Keep your pants on! If you’re not cuddling strangers you’re out ...

World

Keep your pants on! If you’re not cuddling strangers you’re out of touch

I tried one of these parties, and it turns out they’re not a kinky free-for-all but all about connection – and consent

Margi Murphy

“I have a proposal,” one man suggests, earnestly. “How about we make a sandwich with you in the middle and us on either side?”

It is 5pm on Saturday in San Francisco and 23 people have gathered at the “cuddle castle” for a party run by Yoni Alkan. The 40-year-old has been throwing sold-out cuddle parties (and one-on-one consensual touching sessions) for three years.

The figurative castle is not a kinky free-for-all. Yoni’s consultancy is as much about consent as it is touching strangers. Many of Yoni’s clients are in their 20s and working in technology, an industry filled with mathematical geniuses but lacking in emotional intelligence. Just as Silicon Valley wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg depends on assistants to hold a hairdryer to his armpits ahead of public speaking, some engineers admit social interactions can be a challenge...

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