By Nadja Bukowski

    Snuggle party, snuggle workshop, snuggle therapy – snuggle offers are booming in the capital. More than ever after the pandemic.

    Sure, people long for closeness, contacts, touches and security. Not easy to get in a city of over a million inhabitants. Over 50 percent of households in Berlin are singles. Then there was the lockdown, which taught us about social distancing and the loneliness that followed.

    Cuddling can help! For example at Markus’ cuddle parties. Well, party is the wrong term, because it’s more about relaxation than boisterous celebrations. If you’re looking for sex or non-binding making out, you’ve come to the wrong place! No bare skin, no kissing, no groping, erogenous zones are not touched. A cuddle party is not a swinger party! Markus: “There are clear rules for cuddling.” It’s just cuddling, dressing, relaxing!

    Markus explains in advance which rules apply to cuddling and makes sure that they are observed

    Markus explains in advance which rules apply to cuddling and makes sure that they are observed Photo: private

    The rules for cuddling are strict: touching in the bikini zone is taboo for women and the swimming trunks zone for men. The focus is on mindful touch and recognition. Of course, something can always happen afterwards. Markus: “My last long-term relationship came about through a cuddle party.”

    Cuddling with strangers – how does it work? “Especially cuddling with strangers is very good. In family, among friends and at work, you always have a specific role that you fulfill. You don’t have to play a role here, you don’t know the person, you don’t have to see them again. You can just see for yourself what is good for you,” says Markus to the BZ

    “Touch is not just the touch of the body.  It is always the touch of a person's mind, heart and soul,

    “Touch is not just the touch of the body. It is always the touch of a person’s mind, heart and soul,” explains cuddle trainer Markus Günther Photo: private

    He has been running cuddle evenings since 2016. “Most of the participants are between 35 and 55. Often it’s people whose first relationship failed or whose children are out of the house and who gave them closeness before.” Many have a strong longing for closeness, especially after the lockdown . “It’s really noticeable that more and more people are now coming who weren’t there before. The average age is also getting younger.”

    Many participants simply wish for gentle touches

    Many participants simply wish for gentle touches Photo: private

    Three hours of cuddling time for 20 euros and this is what it looks like: 39 strangers in a room. Women and men between the ages of 26 and 70. It smells of sage, candles are lit, music is playing. In the welcoming round, everyone expresses their needs openly: a desire to meet and be touched, to relax, to be comforted, to be held.

    After that, there is no more talking for the rest of the evening, except during the breaks. This is followed by encounter exercises, initial hand-holding and hugs. Everything voluntarily. It’s also about testing limits: what do I want and what not? Saying no to being touched is even encouraged.

    In Markus' experience, anyone who has been a guest at the cuddle party will come back again

    In Markus’ experience, anyone who has been a guest at the cuddle party will come back again Photo: private

    The highlight: the big cuddle! Everyone slowly gets closer to each other on a dormitory. Tender stroking, being held, passionate cuddle sessions in all combinations. Woman-man, woman-woman, man-man, young-old, in twos, threes, fours or alone, just watch. In the final round, everyone is still completely “high” from the experience: I feel nourished, happy, comforted, secure… accepted.

    The next dates: July 3rd, 9th and 23rd. More info at www.kuschelparty-markus.de

    ttn-27