I’m Louis, Client Coordinator for Cuddle Sanctuary. Ever since I first discovered Cuddle Sanctuary back in early 2015, it has been a staple of my wellness practice. More importantly, however, it is an important part of my social calendar. Recently, it struck me that there are a lot of similarities between going to the group events and going out to a bar or club. Let me show you what I mean.
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For both a club and a sanctuary, you can plan to go in advance or just decide the night of the event that you want to go. A sanctuary is like a small-venue club, though, so if you wait until the last minute, there’s a small chance you won’t be able to get in. Intimate clubs often have a cover charge, and a sanctuary does, too. Unlike most clubs, however, the cover charge is all you’ll have to pay for a sanctuary. Also, with our sanctuaries, you can look online and see who’s facilitating the evening’s activities. You can even see a list of some of the people planning to come. What club does that?
When the night comes, you usually feel like you have to dress to impress to go to a club. For a sanctuary, though, you don’t even have to do your hair or make-up if you don’t want to. Put on your comfy pants, your favorite t-shirt, or heck, just show up in your pajamas. Just like a trip out to the club, you can grab your best friend, a few buddies, or just head out by yourself. You can bring some snacks or a book, if you want. Unlike a bar, a sanctuary is a place where, if you really just want to be left alone, everyone is going to respect that.
Kind of like a small club, when you arrive at the venue, the manager on duty greets you almost immediately. Our managers offer you a little taste right away in the form of a hug. Then, just like the club, they check that you’re on the list, take payment if you didn’t pay online, and show you where everything is if you’re not already familiar. Instead of hard wooden stools or cramped vinyl booths, there are cushions and pillows scattered around to sit or sprawl on. Some people already know each other and are chatting like old friends. Others are just as clearly new, looking a little nervous or trying to strike up conversation, too.
Once everyone is inside, the door is closed. The on-duty manager greets everyone once more and introductions are made. Then the rules of the venue are laid out. It is clear that these guidelines are for the safety of all the patrons and attendees must abide by them in order to enjoy all that the venue has to offer.
At both venues, the bar is opened. Their bar is stocked with drinks. Ours is stocked with various types of human interaction and touch. The majority of the clientele start out slowly, maybe just holding hands or sitting back-to-back. A few already know exactly what they like and dive into lots of touch and connection.
As the evening goes on, the full stock of what the venue has to offer is opened up. At a bar or club, this usually just means that the patrons have all loosened up and are drinking more or just getting more boisterous. At our venue, some patrons are deep in conversation. Others are dancing or just enjoying the atmosphere in silence. As promised, there’s an area where one can sit in solitude, guaranteed not to be bothered. There’s a section for those who aren’t sure what they would like and patrons and manager alike visit with them to share conversation or new cuddle positions. In fact, many approach the on-duty manager directly to ask for recommendations, and they are happy to oblige.
When closing time arrives, the on-duty manager checks in with all the patrons. Everyone is feeling at least a little buzzed. At the bar, it’s from alcohol. At Cuddle Sanctuary, it’s due to a boost in oxytocin – the natural feel-good hormone that gets released when you cuddle. Upcoming events and specials are announced. No one is rushed out. Everyone is invited to indulge in one last tasting (one last hug before you go?) and folks are welcomed to chat, hang out, and even dance if they feel like it. You are reminded to make sure that you are safe to drive before you leave. You might exchange phone numbers with new friends, round up some people to go grab a bite to eat after, or just head home and enjoy a beautiful night’s sleep.
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So what do you think? Do you agree with the comparison? As I see it, our “drinks” are the various forms of human contact you can get with us. Our “bar” is stocked with conversation, companionship, handholding, hugs, massage, spooning, and more. Our facilitators act as bartender, manager, and even security, if necessary. You can enjoy as much or as little as you like, and yes, you are welcome to sit by yourself and quietly read a book or hang out with just specific people. Indulging in what a sanctuary has to offer can even leave you with a bit of an oxytocin buzz!
If this helps inspire you to try it out, our venue is open weekly. I hope to see your name on the list some time!