buying a person a beer at your local bar might just be buying someone a beer, but when you really want their number and you buy them a beer? What was it then?
Now I’m not suggesting that buying someone a cocktail is sex, but when does an interaction become wooing? When does casual flirting become flirting with intent? In Cuddle Party terms, when does spooning become spooning with intent to hump?
Sex can be so many things, that to try to define what sex is and what sex isn’t is near impossible. But we can define what sexualizing something means, at least from the perspective of Cuddle Parties. Sexualizing is when you’re intention is to get to the next base, really. It’s that simple. Are you kissing him or her because you’re enjoying the feel of their lips, or are you testing the waters to see if you can get to Second Base? Are your arms wrapped around his or her waist and pulling them closer because you’re enjoying the feel of breathing in rhythm together or are you trying to see if they’ll grind their behind into your groin? Are you nuzzling into their embrace because it’s comforting and sweet, or are trying to arouse them to reassure yourself that you’ve “still got it?“
In other words, what are your intentions?