Sunday, June 21, 2009

Snuggle party?? It may be just what you need...

CBS 25 Oct 2005

So there I was having a quiet brunch with my friend MisLis (aka Cupcake Goddess as she is known in this household) and she says she's about to attend a snuggle party. "A what???!!" says Ms160. Did I mishear? Was this a new type of Femdom tea party or something?

MisLis then explained, and I thought "hmmm ... okay this is a vanilla activity but it's something that might be of interest to my readers. I'll do some research". And so I did. And guess what, readers, I discovered that kinksters need the odd cuddle too!

Of course "odd" may be the operative word there, but a quick google search shows that the cuddle / snuggle party phenomenon is taking over the Western world. It's even been on the news. In fact being on CBS in Oct 2005 (see the "hot cuddle party" story title CBS photo at top of post) may have made terrific publicity for the original creators of Cuddle Party but it also caused endless hassles. As one of them said later "All that time we've spent in the last year and a half, convincing people Cuddle Party is not an orgy? Allllll down the tubes tonight."

With that "hot cuddle party" headline they were certainly doomed, LOL. But despite orgy seekers turning up now and then, cuddle / snuggle party organizations have continued to be created to meet the needs of deprived snugglers - of which YOU may be one. So let's check out cuddle / snuggle parties in case they can provide something you need...

The words cuddle and snuggle evoke childhood memories of touch, don't they? And you'll find many different variations of the two words being used online ("Cuddle Party", "Snuggle Party", "Snuggly Pajama Party" etc etc) to describe very similar events - either identical to the original Cuddle Parties created by Reid Mihalko, or with minor variations (Love Coaching who organized MisLis' first Snuggle Party in Sydney, state on their website that "Snuggle Parties are a close cousin to Cuddle Parties (with a few extra fun things thrown in the mix)").

So let's look at where the whole thing started. Wiki says:
"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"
You can read some of those media articles in the References and Online Recourses section below. So what IS a cuddle party? Back to Wiki:

"A cuddle party is an event designed with the intention of allowing people to experience non-sexual group physical intimacy through cuddling. Cuddle parties are described by organizers as "workshop/social-events" that gives adults an opportunity to "give and receive welcomed affectionate touch in a no-expectation, friendly setting, according to your needs, desires, interests, and boundaries...

"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 ... events have occurred across the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montgomery, Boston, Minneapolis, Chapel Hill, and Kansas City; and abroad reaching Toronto, London, and Melbourne".

And now Sydney.

So what are the ... er ... rules of play?

Here are the rules from

WHAT TO WEAR: Pajamas - nothing too risqué. Think more comfy than sexy. (More drawstrings, less lace! No shorts.)

WHAT TO BRING: A pillow or stuffed animal if you like. Juice or sparkling cider is always welcome. Sorry, no liquor folks. Otherwise, just bring your smiling self.


  1. Pajamas stay on the whole time.
  2. You don't have to cuddle anyone at a Cuddle Party, ever.
  3. You must ask permission and receive a verbal YES before you touch anyone. (Be as specific in your request as you can.)
  4. If you're a yes, say YES. If you're a no, say NO.
  5. If you're a maybe, say NO.
  6. You are encouraged to change your mind anytime you want.
  7. Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
  8. Get your Cuddle Lifeguard On Duty or Cuddle Caddy if you have a question or concern or need assistance with anything during the Cuddle Party.
  9. Tears and laughter are both welcome.
  10. Respect people's privacy when sharing about Cuddle Parties and do not gossip.
  11. Arrive on time.
  12. Be hygienically savvy

Need more info?

Most of the cuddle party sites feature an extremely good FAQ page, which was written by the original facilitators. However because some sites don't list all the questions on that FAQ list, it's worth going back to read the original list here. Which I might add includes the tricky question of how to deal with erections at cuddle parties *grin*

I'm sure you can imagine how some people enjoy taking the piss out of these events. This is my favorite, on Gawker:
Today we spotted the story of a single 20-something New York City girl bravely encountering what must be the most horrifying new trend: cuddle parties. Seriously. Invented by a man who calls himself REiD Mihalko (no, seriously), at cuddle parties people get together and, obviously, cuddle -- they set "boundaries" and they do "safe roleplaying" and then they "cuddle." Let's do some healthy roleplaying of our own:

Your friend says: "I'm hosting a cuddle party. Will you come?"
You say: "Go fuck yourself, you ridiculous California-damaged ninny."

