When I went to a cuddle party, we seriously spent about an hour practicing saying “no” to each other and discussing the value of consent before starting.
“Being able to say no makes us safe,” the instructor told us. “Saying no is a road map to helping others and ourselves navigate who we really are and what we really want.”
This one person there said that they’ve been going to cuddle parties for over fifteen years, and cuddle culture and its emphasis on consent wasn’t just something fun for that person. It was a lifestyle that changed the way they interacted with other people and with themselves.
We went deep into consent, on how people might consent for one thing (cuddling for example), but that doesn’t mean they consented for anything else (such as stroking their hair). It was suggested that we ask permission for each new act before continuing.
“If you feel like you’re asking for permission too much, like you’re just being ridiculous, it probably means you’re doing things right,” the instructor said.