Humans are social beings, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic limited our ability for physical interactions. As more and more Americans are getting vaccinated, Hugz & Cuddlez is organizing its first-ever group-cuddle event in Olympia.
The group describes itself as “a community dedicated to touch” aims to provide a safe and nurturing environment for people to meet and socialize.
Hugz and Cuddlez professes that touch is something that people and other animals naturally need since day one. Touch is also beneficial as it allows the body to release oxytocin, a cuddle hormone that helps in reducing stress, and improving one’s mood.
One of the organizers, Erez Benari shared, “the power of touch is incredible. It is not only healthy in many ways, but also connects people and makes us whole.”
Everyone is welcome to participate in the event, whether they are single, or in a relationship, and regardless of their sexual orientation. The organizers made it clear that the event has nothing to do with sex or romance.
The group also values consent. According to their guidelines, a participant needs to get verbal consent before they could join a group hug.
Usually, participants are greeted with couches, mattresses, and snacks at the venue. Once the event begins, a group of people would lie down together and share a hug.
The organization has six events lined up for the month of July including Redmond, Tukwila, Auburn, Lake Stevens, Bremerton and Olympia. For Olympia, the group will host their cuddle event on Friday, July 23, 8 p.m. at 2021 Burbank Avenue NW. Participants are encouraged to give $10-20 “donations” to help pay for the costs.
To join, a participant must go through a “vetting” process”. This requires filling up a form and submitting a request. The approval process also requires a phone call. Once approved, a participant must also sign a waiver or consent form.
The group understands that joining a group cuddle may be difficult at first, and the organizers assure that there is plenty of support for people who are struggling to feel at home.