Your friend says: "I wish you wouldn't be so judgmental and hostile. Cuddle parties are about sharing and intimacy!"
You say: Nothing, because hopefully you'll never speak to them again"
There has been some criticism directed at cuddle party franchizing. One blogger noted, re training facilitators:
"I think the idea of cuddle parties is so cute and fun, so I checked out their website. They have it GOING ON, for $500 you can attend a cuddle party and learn what it’s all about OR for $1000 you can become certified in cuddling. OMG. And it’s $200 a year to stay certified. So they have basically taken cuddling and turned it into a franchise. Slick. This recession sure will make people get creative in ways to create income..."
You can read an interesting post about the franchising viewpoint here. But to attend, most parties charge about $20. So it costs the same as attending a play party.

What sort of people go?

A complete cross section of the community, I'd imagine, rather like kinksters. It's not a singles event as such, but as the CuddleParty website notes "Singles in particular seem to flock to Cuddle Parties, because they are a safe, fun, and non-alcoholic way to meet other people". True, and to paraphrase my friend MisLis below these events provide a safe, sane and consensual way to access the touch that's missing in many lives. Unless parties are same sex they are also gender balanced. I think parties usually have 10 to 20 attendees. They are also excellent for people feeling isolated by illness or disabilities, as Camilla Andersson reported:
"Deborah*, 44, decided to go to cuddle parties because her disability, fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder resulting in pain and fatigue, has lead to increasing isolation from society. After she developed the syndrome 15 years ago, she started to withdraw from the community activism she used to participate in, resulting in increased isolation. She has been to two parties, partly because of the need to break her isolation, partly because she has always taken care of others, whether in the role of a mother or an activist, and she needed some pampering herself. "The cuddle parties appealed to me because it seemed like a place where I could get a bit more physical attention, get a little bit touched," Deborah says.

"During her latest visit in the middle of November, Deborah was clear about what she wanted. In the welcome circle, she told the other participants about her need to be pampered and that she really enjoys when someone brushes her hair. Almost immediately after the welcome circle, a woman approached Deborah, sat down behind her and started brushing her hair softly. "I felt really rejuvenated. It was exactly what I needed," says Deborah, who had gone through a few stressful weeks before the party. "It's up there with things like meditation and yoga. It's very healing."
I mentioned same sex parties a while back. When cuddle parties first started in New York in 2004 Greg Bensinger wrote that "also in the [planning stages] are themed cuddle parties, like ones for the gay and lesbian community, seniors and women only. "All the cuddlemonsters are coming out of the closet," said Mihalko".

These themed / community specific parties have certainly taken off since then.

As have cuddle parties organized by kinksters. In fact the one MisLis attended was also facilitated by a kinkster: Flame, on Fetlife, who I know from the Sydney scene. There is also a Fetlife group for kinksters interested in cuddles and these parties: Cuddle Sluts.

So how do you find one? Check for places in the US. The site also shows you how to become a facilitator and hold your own parties.
Here in Australia you can attend parties with several different groups / facilitators, like

And Love Coaching who organized MisLis' first Snuggle Party in Sydney. You can find Love Coaching's snuggle party page here. I've never been to a cuddle / snuggle party so I can't personally recommend one facilitator over the other ... but on the other hand I'm completely biased towards supporting kinksters, LOL. So why not try Love Coaching's parties first, as you will meet Flame from Fetlife who comes highly recommended by MisLis.

Which brings us to MisLis' report on attending a Snuggle party. This is already a very long post, but I am going to quote this report in full because it's so interesting and well written. I must add that MisLis checked the report with Flame prior to sending it to me, to make sure no party attendees' confidentiality was breached.

"A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever Snuggle Party.

"It's an interesting thing for someone like me to commit to. I like to keep interpersonal touch in public to an absolute minimum. I have an acute sense of personal space. Music festivals are my idea of hell played to an awesome soundtrack. Attending a structured function that includes deliberate touching of me and other people? It seemed ludicrous!

"But when I saw the Snuggle Party promoted, I was instantly curious. I love kooky new experiences, and this would certainly be something to push me out of my comfort zone. Plus it sounded like a really healthy thing to do. So I booked myself in, and started telling everyone I knew about this wild, crazy thing I was going to do. Safe, sane and consensual public touching.

"Snuggle Parties, and their cousins, Cuddle Parties, are gatherings of people who just want to get together and share some good old-fashioned non-sexual touch. The cuddle equivalent of Dungeon Masters are on hand, to make sure that everything is kept comfortable and under free-flow control. Participation in everything is completely voluntary.

