How I Learned To Cuddle

Well, not yet. But I might be on my way there.

Well, not yet. But I might be on my way there.

“I think you meant you need cuddling, not coddling,” read his text. He was wrong. I did not need to be cuddled; I needed to be coddled immediately. I needed to be subdued, brought back in from the emotional ledge and gently patted on my head with words that assured me that the distress of the moment would pass. But he wouldn’t listen. “Cuddling,” he insisted, was going to solve it all, and he was going to teach me how to cuddle and even force me to hold his hand, too. I cringed. He knew my stance on cuddling, but he was determined to break that down.

It was not the thought of him that pulled at my stomach muscles and made them clench in preparation to fight off nausea, but the image of his 6’2” frame draped over my body; his long limbs perhaps even entangled in mine. Where would my face be? How could I breathe? What if he swallowed just as loudly as I did? Would that be weird? Why is swallowing such a strange sound? Why must people feel the need to suffocate the epidermis? It needs air, dammit!

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about my fear of cuddling. I didn’t realize just how close it was to being a full year until I looked back at the essay; it seems much longer than just 361 days ago.

Since writing the original piece there have been a lot of changes in my personal life. I lost a major component, was forced to move on without him and because of this, started allowing new people into my world. As I said, it seems far longer than a year considering all the stuff I have crammed into the last 12 months.

With the aforementioned component subtracted, I have been dating – as Dating Hijinks has detailed – and had some, er, interesting situations with the men I’ve met. It’s also been with these men that I’ve been forced to explain my aversion to cuddling. While some guys almost find relief in not having to do the obligatory “hold me for at least 10 minutes after sex” thing, others insist on it. However, no one has pinned me down to cuddle with such adamant vigor like my new friend Brendan. It doesn’t matter what I say, or how clear I am that my cuddling is only reserved for my nephews and Hubbell; he’s determined to fix that: I am going to learn to cuddle. I am currently in the beginning stages of this soon-to-be miraculous transformation.

We started with the basics; that, of course, was spooning. Can we all just point out what a stupid term that is? I understand the reason behind the word, but it doesn’t make it any less dumb. I digress.

So there I was in my bed, on my side with this fella’s body lined up along my back as if ready to be my spine if I were to lose it halfway through the exercise. I sighed loudly, pulled my shoulders up to my ears the way I do when I’m uncomfortable and wondered how long I’d have to be trapped there. Before I could ask that question, Brendan told me we were staying put until I could relax my shoulders. I never had a chance to relax; I fell asleep instead. I was shocked, but he was not.

I’m not sure how he was able to keep me in his clutches the whole time, but when I woke up a few hours later we were still in the same position. I was comfortable and pushed my hips backward and even closer to his, which made him tighten his grip. We high-fived when we finally got out of bed.

But the lessons were hardly over.

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    • Ms. Pants

      I’m rather “hands off” as well. You’re shocked, I know.

      Thing is, I can cuddle with my girl-space-friends, no prob. Tangled, spooned, entwined, layered, whatever–if I’m with one of my female friends (with whom there has been no naked time), I have no issue at all and will probably nap like a baby.

      Same situation with a male? I’ve got the grumpy-cat-sniffin’-onions look on my face, rock-rigid muscles, and heightened awareness of skin-to-skin contact as it becomes warm, sticky, and sweaty. It’s fucking miserable.

      But I’d totally high five a dude. ;-p

    • jamiepeck

      Cuddling with randos is weird. Cuddling with someone you like/love is the best thing ever.

      • Amanda Chatel

        I’m starting to realize this. MY HEART IS MELTING. I’m scared I’ll drown.

    • MR

      Yeah, we always do an extra round, the morning after during some of the weekdays. Just before she gets up and leaves to walk her dog.