What you do during a 'virtual cuddle'

I want to write a guide to virtual cuddling so I can post it and direct people to it in the future. It keeps coming up as a question. For those of you who offer video sessions, what do you do? What kind of exercises and activities are the most valuable?

I've posted a "what should we call" this thread on the General board, but I'm posting this here in order to communicate with the people who actually do this, and try and avoid some of the comments from the negative vibe merchants.

Thank you.


  • edited July 2021

    This post is a work in progress, as I find stuff and drop it in here. Will tidy it up in due course.


    Talking can be an important part of it, but you are not just sitting there having a chat.

    One of the exercises I found good was pretending to hug. We both stand and wrap our arms around ourselves. Shut your eyes and pretend you are hugging the other person. If you keep your eyes open, look at each other and smile as you hug yourself imaginging it's the other person, that's good too. This is obviously much more effective if it somebody you have hugged in person. Talking quietly is very helpful at this moment because it helps you feel the presence of the other person. You could talk about good hugs of the past, or just say the things you might normally say in that situation. Or turn the computer volume up and listen to their breathing. I haven't used headphones but you probably should. After a few moments you can just dissolve into silence and feel the hug as best you can. A cushion or cuddly toy might be helpful for some people, although I haven't used them.

    Doing breathing exercises together can be good. Any standard de-stressing exercises. Also self-massage, just do it together to create a sense of togetherness. Simply talking about what you are doing is surprisingly effective.

    Could you do all this with a friend? Well, yes of course you could, but this is nothing like a chat with a friend. It is a cuddle session, approached in the same way as any other cuddle session, with parallel expectations and behaviours. A virtual cuddle is much more like a real cuddle than it is like an online chat with a friend.

    A virtual cuddle is not as good as a phsyical cuddle. But it absolutely, truly does exist and does evoke some of the same feelings as a real cuddle. I strongly recommend that you try a virtual cuddle. Choose your professional carefully, and make sure they have at least a little experience of doing this. Half an hour might be enough for a first session, it was for me. There's no harm in trying - you are gaining a new experience, and the worst thing that can happen is nothing. Is it all as good as a real cuddle? No, of course not. It is much better than nothing? Oh, yes. In other words it doesn't really matter. What you are trying to do is create a sense of peace, intimacy, togetherness and care, just like a physical cuddle.

    What we did was various self-massage (head and neck) and breathing exercises together. At her suggestion I shut my eyes and pressed my palm with my other thumb as if she was doing it. (It's a thing she does.) The part I found best was hugging myself while she did the same, and then gently swaying together as if we were actually hugging. The swaying together was my idea and didn't work all that well due to the time delay, but still ....

    Overall it was a surprisingly beneficial experience. It worked, it really did.

    It varies enormously from person to person. I have found that, even though you might be doing something to yourself (stroking, massage, hugging) the presence of the other person makes a huge difference. You can hear their voice, you can see them and they are probably doing the same thing as you. They are very present, and that turns out to be a Thing.

    If you don't believe that their presence makes a difference to how you will feel, consider this. Dealing with an intimate itch in private is one thing: dealing with it if there is somebody looking at you is quite another.

    To me, intimacy means creating a safe space. Not just physically, not always romantically, but safe to be ourselves. When I chat with these people, it immediately establishes that safe aspect of intimacy. I may miss out on the physical. I don't pretend/fantasize, but I will remember back to the last time I worked with a pro-cuddler. Then, in addition to the safety of the conversation, I do feel myself relax into that same physical posture or state-of-being.
    So, I think that depending on the needs of the person, be it physical contact, or the emotional/relational/mental bonding, with virtual cuddling your mileage-may-vary.

    I've done different things like do a guided meditation together; close our eyes, imagine cuddling and describe the energy and feelings we have about it; get super cozy and hug pillows; watch a synced netflix show together.

    I 'lead' the session almost like you would for an exercise class, so that they can focus on their own relaxation,

    This could look like me guiding us in a meditation for stress relief or letting go of fear, focused breathwork (using specific patterns of breathing and doing it simultaneously), eye gazing (yeah it’s totally possible to look into each other’s eyes virtually), and other connection practices.

    So absolutely. Virtual cuddling is a thing. Connection is the buzzword. Physical touch is just one of those modalities in cuddling. Emotional and mental connection is another. And often the first stage before one ever gets to physical touching someone

    Virtual cuddle has become an important part of my cuddle routine in the past few months. I have personally done the eye gazing and cleansing breath work with fellow enthusiasts

    cuddling is (as far as I have seen and practiced) about 50% physical and 50% emotional intimacy.