"So on a quiet Sunday night, I strapped a pillow and a blanket to the old scooter-beast, packed my pajamas and ventured east to Snuggle Central. Earlier that morning, over breakfast with a friend it had finally hit me: I was going to do something that was completely outside my comfort zone. I ignored the fear and ploughed on anyway.

"On arrival, I was greeted by a friendly chap, removed my shoes, signed in, and changed out of my bulky gear and into some comfy pajamas. The venue was warm and cozy, but I was glad to have brought socks. Immediately I was struck by the feel of the room and the sense of spiritual broadmindedness that was already bouncing around.

"I have to say, the facilitation is actually what made this event so successful. As a group we discussed and agreed to confidentiality for every participant, so I don't want to go into too much detail about what actually happens. But we did spend some time discussing some really interesting topics; we had a 'mini-workshop' on learning how to say no, and yes, asking for exactly what you want, and enjoying the present. And that's just what I got out of the session, but I suspect what you get from it depends on your own personal circumstances. (Gush some more: that sort of learning is gold dust!)

"But onto snuggling!!

"While it took me a little while to warm up, I found myself purring like a pussycat not long after. I was the lucky giver and receiver of touch. There were some really wonderful, compassionate people in the room. It felt strange to be engaging in what I would normally consider to be foreplay, in a non-sexual context (another revolutionary, but extremely healthy concept!) By the end of the night, all my personal space boundaries had been broken down. I had let someone touch my feet. I was happily snuggled in a little corner, a small Lis sandwich, finally relaxed and free to spend time thinking about my breathing and able to enjoy the moment.

"I left, and performed a quick survey of myself: how was I feeling after that intense encounter? I had a mild endorphin high and felt fulfilled, without being aroused. I felt like eating a square of chocolate, but that might be unrelated to the Snuggle Party. :) All in all, some pretty positive feelings and so I gave the night a thumbs up - it was well worth doing.

"Would I go again? I would, especially if I was feeling a bit touch-starved. Apparently we need seven hugs a day to get our daily dose of human touch, and I certainly am nowhere near that close! I definitely recommend it to everyone as something to try at least once, whether you are into touch or not.

"The next Snuggle party will be held in Sydney on 11th July. If you are in town, and are even the slightest bit curious you should book yourself in!"


Of interest:
Camilla Andersson "Snuggle Opportunities for the Cuddle Deprived Whether you need a hug or some afternoon spooning, cuddle parties will provide it for you" November 20, 2005
Gred Bensinger "Gimme a hug! The 'Cuddle Party' is New York's newest feel-good-about-yourself fad" New York Daily News July 11, 2004
Gawker "Bad Trend Alert: Cuddle Parties" Mon Apr 19 2004
Christina Troup "Snuggling finds a safe party" Oakland Tribune , May 31, 2005
WIKI on cuddle parties

Cuddle parties, reform and revolution
Cuddle party - my thoughts
The Good, The Bad and The Cuddly Prepping for my first-ever Cuddle Party (in New Jersey!)

A "Snuggly Pajama Party" can be viewed here on Facebook
Some YouTube cuddle parties here

Google photos of cuddle / snuggle parties here

Thank you:
to MisLis for sharing her experience :)

CBS via

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Newbie Dominants - Practicalities of Play series

Thank you so much to all the readers who have been in touch over the "Newbie Dominants - Practicalities of Play" series, since I put out the call a couple of months ago. I've taken all your comments and ideas on board and will start publishing the series soon. It's been great to see how many new dominants, especially female dominants, are reading Mistress160's Abode and the BDSM for Beginners blog, and I'm really pleased to have nearly finalized this series for you :).

This Newbie Dominant - Practicalities of Play series leads on in part from the Going Real Time series. It covers a tricky period of transition we all experience: you are doing all the right things - watching and learning at play parties, reading lots, and practicing your flogging / caning / bondage skills. You don't quite feel ready to use those skills in a scene yet, but you have a sub ready and waiting... What to do?!

In this series of posts I'll provide you with basic practical information that will give you the confidence to organize your first scene, be in an online scene, a real time scene in the privacy of your home ... or your first scene in public. Here's some of the things we'll discuss:
  • Assembling a basic BDSM toy box
  • Finding "pervertable" toys around your home, and fiendish uses for them
  • Looking the part ... or not (dominant dress styles)
  • How to organize a cyber play scene and play online
  • How to organize a real time scene in private
  • How to organize a real time scene at a play party
  • Simple types of play useful in your first few scenes: queening / figging / pegging / CBT / clamp play / T&D / puppy play etc
  • Learning more advanced play techniques
  • Looking out for "drop" / top guilt, and working out your / your partner's aftercare needs
  • Finding more online resources for dominants
I'll be running a two hour real time "Practical play tips for new dominants" workshop on this subject, as well as as a cyber course.

