@HugsFromFei wrote an interesting article on the Cuddle Sanctuary blog about being a "skilled client" (summary here) - mainly about being aware of what you want/need and being free to express it.
How are you at asking for things when you cuddle? Or do you just cuddle and see what happens?
(Not just with professionals, but with anyone).
I have been with many Pros. All very sweet. They usually ask ' what do u want to do first?" Or " How do u want to cuddle first?" I say" How about u lay ur head on my chest." I usually wait till they ask if I want to change. Or ask," Are u ok?" I would say "Can we do....?" They always comply. I had been very fortunate to meet Amazing, Sweet Cuddlers.
I'm slowly learning to be less timid and ask. It's so important to be at least semi comfortable and unafraid in these situations, that's a bit of a challenge when you have trouble relaxing and trusting people.
As a pro cuddler, I don't ask the client to meet my cuddle needs. I feel like I'm there to meet the needs of the client. I find myself frequently asking the client would you like to do this or that, because they almost never say anything. When I cuddle a friend, I rarely ask for anything because it's all good!
As a client I have no problem asking. For a specific position, if I can caress her hair, hold her hand, if she is all right with us falling asleep (for some reason sleeping is enjoyable because it manifests a level of trust, comfort, and affection/intimacy). I always ask, though.
I always ask before starting cuddling and i think many are not always sure. going with the flow is a great option as long as communication is kept constant... do you like how we're cuddling? do you need me to switch or change position? i make it a point to ask and never be afraid of being shut down.
I'm terrified of asking :-D
Haha. Sometimes I just make a shift or move and see if my pro responds without resistance.
@cease2exist What would you ask for if you did?
I try to see this as we are in it together, and asking makes sense to respect oneS boundaries. we are creating the experience together. I like to massage and not everyone likes deeper pressure and similarly not everyone likes the lightest gentlest pressure either; its relaxing for me to do both. I think Expectations, Boundaries and Communication are the trinity of cuddling.
@respectful I'd probably ask to lay my head on her chest or inform her that I particularly enjoy when she rubs my legs with her foot and ask her to do that more.
@cease2exist I'm sure she would be fine with doing that. It's OK to ask! You could always show her this thread.
@happybear "Expectations, Boundaries and Communication are the trinity of cuddling."
Could you expand on that?
@cease2exist I wonder what would happen if, instead of your technique of "just make a shift or move and see if my pro responds without resistance" you used your words. It would be incredibly vulnerable and scary, I suspect - but once you got over that initial fear of asking you would become better at using your words, which would have benefits that would extend past your cuddle sessions.
@LisaMeece Then how can I nurture my petty anxiety? Haha.
I'm going to have to agree with @LisaMeece on this one. I have really bad anxiety too @cease2exist. but I do believe there are times that you just have to do it to get past it. and once you have done it once, it becomes easier from then forward. its very hard for me to express my feelings through words, so I just act on it like u said. but I have found recently that if I open my mouth and say what I feel or want, the other person knows and it usually makes things easier rather then them trying to figure out what it is you want. not sure if any of this made sense but I tried. as I stated im horrible with words haha.
Lately, for couple of recent cuddle meet ups, I rarely ask, I just go and say, I want to experience what you enjoy and like the best. That had lead to some wonderful experiences ..
Oh wait.. that’s an ask too.. I guess.. or maybe not
Everybody comes to cuddle with some kind of Expectations, everybody is looking to cuddle for many reasons. they are mitigated by Communication to understand, and respect the others boundaries. Unless you cuddled with the other person before, discovering what someone else enjoys I guess is a approach, asking I think is more collaborative, creates a closeness we are in this together mindset, and builds trust, and connection. The roles of cuddler, cuddle should be flexible.
Just throwing this out there cause I learned stuff from reading, "Unf..ckology" (yes it really uses an asterix *) - A Field Guide To Living With Guts And Confidence, by Amy Alkon, who also wrote "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F..ck" (Again, the actual title uses the asterix). Anyway, it talks about acting the way you want to be perceived and how with enough practice, it becomes the real you.
When it comes to those who have trouble asking for things for any reason, I generally like to offer to take the lead if they can't find it in them to. And I'll regularly check in to make sure it's okay for them and reassure them that it's okay if they don't like a certain position or have an idea to make it better... I won't get offended if someone outright dislikes spooning or another option I presented.
Touch is about communication. So think about what you want to say.
Do you prefer light, playful type of touch? Then maybe try gliding your fingers along their forearm or tickling their shoulder for a few brief seconds. By initiating and making the first move, this "communicates" several key things. Firstly, that you're relaxed and at ease with the person. Secondly, that you don't fear the possibility of the other person rejecting your touch. Thirdly, you want this feeling to continue hence the tickle to entice progressing the session. Fourthly and simultaneously, you want to ask them if they feel the same way hence using the tickle to elicit a response for purpose of confirmation the other person feels the same or not. So in this particular scenario, by caressing their forearm or tickling their shoulder, here's what you are saying: "Hey, this is nice. I feel comfortable and relaxed with you. I think I want more of this. Is that okay with you or do you want to do something else?"