    A few cuddlers have implemented eye gazing, asmr, guided self touch, etc, to make virtual sessions have more therapeutic value. I personally have stopped offering virtual sessions due to low demand, too many inappropriate requests and not feeling as in my element as I do with in person sessions.

    First use of the term on this site:
    "Anyone on here who also loves cuddling virtually? Not as good as the real thing but it's still comforting."
    December 2016

  • I am so confused... 🤔

    Seems like finding a common ground for what one means by a, "virtual cuddle" may be impossible because they are as different and individualized as the ones offering them. Much like how in person cuddle sessions are advertised ~ There are many similarities in their services/styles but many differences too. And yet they're all considered "cuddles".

    I wonder though... Does there really need to be a canned response to the question? People have inquired a number of times about what one is... With things always evolving, and different people engaging in conversations, isn't it nice to have an array of answers? Because, again, it's not the same for everyone.

    Anyway, I don't quite understand the drive to write a guide, or to put these practices into a well defined box... But I think you could potentially satisfy the need by saying something like...

    The giving and receiving of Virtual Cuddles has evolved over time, from written letters and phone calls, to now being shared through one-on-one video calls online, through platforms like Skpe or Zoom.

    Physical touch is just one modality for cuddling, emotional and mental connections others. Additionally, much like a physical cuddle, there are a variety of things that may take place during a virtual cuddle session and, depending on the participants, may vary greatly.

    There are some who offer virtual cuddle sessions that are therapeutic in nature, where a variety of relaxation and grounding techniques may be used (eye gazing, ASMR, guided self-touch, focused breathwork, tapping, meditation, yoga, energy exploration, etc.) all to increase one's sense of well-being. While other connection practices might include playing instruments, singing together, games, watching a movie, reading aloud, chatting, etc.

    Finding what one is searching for may take time. As one explores cuddling (virtual and physical) it is advised they be open minded, curious and patient. To take time reading profiles, in asking questions, and searching the forums for more information. No matter the type of cuddle (virtual or physical) there are similarities between them. Like the hope of creating a meaningful human connection though care, trust and emotional intimacy.

    May we all find what we're here for.

    Just my $0.73 idea...

  • edited August 2021

    Thank you @quixotic_life that's really helpful. I haven't had time to come back to this, and I'm not going to do it today, but I do intend to finish this little project.

    My previous post isn't meant to be not confusing, it's really just my notes. At the time I intended to come back later in the day but for some reason I didn't. Now it's a just a shambles of thoughts and quotes, and largely meaningless as it stands.

    To answer your question as to why, I think there are a number of reasons.

    Firstly, I do want a 'canned response' for people who ask. The meaning of every word or phrase has such a response, which are listed in a dictionary. We don't have a dictionary definition of virtual cuddle, and I want to create one. Like all dictionary definitions, it will evolve ... probably quite quickly.

    Secondly, I do want to create a guide. Lots of people have asked about this, and don't really know where to start. A handy compendium of tips and common practices is only going to help them. This means there can be more virtual cuddles in the world, which is a good thing. A good guide does not limit you, it opens your mind to new possibilities.

    Thirdly, there are a surprisingly number of people who are very keen to smash down virtual cuddling and stop it before it starts. I do not want them to succeed. Their first line of attack is usually that it doesn't exist. It's much harder to claim that something doesn't exist if you can show a guide on how to do it.

    Fourthly, more and more professionals are offering virtual cuddles as part of their service. Hooray. But we need some agreement on what that is likely to mean. If two cuddlers are both offering a virtual cuddle, then there has to be some kind of similarity in what they are doing. At the moment we can't even talk about that because there is no common reference point.

    Fifthly - and I'm pretty sure you've gathered that I'm waaaayyyyy beyond answering your question here! - I want cuddling to become a mature industry. To do this, it needs a vocabulary. We need a cuddling dictionary that can be handed in to a regulator with the application for some kind of protected status.

    We have a very well defined box for physical cuddling, and I don't see why we shouldn't have one for the virtual kind. Just because a box is well defined doesn't mean it isn't infinitely variable in a myriad of ways.

    More random thoughts .....

    If you're not explicitly trying to evoke some of the responses of a physical cuddle, it's not a virtual cuddle.

    In the middle of a long compansionship call, you could pause whatever you are doing and have a virtual cuddle. You might then go back to the original activity, but you would feel different.

