Psychological effects of cuddling?

edited December 2017 in General

Hey, guys. I was wondering something and was wanting to ask what y'all thought of this.

FIRST OF ALL - I am NOT trying to knock this community. You guys are AWESOME. :) But I have a worry that has come up about it.

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Basically, I am a person who VERY STRONGLY values monogamy. I have used this service 3 times to fill the intimacy gap in my life while I am at school studying, as I have never been in a relationship before.

However, I am wondering, based on some other people's (outside of here) opinions that I heard, that there might be concerns about cuddling with people whom I do not share an emotional connection with. I know that there is the stereotype of the man or woman who has sex with so many people that they lose their ability to form an emotional bond with others.

I know that the first professional that I hired, I developed a connection to for a while and I really missed her. The subsequent two, not so much. I'm wondering if that might be the result of what I am talking about.

NOTE: I understand that this service is undoubtedly helpful for people who experience trauma, hardships, or extreme factors (like disabilities) that prevent them from getting intimacy. I also understand that different people might have different susceptibility to the emotional issues that I have described. But I am concerned about the effects that this might have had/have on someone like me who uses it as a substitute for intimacy.

Is this a legitimate concern or am I just being paranoid? I understand that I could be dead wrong about this, so please enlighten me if I am.

Comments

  • Interesting - I have several health related things happening to me along with a tough divorce. I am in similar boat dude it will be interesting as to see where things go. If you have a connection with some where would then eventually turn into a thing? Would it not surely turn into a relationship? I was excited tonight about seeing someone but she a conflict all good.

    You certainly bring up some good questions and if you do have happen to fall for person I think it's really more of who that person see's you and get's to know you man. I am trying to all kinds of sites. I started with Zoosk and wow I met alot of reallly tough women that were lets just say in a bad state. It was not what I was used to at all. I am learning about all this over again. It takes alot of time to really get to know someone. I think this is why I want to try this out to see what it's like. I tend fall pretty head over heels fast and I am trying to learn how to manage this ...Being alone just plain sucks and takes some getting used to buddy. Hope all is well and keep us posted. I am interested in learning more. Cheers

  • @humbledman_1968 I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through that, man. That's really rough. I mean, in a case like yours, I can see your need for human affection.

    I am using this because I am an extremely shy guy who has a difficult time breaking the ice with people in real life - I am wondering if this will cause me to develop a warped perception of intimacy.

  • edited December 2017

    @MichaelFJudd I have been cuddling for just about three years. I've cuddled with 5 different enthusiast (non-paid) cuddlers and more than 20 pros. I don't believe the number of platonic cuddle partners I've had impacts my ability to bond with a romantic partner. It's a different kind of bond. Your diminished "connection" to subsequent cuddle buddies may not reflect a diminished capacity to bond with people; rather, it may reflect the fact that you are better able to properly differentiate between a cuddle buddy and a love interest. That's all to the good.

    One of the reasons I gravitate toward pros is to avoid any possibility of emotional complications. A pro is providing a paid service. Does she make me feel appreciated? Valued? Loved? Yes. That's part of the service. Just don't confuse "she makes me feel loved" with "she loves me." It's easier to keep that straight with a pro. You only need to remind yourself that she is making twenty other guys feel equally special this month. It's her job. No matter how many confidences we share, no matter how much closeness we enjoy, my only "relationship" with a pro is that of vendor to client. I never get confused about that.

    The level of intimacy between me and the local pros I frequent is higher than it otherwise would be, because they know they can trust me not to fall in love, not to ask them out, not to get things twisted. This lets them totally relax and give me more satisfying sessions. We're both there for great cuddles, nothing more.

    @Humbledman_1968 To people who fear they will fall for someone as easily as tripping down the stairs, I would say stick with pros. It's easier to control your feelings by keeping them in a business context, and you can be sure the pro isn't going to fall for you either. With non-pros, it's too easy for one party or the other to get things out of whack. If something romantic develops, then it develops. But if you go in hoping for that romantic outcome in the back of your mind ... if you are trying CC with something more than cuddles as an ultimate goal... you're likely to be disappointed.

    Hope this helps.

  • Wow, asking me to say whether you are paranoid or not is pretty heavy. =) I think I'll sidestep my way around that one, and just address your concern.

    I don't think you connecting with the first cuddler, and not the second two, has anything to do with cuddle burnout, which is what I think you are describing. It is just that not everyone connects at the same level. I would have a difficult time in trying to cuddle with someone with whom I didn't share an emotional connection. However, it should be noted that I do relate to people very quickly.

    I don't believe being emotionally involved with multiple cuddle partners would be detrimental to a strict monogamous person, anymore than would be emotional connections with friends.

    Might I inquire as to the basis of your strong monogamous belief? If it is due to religious belief, may I ask which religion?

