When unemotional hookups are common practice and emotional touching beyond handshakes are not a part of culture, where can people, and specifically gay and bi men, go to experience soothing touch and intimacy?
A club in London is addressing this issue by providing a safe place for gay and bi men to touch each other in a way that promotes comfort, warmth and a true human connection – the Gay Cuddle Club.
Although it may sound a bit out-of-the-box to touch strangers, this club is not something frivolous. The power of touch is backed by science and can have serious impacts on mental and physical health:
According to research from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Institute, “touch activates the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion.
“Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger the release of oxytocin, aka ‘the love hormone.’”
Miguel Chavez, 43, started the Gay Cuddle Club to reconnect the city’s men to the concept of intimacy back in 2014. The club has over 5000 members on its events page and its gatherings can bring together groups of 40 or more men.
According to their page, “ This is a group for any gay/bi men interested in spirituality, love, cuddles, energy healing, intimacy, connection with other gay men in London. We will nourish ourselves [sic], look into each other eyes, recognise the beauty in everyone and everything, guide us into feelings of freedom, peace, love, healing.”
The club is meant to be completely non-judgmental: “I started this as a space where we can connect differently – where it doesn’t matter if you’re a top, or bottom, or masc or skinny.”
Miguel Emphasizes that the club is not sexual in any manner but really is about having a spiritual connection with others.
He told Gay Star News, “With intimacy, people think it has to come with sex. Because all the time you have intimacy, you have sex.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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