NOTE: Aug 2009: I've had to remove these posts due to an intellectual property dispute (someone was stealing their content) so drop me a line privately or leave a comment below if you'd like to read the posts and I'll send them to you)

Photo: Ms160

Friday, June 12, 2009

Uber:learn - latest workshops, Sydney 2009

"Insightful, kinky and thought-provoking,
Uber: learn workshops are open to all"


Here is a list of Uber:learn's workshops in Sydney over the next few months. I highly recommend attending anything MsDee organizes, and her education workshops and skill shares are always terrific, whatever your kinky orientation or level of experience.

For more info on all things Uber, please visit their site:

sunday 14th june 2009 - now 21 june 2009
bondage 101 – metal, plastic, and ropes

ever wondered what the “b” in bdsm is really all about? how to restrain that lovely plaything so they really can’t move, and what it does to their head while they are there? what can you use to get the effect you want, practically, safely, & efficiently? we discuss and demonstrate the use of chains, cuffs, cling wrap and ropes in a toe-dipping step into the fascinating world of bondage.

(sol and I helped MsDee with this workshop last year - you can read about it here but here's a quote: "we were looking at all sorts of types of restraint. We discussed, and showed examples, of leather, rope, rubber, plastic ... Miss Dee brought rolls of gladwrap for everyone to try, and this was a huge success, we took some wonderful photos ... fabric and metal items that could be used to bind. I showed how effective carabinars are, for restraining a body quickly, leaving more time for doing more creative things. Like inflicting pain....". Sadly I won't be able to get there this year as I have another kinky event on the same day, but hopefully MsDee will allow sol and I to join here again next year :) )

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2.30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


thursday 18th june 2009:
rope bondage with objects
at manacle, the clarence hotel 450 parramatta rd, petersham

remember those cartoon scenes where Dick Dastardly ties Penelope Pittstop to the railway tracks? Ever wished you were her, or him? While we are not tying people to railway tracks (today, at least), we are going to spend an a few hours exploring bondage and objects - chairs, tables, brooms, all manner of things. every day objects used in unusual, kinky, and definitely sexy ways. in fact, bring an object with you and try and stump the presenter - tonbi!

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 7:00pm. approx 2 hrs ]


sunday 28th june 2009:
cbt & genital bondage - tightly tied treasures geni-torture!!!!!

explore the pain and the glory that small lengths of string, perhaps a few weights, perhaps some other toys, and a little bit of imagination can invoke. experienced players in this field give hands on demonstrations of this wonderful, delicate, and oh-so-very- effective restraint method

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2.30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


saturday and sunday 11th & 12th july 2009 :
Senior first aid certificate course
run by SLPA

We believe in it so much, we are sending all our staff to it as well as attending it ourselves. whilst costs are to be confirmed, it will be approximately $150 for 2 days, including lunches. just think, a first aid course where you can ask about bdsm.


sunday 26th july 2009:

strict discipline. knowing what is expected at all times. how do you stand, how do you address people. knowing your place. sexy? fascinating? hot? we explore the world of protocols, what makes them work, and give you some ideas of how to incorporate them into your D/s relationships.

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2.30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


sunday 2nd august 2009:
rope bondage 101

always thought that rope work looked HOT, but way too difficult? While it is definitely an art form for some, it can also just be sexy and fun. Come and learn the basics

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2.30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


sunday 16th august 2009:
rope bondage 202

getting into the groove? getting to feel the power of the rope? ready to take the next step? moving from the fundamentals of workshop 101, we incorporate limb tying, with more interesting restraints and combinations. you will learn the steps to include rope in your play, including the delightful rope tying for [shhh] sex.

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2:30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


sunday 30th august 2009:
rope bondage with objects

remember those cartoon scenes where Dick Dastardly ties Penelope Pittstop to the railway tracks? Ever wished you were her, or him? While we are not tying people to railway tracks (today, at least), we are going to spend an afternoon exploring bondage and objects - chairs, tables, brooms....all manner of things. every day objects used in unusual, kinky, and definitely sexy ways. in fact, bring an object with you and try and stump the presenter - tonbi!