    <3 Jim

  • For me, the only psychological effect I can think of is the real lack of wanting a personal relationship at all. For the most part, I've always been in long term relationships. After I started cuddling full time I really felt the lack of desire to be in a personal relationship at all. I try to view that as a good thing in that I definitely feel independent and happy but sometimes I feel that cuddling may be so good at fulfilling my intimacy requirement that I don't need anything else. All I really know is I'm happy and that's enough for now.

  • [Deleted User]Sunflowerfield (deleted user)

    I've had four cuddle buddies and found I developed the strongest connection with the first one - the other three didn't last as long and I didn't feel as connected to them. However, it had more to do with the fact our personalities and interests were too different, and I didn't feel a strong connection to them - whereas with the first person, I did.

    However, I do think it's possible to get slightly more detached over time. I noticed this actually with cat fostering, because the first cat I fostered I got really bonded to, and cried when I couldn't keep it any more. The next two cats I didn't really feel the same way about - I was somewhat indifferent when they found new homes.

    Personally I wouldn't worry about it too much, as I think you will still be able to form a deep connection with a partner when you meet the right person. I suspect you are probably unconsciously reining in your emotions because you know these other cuddle buddy connections can't become a permanent or romantic relationship.

    Or maybe you just didn't click as well with the subsequent cuddle buddies - not every friendship can be equally close and rewarding, as it will depend on whether you have a lot in common and feel understood by them.

    You might also find it helpful to do some reading about attachment theory, as it may help you to understand the way you form bonds with people in more depth. You can read more about it here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201307/how-your-attachment-style-impacts-your-relationship

  • I've been fortunate to be able to have lots of cuddle partners. I am definitely attached to some more than others. I am a warm, fuzzy person and I naturally connect to other warm, fuzzy people. Some of my cuddle partners where experimenting with cuddling just to see what all the fuss was about because they saw it online. The cuddles were good but it is hard to form a bond with them because I knew I would probably never see them again.

    Others, use our sessions to get their monthly cuddle fix then walk out the door with an "I'll see you next month" mentality. Both of these cuddler types are fine. I don't judge why you choose to cuddle, I'm just glad you do.

    However, those cuddlers that scoop me into a big, warm embrace and tell me that they will miss me until next time before they leave are definitely the ones I attach to. I LOVE getting messages from them asking about my day or just to say hi. I think that I attach to the cuddlers that fill my inner needs. I have an inner need for warmth and laughter. I love to feel cared about and I love to care for others. I ultimately like to establish relationships with my cuddle partners that becomes friendships. Those cuddlers that are on the same page, I attach to.

  • I think this really comes down to the professional(s) you are working with. For me personally, I bring my heart to my sessions along with my physical presence, so I enjoy developing balanced, healthy emotional bonds with my clients. I feel like a guide-both learning and teaching about how to connect, how to share platonic love and intimacy. Maybe everyone does not put so much focus on this aspect of a session, but it is very important to me. I think finding the right pro for you and your needs is what will make the biggest positive impact for you. Sometimes this can take a little time and patience, but it will be so worth it when you find the right match.

  • [Deleted User]DeliMan (deleted user)

    @JRose I like your analogy of a guide. Both learning and teaching.

    I am sure that cuddling with a professional that has a thought pattern of that type would be excellent for all envolved.
    Dale

  • edited January 2018

    Anyone else feel free to add though as far as I know it's not particularly not being able to find a relationship (s). Though:

    • Some have no time to build such a relationship.
    • They have one though it's either not as fulfilling for them. Or they're poly.
    • They have no interest in long term and or all included relationship now or ever.
    • There are also people who are Asexual, Aromantic, Demisexual which can put them into a minority and can slow them down a bit.

    • I feel the need to say health factors, trauma, being a part of any form minority does not on their own prevent someone from getting such connections. However if one feels not able to handle (for whatever reasons) or they feel not ready it can slow them down.

    Everyone has challenges, no matter who they're. Though when one is a minority in anyway, they could possibly have more challenges along the way. Challenge doesn't mean defeated. :)

  • Thank you so much @deliman. This approach has felt most natural and authentic for me and it seems to be working very well for my amazing clients (& me as well). ♡

  • edited January 2018

    @JRose "I bring my heart to my sessions along with my physical presence, so I enjoy developing balanced, healthy emotional bonds with my clients. I feel like a guide-both learning and teaching about how to connect, how to share platonic love and intimacy."

    Emotional connections like that are exactly what I hope for in a cuddler. Within the safe bounds of the agreement to be platonic, it's awesome to have emotional as well as physical closeness with someone. Along with feeling valued and cared for, it's an over the top experience. :)

    I love the idea of learning together too. That reminded me of Samantha Hess saying "In our culture, the only experience someone has with this kind of touching has been in a romantic sense ... It's not always easy for people to switch their brains to simply being platonic about it."

  • edited January 2018

    All the advices above are actually great! :)

    I think first good connections one forms can usually be the hardest to break from; first crush, relationship, even friendship, etc. After first, one 'gets familiar with'. In addition one (hopefully) learns from their -first- experience(s).

