What comes to mind when you hear the word “cuddle?” If you grew up in the U.S., there’s a good chance it conjures something sex-related. And while cuddling and sex can pair pretty awesomely, expanding your definition might just help change the world.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Yoni Alkan on Girl Boner Radio. The sexuality educator, professional cuddler and author of The Book of Cuddles shared that given his Israeli cultural background, he’s found himself resisting hugging certain people—a boss, for example—over the years. Something that’s so common and natural in other cultures and countries is often taboo here in the U.S.
“Definitely, there is touch-aversion in American culture,” he told me when I asked if we’re lacking touch as a result. “We basically teach ourselves to fear touch. And when we talk or think about touch, we immediately think about sex. What cuddling does is de-couples those ideas.”
And that’s just one of cuddling’s mighty perks. A platonic touch practice can also help us strengthen our consent muscles, better connect with others and stand up for our desires, become better lovers and so much more.
I had been looking forward to interviewing Yoni for sometime, but I hadn’t realized just how meaningful our chat would be for me personally. To converse with a man who recognizes the challenges women and femmes tend to face and the importance of gentler definitions of masculinity (all of which have a lot to do with cuddling) struck me to the core, largely because Yoni doesn’t merely talk well about these things. He lives by them.
I could go on and on, but I’d rather you stream the episode! First, here is just one of my favorite excerpts:
“A lot of people say that sex is everything in our lives. Sex, not the act of sex, but sexuality, is a part of every interaction that we have in our lives. If men are taught that they have to be sexual, they have to be conquerers, they have to show their sexual prowess, otherwise they don’t have any value as a man, that’s a big burden. And men carry that burden around every day, daily, all day long. Think about how mind-blowing it is to take that away and just say, ‘Just be.’ Just look inside yourself and say, ‘Okay, let’s say you cannot have sex now, but you can have great intimacy. You can have wonderful connections. And you can have touch. What kind of touch do you want?’ That is a very difficult question for people to answer.” — Dr. Yoni Alkan
Stream the Girl Boner Radio episode on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify or right here: