Cuddles

This last year I haven’t kept up on the blog very well. I tried, but I had a lot going on. I spent the month of January traveling around Australia. Then I went home and wrote and published a novel that I had been meaning to create. Then I packed up my house and did the mountains of paperwork required for a military PCS. And finally, I spent the holidays traveling around the US seeing friends and family.

It’s been hard to get Internet access on my laptop (which I haven’t even always had with me) and it’s been hard to have a space to sit down and write.

However, I hope to move into temporary housing soon in my new home (which is Oahu, Hawaii.) I should have more time to write once that happens.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about today is cuddles. My husband hasn’t been with me for any of my travels, and I’ve mostly been without a romantic partner. That doesn’t mean that I have been alone. In fact, for much of the time I was with friends.

However, I felt awkward asking them for the cuddles.

That’s a bad thing because humans really need physical contact to be happy. It’s an important part of our well-being because it creates oxytocin (a chemical that is associated with love and joy.)

So, why couldn’t I just ask?

My friends in Australia were straight females, and I knew that if I asked for cuddles, they would think I was hitting on them. I didn’t want to do that because they would be upset about it.

My friend in Colorado -whom I stayed with- actually probably needed cuddles too, but it was her house and so I felt like it needed to be her that reached out… and she didn’t.

My friends in Arizona… well, one of them is like a brother to me and I should have been able to ask him for cuddles, but I was afraid he would think I actually meant sex. I’m never sure how to draw that line nicely, without giving offense. (I mean- I think of him as a brother, but I don’t think that’s how he thinks of me.)

Another friend I stayed with… I’ve actually always wanted to have sex with him, but we’ve been friends for twenty years and never had sex, and I was worried it might damage our friendship. I didn’t ask him for cuddles because I thought I might cross a line if we cuddled… and his St. Andrews Cross was, like, right there. So, temptation and all that.

There was this one guy; and he was smoking hot. I mean; he’s crazy-beautiful. We met online because he’s a friend of a friend, and I went to talk to him about doing the audiobook for my new novel. Seeing him in person and seeing his beautiful hair cascading over his perfect shoulders… I wanted him so bad. But the conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t fuck up business with sex. And besides, he had a roommate who seemed to be really keen to hang pretty close to us.

It got me thinking: We put up a lot of obstacles to physical affection.

I mean, we’re just full of excuses for why physical affection isn’t appropriate! In Oregon I cuddled up to a good friend of mine who I know from my time in South Korea. It was a non-sexual cuddle as it always is. I just wanted to feel close to him and so I rested my head on his shoulder and put my arms around him. This is something we’ve done for ages, but his girlfriend was not pleased. In fact, she took a picture of us and showed my husband the picture and her anger about it (he laughed at her, but that’s not the point.)

What I’m trying to say is that humans need cuddles to be happy, and we should all stop acting like we don’t. It should be acceptable to just go up and cuddle a friend, even if they have a significant other or if they are straight and you are gay. Non-sexual (and also sexual) cuddling should be way less stigmatized.

Another reason it’s messed up that asking for cuddles is so awkward is because you can pay for cuddles. There is apparently nothing that we won’t commodity in a Capitalist society, and cuddling has become a job that you can do for money. If that doesn’t drive home the true soulless nature of our society, I don’t know what does.

I’m just so grossed out with how cold and distance the world seems. How can we be happy when we’re so isolated from ourselves and from each other? It shouldn’t be this way.

I admit, I am older. But, I’m not going to blame the Internet like everyone else does. Yes, we can interact online now in addition to interacting in person. But if you ask me, all that has done is improve dating (by narrowing it down to mostly people you want prior to meeting.) I don’t think the Internet is the issue here, because the icy nature of life was more apparent to me in person than it ever has been through a computer.

Perhaps it’s just because so many countries are experiencing depression-era conditions. I did notice a huge increase in the tent cities people are living in, and I talked to homeless folks who work 40 hours a week and still can’t afford a place to live. So, it’s possible that the low wages and high cost of living have left people too stressed out to form meaningful emotional bonds.

It could be the divisive nature of things lately. I know that I lost a life-long friend because I refused to support Trump. He went all racist and crazy, and I couldn’t handle it. Another person I care deeply for has fallen into the MRA movement, and we all know what scum they are. I used to love him, and it hurts me deeply to see him claiming outlandish things (like saying feminists “hate men,” and refusing to listen to the truth that we just want equality for all.) There is A LOT of racist and sexist rhetoric out there, and it could be pushing people apart.

And as for the paid cuddles, I can’t tell if that is part of the problem (commodification of a thing makes it seem inappropriate for free) or if it’s just a symptom (since no one wants to cuddle or feels comfortable cuddling, people will pay for it.)

I also know that I personally avoided some sex I wanted to have out of fear of STIs. There are some incurable strains going around, and I just don’t want to bring creepy-crawlies home to the husband.

I don’t know what-all is causing this lack of cuddles and sex and affection.

All I know is, it fucking sucks. This was the least cuddly year I have ever had, and I hated it. And, I don’t know… I just think I can’t be the only person who is lonely.

So, maybe talk to your friends about it? Bring it up? Maybe we can all just admit that leaning against another human on the couch while watching TV is a nice thing to be able to do, and we should all do it more?

I think we’d all feel better.

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