Another scenario. Say you're snuggled up on the couch. The other person has their arms around you. They hug you to them whilst resting their hand on your forearm and start caressing your forearm with their thumb lovingly. This is a supportive, nurturing, almost parental type of touch. A stark contrast to the arousing, playful touch of the previous scenario. This is a calming type of touch. This type of touch says "hey, whatever you're experiencing...it's okay. you deserve to feel safe, loved, and protected. You don't need to hide it. You don't need to bottle it up. Let it out. It's okay. No one is going to judge you. I'm right here with you. Whatever is going on, I'm right here with you." Yet, all of that is said in the space of the three seconds it takes for their thumb to rub your forearm. Pretty neat, huh? Hehe
How these types of touches make you feel is communicated back to them via how you respond physically or with a touch of your own. If someone touches you in a playful manner as in the first scenario, you may respond by simply hugging them to you and resting your head on their chest. This tells them "No. I just want to be held right now." Or if they're more snuggly with their touch, you could respond by giving a sort of squirm followed by a shoulder tickle indicating to them "Thanks, sweety. I'm fine. But c'mon, let's make this just a fun cuddle this time."
It's almost like a point / counter-point. Or a cuddle / counter-cuddle if you will. Its like a dance in a way. Touch is one of the most primal of all human actions. Its how animals communicate. A dog lowers his head slightly when approaching another dog to indicate he's not gonna upset the pack by joining their circle. Its a supplication gesture and acknowledges the group's superiority over himself. After a fight, one dog will go over and lick the lips of the other as an expression of "hey, im sorry. we still friends?" If the other dog licks them back, they made up. If he turns his head away, he's still holding a grudge. To which the other dog will acknowledge by lowering his head and walking away letting the other know he's still sorry even as the other takes his time to cool down. A dog lowers his forward portion of his body close to the ground with his jaw slightly open and eyes looking upward whilst excitedly wiggling his hips. This is called a "play bow". It says, "hey Im a friend see, c'mon lets play". So too do humans have body language and touch that communicates various feelings, emotions, and wishes.
I always have a fear of being perceived as inappropriate because I enjoy full body cuddling. So I let my cuddle buddy make suggestions. The last thing I want is for someone to have a negative perception of me, so by letting the other set the tone of the session, I may sacrifice what I prefer for the greater possibility of a repeat cuddler. Maybe I am too much of a people pleaser sometimes.
Set the boundries.
Re-affirm that you can ask for what you want, within the boundries.
Accept a, "no" or enjoy a, "yes".
[edited to add @]
I usually try to have the cuddler pick the initial position. Then we will shift but I always ask first … or sometimes she will ask if I want to change positions. I try to go with the flow generally.
Totally agree with @galowglass in his last statement.
As I’ve become a better cuddler, I’ve become more skilled at asking my clients for things (I’ll elaborate on that in a minute); these are things I learned from Cuddlist training and also that specific article of Fei’s! I also take a stronger role in ‘coaching’ my clients to ask for things (um, I guess I’ll also elaborate on that in a minute).
Now when I go over the boundaries of the session — I explicitly state that within the bounds of platonic cuddling, I’m open to pretty much everything except kissing (which I know is forbidden in CC’s Client Agreement, but it accepted on some other sites) and being tickled. I don’t like those, ever. I ask them if they have any similar things with which they are uncomfortable. I’ll also explain that it’s fine for us to also have ‘subjective’ boundaries — that within the moment, we always have the right to say, “I’m not comfortable with that right now.” And that that’s okay. We don’t have to know the reason why, we just have to graciously accept our cuddle partner’s boundaries. Also, if I do something that for them is not an ‘enthusiastic yes,’ to feel free to tell me they’re uncomfortable or that they’d like to do something different. Sometimes these things come up because it’s something that’s mentally uncomfortable. Or sometimes it’s as simple as your hand falls asleep and you need to adjust! I tell my clients that I’ll always respect their boundaries, and ask for the same. And promise that we will always tell each other when these things arise! (This sounds really long and wordy, but in person it really only takes a minute or two.)
The other thing I say is to feel free to ask me to try certain things, to ask me to continue something that feels good, to ask me to adjust something (light pressure vs. deeper pressure, etc.).
It usually takes a little while for them to get comfortable asking for what they need, so that’s where the coaching comes in. I really feel like part of my job as a professional cuddler is not just to cuddle, but to help my client establish their own boundaries and learn to ask for what they want. I think that’s a hard skill to learn!
I know for me as a professional cuddler, I was a little more permissive with my ‘subjective’ boundaries in the beginning. I didn’t want to tell my partner I wasn’t comfortable with something where I wasn’t an ‘enthusiastic yes.’ I would let my arm fall asleep. I would allow touching that I wasn’t 100% comfortable with in that moment (although it wasn’t necessarily a ‘no’).
Anyway — regarding Fei’s analogy, before learning to cuddle professionally, I was a terrible hairstyling client. For example, if they asked me if I wanted something shorter, I would say no (even though I did!) because I didn’t want to make them do more work or be a ‘difficult’ customer. I’m a reforming perfectionist, and I hate displeasing people. (Unless they really deserve it, in which case I have no problem telling somebody to piss off! Except I might use slightly more aggressive language than that, lol.) Since that article and my Cuddlist training, I realize that my hairstylist is there to give me what I want, and I feel much more comfortable asking for it and then thanking them for it!
I wrote all this, in essence, to say that communicating preferences to someone you don’t know well can be really hard! And that it doesn’t just apply to clients, it can apply to professionals, too!