My co-blogger ThePrairieGay and I were discussing the value of cuddling this week. It seems a woman in Portland is offering her services as a professional cuddler to the general public.
“What I do is meant to do a similar thing that massage does but for the mind. It’s meant to really relax you and keep you centered and balanced and help you with your sense of self-worth,” Hess said.
“It’s not sexual”
Hess will cuddle and converse with you for a dollar a minute but service stops there.
Here is the interesting thing: Cuddling is actually really good for you. Nevermind the mental health benefits like making you feel happy and loved, it has actual health befits as well. Stop laughing. Most notably, it can reduce your blood pressure and reduce your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that makes your body freak out and not process foods and fats the correct way. If you have a big belly – chances are you’re either you have bad genetics, you’re a lazy bastard, or you work in a really really stressful job. That has actual impacts on your health. Cortisol and I know each other quite well, because when I’m on campaigns I have increased Cortisol levels and I gain weight. Increased belly fat makes your blood pressure go up and it is bad for your heart.
Another interesting effect is an increase of oxytocin. So, when we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. And according to the TED Talk (below) by Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, oxytocin could be “the moral molecule” which impacts the our ability to trust and feel empathy. And hey – it may even help make us better people.
My co-blogger and I have decided we need an app like Grindr but only for cuddling. Totally non-sexual. No hook-ups. Zero. Only clothed cuddling. And you don’t need to post photos of your sexy chest and your big thick junk – but descriptions of your big arms and heightened sense of compassion are likely a plus. Cuddlr would allow people to find others in their area who just need a hug and who want to curl up with someone.
To read more about the Having It Both Ways Project, please visit here.
While I was home for Thanksgiving I went to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The table was filled with new faces – all friendly, welcoming, and open-minded folks, which typically means its going to be great conversation. As the sakki flowed, my friend introduced me and told them “She’s a blogger and writes about all kinds of sex, and relationships, and toys and everything!” My inner southerner blushed a little, not yet use to people knowing me from my dating life and lacking love life.
The questions came and I told them about the Having It Both Ways Project. I talked a little about the men I find interesting – and my bizarre fascination with infidelity and monogamy. Within that context, I asked one of the men (married to an incredibly beautiful wife that was sitting next to him) “So explain men to me…” What he said was so astute and interesting I actually reached for my phone to take notes under the table.
“Men lie to themselves about what they really want and need. I mean, I try very hard not to, but most don’t even realize they do it….. They convince themselves that they have to do the manly thing which, in their mind, is synonymous with the right thing. They have to take care of the woman … there are obligations… etc”
I was kind of shocked and amazed at what makes perfect sense about so many of the men, married or unmarried, that I know. But then again…. I’m not entirely certain it’s unique to gender. I think we all lie to ourselves. We all convince ourselves of what we really want to be true or maybe what should be true; sometimes so much so that we actually grow to believe it. And it isn’t unique to relationships either. We’re happy in our jobs because… after all it’s a steady pay check with benefits, who am I to complain if x happens or y happens. A lawyer should be happy in her chosen profession because she spent so much time and money to be a lawyer. A couple should be happy because they have a big house and a nice fancy car because so many other people don’t have those things.
It brings a mind to wonder, the people who do lie to themselves, is it a form of survival or is it more about “fake it until you make it”? I don’t want to advocate this idea that we should break up a family every time someone gets annoyed with their partner, but I wonder what our culture would be like if we all stopped trying to fit into a mold of what we’re supposed to be and instead of what we think we should be.
Gallup’s poll of Happiness