    You would need to figure out your way(s) to not "fall" because falling can and often hurts.

    Though I can say what works for me and my tips. :)

    • Keep yourself in check. Be true about how you're feeling and keep yourself disciplined.
    • Stick to the agreement.

    • Ensure the lines between friendships and romantic/ relationships are clear. Some times we can be guilty of subconsciously desiring a relationship at the time though we pretend that it's platonic.

    Ask yourself:
    Why am I looking for cuddle buddies?
    * Do I find myself either asking or desiring things I would of a relationship from this person?

    Even if you catch yourself asking questions you wouldn't ask your friends or would specifically ask a date, it's time to take a step or two back. Examine why you feel this way and don't cross the boundaries.

    • Retrain your thoughts and emotions - if you feel the need for some space take it. Just have the courtesy to let them know you need some space. I think you would. :)

    • No matter how special they make you feel in the moment - that's the point, to ease and make one another feel loved without the commitment or leveling up anything.

    • I personally find value in having a few cuddle buddies. This can help ease and keep things more leveled.

    Personally, I am past the stage of "crushing". Unless I really connect with someone and go on dates with them. No dates, no deeper emotional and psychological connections with a person - means no feelings for me. That could just be me though. I don't fall just for looks, common interests or good friendships alone... or combined because there are many I find that with. And since I don't allow myself to ask questions related to forming romantic relationship, I know that I know so little of this person and that we're just friends/cuddle buddies. I also say no to a question if I don't want to answer or feel it's crossing line(s).

    Hope this and all helps :)

  • I think it's kind of awesome how different every person is and that's so apparent to me when I'm reading through these comments.

    I am a professional so I'm being paid to cuddle, which absolutely makes it a business relationship. However I put my heart and soul into everything I do. So when I talk to a client and ask questions or follow up, it isn't to get more money, it's because I genuinely care! That being said I know it's completely unprofessional and immoral to have a romantic relationship with a client and would never do that or encourage it.

    But all of that being said I leave every session wanting more than ever to build that bond with someone in my personal life. Good thing I have great cuddly friends ?

  • My experience of love is that it is an infinite resource. I believe that the more people you love, the more people you can love, and the better you get at loving people. Not all of these loves are romantic or sexual, in fact the vast majority of them are not, but each of them teaches me something about another person, the world around me, and myself. I value that learning and exploration, and find that it makes me more able to find a thing to love in new people that I meet.

    Love can and does flourish within boundaries. I have a deep love for each of my stepkids, who were young adults when I met them. I'll never have a sexual relationship with any of them, just like I'll never have a sexual relationship with any of my in-laws, or any of the professional mentors and teachers I've loved over the years. Those boundaries help to define the relationship, but they do not reduce the amount of love I feel for any of these people.

    I think the process of love works the opposite of what the original poster @MichaelFJudd fears. The idea that loving one person means you have less capacity to love other people in the future isn't the experience I've had in my life before I started cuddling (as a pro), and my experience with pro cuddling has only reinforced my belief that love is a skill that you build with practice and not a rare thing that becomes more special when it is shared with fewer people. Working with a professional cuddler can give you some support as you explore this for yourself.

    I created a little short video about this, if you're interested.
    In that video, I mention an essay i often point people to related to this issue: https://www.carsieblanton.com/blog/post/82149148832/casual-love (note: Carsie's essay speaks about casual sex - I don't think cuddling is the same as sex, but I think some of the principles apply in both situations.)

  • [Deleted User]snughugs (deleted user)

    I think every individual is different and thus for me being affectionate with one person does not diminish how much I value other people in my life. The wonderful thing about human beings is we all have different things to offer and no two people are exactly alike. I can't be desensitized to cuddling one person by cuddling another because it's completely different!

    I will say that as a bi person a lot of people challenge me when I say I'm monogamous. Personally I think it's entirely possible to have that potential range of attraction there without acting upon it. My relationship is in an odd place right now, which is why I'm touch starved, but I wouldn't value my partner any less if I did find a few close platonic friends to offset the loneliness.

  • [Deleted User]MoonlightSonata (deleted user)

    This is a really interesting discussion topic. I personally think it depends on the person. Some people are able to separate something like a hug or cuddle from anything romantic. Some people are not.

    It is important to be in touch with how you feel about this subject for sure. If it is something you feel is helping, it is worth pursuing. But if it is something you feel conflicted about or having trouble with in one sense or another, it might be good to talk to some people about how you feel.

    In any case it is a perfectly valid way to feel. It's always important to be in touch with your own feelings so you know your personal boundaries and what you want to overcome (or want to keep as boundaries).

  • [Deleted User]SweetPeaMN (deleted user)

    Wow, I really think this has great advice and from the flavor of the current posts it needs to be brought forward for the "new generation" of cuddlers.

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