  • @CuddleDuncan I love this. That was one of the videos that I most liked when first doing my own research on virtual cuddles.
    I agree we should have guidelines, especially on a site dedicated to cuddles. I know I spent a good amount of time researching and trying to come up with my own style before offering it as a service. This could be a great tool to help others get started. Guidelines aren’t rule books; everyone can adapt it to fit their unique style and comfort just like we do with in-person cuddles.

  • I'm glad I found this thread. Someone asked if I do virtual cuddles & I declined b/c I thought they wanted a web cam show...I wasn't sure how a virtual cuddle session would work & assumed they were seeking something sexual.
    I appreciate the education, perhaps I'll open myself up to doing virtuals in the future!

  • [Deleted User]RainsCuddle (deleted user)

    I once videochat with 2 of my friends on discord. I did a story time, it was a first for me and with my french accent I was a bit nervous honestly to read out loud in english.
    But it went well and they ask for more after the 1st story was done.
    I endend up reading for almost an hour and by the end they both felt deep asleep 😴
    I reach out to them afterwards to make sure they didn't felt asleep out of boredom Lmao! 😆
    They told me they really enjoy it and my voice was soothing to them, so we end up doing it a few other time afterwards.
    So if you're looking for something to do during a virtual session, reading might be an interesting option 🤗🤍

  • edited September 2022

    I've attended many Virtual Cuddle Parties and have learned alot. Here's some tips I created to help simulate touch through a videoconferenced connection:

    Practices that Mimic Touch via Videoconferencing

    The Giver is the person providing the touch and is attentive to the instructions voiced by the Receiver. They may ask questions to clarify what is wanted. The Receiver makes the request, leads the interaction, describes what they want, keeps the Giver informed of the effect on them and requests changes as they arise.
    All practices involve communicating verbally. The more detail the better. This can involve: Descriptions of the touch requested (e.g. pressure, speed and type of movement, position on the body); Sensations in the Giver and/or Receiver (physical sensations, sound, visual experiences, thoughts and emotions in the person describing them); Expressions of satisfaction (e.g. Aaaaahhh, Ooooh!, Mmmmm!); Dis-satisfaction (e.g. Mm..., Ah..., Uh...); Appreciation (e.g. This is great! Thanks!); Need for change (e.g. I need you to ...., I’m done now, thanks!); Offers (e.g. Would you like me to continue? Would you like something else?) and Requests for more (Please continue, that’s great!).

    1. Imagined touch: The Giver imagines touching the Receiver by placing their hands in front of themselves as if the Receiver were there. Eyes can be open or closed. The Receiver can either touch themselves as they described to the Giver or imagine the touch being received with closed eyes.
    2. Self touch: The Giver imagines touching the Receiver by touching themselves as if their body were the Receiver’s. Eyes can be open or closed. The Receiver can either touch themselves as they described to the Giver or imagine the touch being received with closed eyes.
    3. Using a Surrogate: The Giver imagines touching the Receiver by touching a surrogate (e.g. Stuffed toy or pillow) as if it were the Receiver. Eyes can be open or closed. The Receiver can either touch themselves as they described to the Giver or imagine the touch being received with closed eyes. In some cases (e.g. a hug) both partners can use a surrogate.
    4. Mirroring: The Receiver touches themselves as they would like to be touched. The Giver(s) follow the Receiver’s lead. Eyes stay open in both partners.

    PS: Co-created consent is an essential foundation to these practices (see: https:// cuddleparty.com/ or www.creatingconsentculture.com)

    I hope this helps,

    I like Betty Martin's 3-minute game to provide a safe healthy framework (see: https://bettymartin.org/how-to-play-the-3-minute-game/)

  • This is excellent @HealingPartner, thank you. I have done a number of these exercises and I can attest to their effectiveness.

  • Great! If you know of any men who are interested in exploring these practices or Harry Faddis' original version of the 3 minute game with me, please let me know. Even though I'm straight, I feel safest with men. I have a rather challenging childhood trauma history. I think it is deeply healing for us men to become less dependent on women for our emotional and physical nurturing needs. Practices like the 3 minute game among men can help in my experience. @CuddleDuncan

  • No virtually cuddling is a thing! Now I wouldnt say it is in low demand, you just have to make the person feel comfortable enough to want to video you intimately! What I like to do is put a shared background noise from YouTube. Something like waterfalls & rainshowers& Netflix shows. Something we can both share at the same time. Breathing exercises help. Also going over someone's or eachothers goal planning together is a great tool to virtually cuddling. Then you both can engage and offer advice. List making is also important. I try to be there for that person as much as I can.

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