Cuddle parties are described by organizers as "workshop/social-events" that give adults an opportunity to "give and receive welcomed affectionate touch in a no-expectation, friendly setting, according to your needs, desires, interests, and boundaries." Cuddle parties are described as nonsexual events and commonly kissing is not allowed.
A cuddle party is a group experience, while the one-on-one analog is a cuddlebuddy relationship. However, "cuddle-buddies" are almost always ongoing relationships after being formed from prior relationships (friendship, etc.) Whereas in formal cuddle parties usually each person only has prior bonds with part of the total membership and the membership relationships are often not ongoing (e.g. same group may never meet again or only a few times).
They may be referred to as a "puppy pile party" or "Contact Comfort Gathering".
Events have occurred across the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montgomery (Alabama), Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Minneapolis, Chapel Hill (North Carolina), Madison and Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Chicago and Kansas City, Howland (Ohio), San Antonio (Texas); and abroad reaching Toronto and Vancouver (Canada), London (England), Melbourne and Brisbane (Australia), Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), Hong Kong and Gothenburg (Sweden).
Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, a pair of self-described "relationship coaches" in New York City, founded Cuddle Party in New York on February 29, 2004. According to their website, the events were initially created for friends who were too intimidated to attend Mihalko's informal massage workshops. Upon publication of the Cuddle Party website, the events were opened to the general public, and, thanks to a swarm of media attention, became a phenomenon in New York.
In order to meet the demand for Cuddle Parties in other cities, Mihalko and Baczynski began a training and certification program in January 2005, and have since trained a number of individuals to facilitate Cuddle Parties in various cities.
- A cuddle party was featured on an episode of CSI: New York titled "Grand Murder at Central Station".
- The second season of the popular TV series An Idiot Abroad featured a cuddle party on the episode "Route 66".
- Cuddle parties were extensively covered in Cuddle: A Documentary
- Morris, Alex (2006-01-28). "New York Magazine". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "Need A Lift? It May Be Just A Cuddle Away — Cuddle Parties Are Nonsexual Ways Of Getting The Human Touch". NBC 10 Philadelphia. November 10, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-12-06. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- Washington Post
- Lusher, Adam (2006-10-15). "Telegraph.co.uk". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "People". People. 2004-09-27. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- Klonick, Kate (2006-11-30). "ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- New York Observer Archived October 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Seattle Times". Seattletimes.nwsource.com. 2004-09-05. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- Kramer, Rachel (2005-12-23). "Gothamist". Gothamist. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- Dailycal.org Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The CSIs Get Cuddly On 'Grand Murder At Central Station'". CSI Files. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". Orange County Cuddle Party. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- "Cuddle Party". NYDailyNews.com. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- wensleydale (10 November 2004). "My First Cuddle Party". Retrieved 25 February 2013.