[cost $20, $15 SLPA & Kindred, start time: 2:30pm. approx 2 hrs ]


Look forward to seeing you at some of them!

Logo and workshop info:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some rather good toy specials you might like to know about...

Sax (who's leather workshop is quite close to where sol and I live, and who have an excellent website, shipping fetish items worldwide) just sent me their latest newsletter and they have some extremely good specials:
"S(A)X has acquired a range of stainless steel and borasilicate dildos and butt plug accessories at a very special half price. They are available in limited numbers, some there are only one of others two or three"
I don't usually promote merchandise but 50% off takes many of these really great toys to well under a hundred dollars, which makes them very special indeed. You might like to take a look. Just click on the banner below and then head to the Specials Half Price section.

Have fun!

Sax Leather sells adult discipline wear & erotic toys - click here for the best leather in the world...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Having a Prince Albert genital piercing done

This post is part of the
Body Modification Series
and Edgeplay Series.
Please don't read it if you are not interested
in needle play or piercings.

I decided to give sol a Prince Albert piercing for his birthday. Sol had been wanting a genital piercing for a while, but he'd had to wait until I became more interested in body modification. His nipple piercing had never really taken, we had constant problems with it and in the end took it out. The PA sounded a lot more fun, plus it has enormous play potential, especially chastity play.

So what's a Prince Albert piercing?

The Prince Albert piercing (or PA as it's often called) is one of the more common male genital piercings. It pierces the penis from the outside of the frenulum and into the urethra. The history of the PA is a bit tricky to discover these days, as Wiki notes:

The Prince Albert piercing may have been practiced in European culture for some time, and while there are many tentative theories as to its origin, the true origin of this piercing is unknown. Many of the theories regarding this piercing's history suggest that the piercing was used to secure the penis in some manner, rather than having a sexual or cultural purpose.

In modern times the Prince Albert piercing was popularized by Jim Ward in the early 1970s. In West Hollywood (a gay village of Los Angeles), Ward met Doug Malloy and Fakir Musafar. Together these men further developed the Prince Albert piercing. Perhaps more fatefully, Malloy published a pamphlet in which he concocted fanciful histories of genital piercings in particular. These ersatz tales—which included the notion that Prince Albert invented the piercing that shares his name in order to tame the appearance of his large penis in tight trousers—are widely circulated as urban legend. No historical proof of their veracity has been located independent of Malloy's assertions.

Like many other male genital piercings, it has a history of practice in gay culture in the twentieth century and became known outside that culture at the same time that body piercing began to emerge in popular culture in the late 1970s. The relatively easy procedure, rapid healing and claims of additional sexual stimulation (both to the wearer and his partner in sexual intercourse) attributed to this piercing have come to make the Prince Albert the most common male genital piercing.

So at 3pm we presented ourselves at Polymorph in Sydney, who's staff (or artists, as they quite correctly term themselves of their website) came highly recommended by friends. I'd also met some of them at Lukas Zpira's body mod workshop. We were seeing Rod, who - being extraordinarily good at what he does - explained everything that was going to happen to sol ... and then did the piercing in a fraction of the time it had taken to talk about it lol. You can watch an interview with Rod here.

I took this photo a moment later:

Sol's body had completely tensed and almost arched in places during the (very fast) proceedure and now he was enjoying the endorphins. "There was no blood!", I disappointedly said to Rob, who laughed and warned us there might be more later. You can read real stories of men having the PA piercing in the Reference and Online Resource section at the bottom of the post.

We headed back to where we were staying, stripped off and got into bed so we could examine our new piercing. Doesn't it look amazing?

As we admired Rob's fine work I started running my fingertips lightly up sol's cock:

He was incredibly sensitive and incredibly horny and nearly expired when I stopped touching him. "But you are getting a hard on!" I said. "He said no sex for six weeks not no erections!" yowled sol pathetically.

So being a nice Mistress I touched him some more! This did cause a tiny amount of blood loss.

From Polymorph's terrific aftercare kit we know to expect bruising and possibly more blood. Sol's first pee was a bit painful but again we'd been told to expect that. I'll keep you up to date with the healing process, for any readers interested in having a piercing in future. And of course tell you about future play featuring the PA!

Sincere thanks
to Rob
at Polymorph



Experiences with Prince Albert piercings
Wiki - Prince Albert piercing
BMEzine - Prince Albert Piercing
UK Fetish Info: Getting a PA piercing
UK Fetish Info: Living with a PA piercing
Association of Professional Piercers' body piercing aftercare guidelines
Article about several aspects of the PA from