Confession: I Need More Hot Sweaty . . . Cuddling

cuddle_hug_spoonphoto by Leeni

Speaking of casual cuddling: Our contributor Abby Spector, who is double-majoring in English and Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, has a confession to make:

It has been exactly a year since I last had sex. I didn’t intend on taking a vow of celibacy. Like belly button lint and shocking celebrity deaths (RIP Jacko et al), it just happened. My libido turned off. Kaput. I don’t miss the bruised hipbones, condom debates, or dirty sheets. Hell, I don’t even miss the whole penis and vagina part. All I want is a sweaty body pressed against mine. Unfortunately, it is hard, daresay impossible, to get passionate cuddling sans sexual intercourse. Believe me. I’ve tried.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be the exact opposite. Sex was food and I was starving — starving for stimulation and pleasure, maturity and companionship, confidence and assurance. Sex eased my insecurities (or so I thought). In those moments, I didn’t realize I was using intercourse for this purpose. Reflection came post-coital. It could be days, weeks, even months, but the conclusion was always the same — I regretted sleeping with the person.

I have been with seven people. Out of all seven, there is only one I don’t regret. The others weren’t bad. Actually, most of them were quite good. My mind just wasn’t there to enjoy it. I now realize that there are other, less self-depreciating ways to ease my insecurities. Flirting, French fries, and good friends fill my voids.

But there is one gaping hole that my new cohorts can’t fill. No, not my vagina. (For that I invested in a vibrator.) It’s the passionate cuddling that I miss the most. Naked bodies pressed against one another, sharing sheets, and sweat.

Cuddling is usually expected to lead to sleepovers (or at least that’s what they do in the movies). I have never been a big fan of sleepovers. Something about them seems threatening. First off, there is the morning after. Numerous people have dubbed me the most awkward person in the world. Dried drool, bad breath, and a habit of farting in my sleep don’t ease this innate discomfort. More importantly, though, sleeping requires an extreme release. You have to succumb to fatigue. Masks come off, swords are put down, and you enter another state of mind. I have only slept with one of the people I have “slept” with. Not surprisingly, it is also the only guy I don’t regret.

I consider the kind of sweaty cuddling I desire a step before the sleepover. It’s intimate, but not threatening. I am fully conscious while reaping the benefits of being held. It’s soothing. For me, sex was usually a mirage of lust. I desired the feeling of being desired more than the actual intercourse.

Cuddling provides something else. It is a mirage of love. It’s two people wanting comfort instead of carnal pleasure. A good cuddle requires spending time with someone. Nobody is being “used” or objectified. It’s meant to be soothing, with just a hint of sexy.

Fuck forking and scissoring. The only utensil I need right now is a spoon.

Speaking of spooning: Check out our post from earlier today, When Your Booty Call Wants to Spoon.


  1. When I was getting I was getting random urges to curl up in the laps of my classmates in high school (I solved that by hugging my mother), my father found this website. http://www.cuddleparty.com/
    It is for people who just want some human contact. As the introduction on the front page says “A Cuddle Party is: A structured, safe workshop on boundaries, communication, intimacy and affection. A drug and alcohol-free way to meet fascinating people in a relaxing environment. A laboratory where you can experiment with what makes you feel safe and feel good.

    This playful, fun workshop has been a place for people to rediscover non-sexual touch and affection, a space to reframe assumptions about men and women, and a great networking event to meet new friends, roommates, business partners and significant others.

    Can Cuddle Party restore your faith in humanity? It just might. But at the very least, you’ll have a great time, and leave feeling relaxed and inspired.”

    This sound like just what you need.

  2. Abby, you don’t seem to have an issue with sex to me. There’s good and bad parts to it and for the purposes of this article you highlighted some of the messier bits of the act. In doing so, you were doing nothing but being a good writer. Big ups.

    I read this article because of the title and it sort of sounds like something I’m interested in right now. However, I do wonder what the stats are on how many men actually like casual cuddling. I think alot of them do it (not for the emotional aspect) but so they can get sex later.

  3. The words you’ve used here are very telling. When there is passionate cuddling, it makes sweaty sheets, and you miss that. When there’s “Penis and vagina” (how… clinical…) it makes “dirty sheets” that you don’t miss at all.

    But they’re the same sheets, except for a little wet spot.

    The way you talk about sleeping with someone is also very telling. All this about “swords” and dropping masks and so forth.

    Abby, your life is your own, and I’m not going to tell you that you ought to do anything at all, but Cami is right. You’ve got some rather negative associations with sex, and it’s possible for humans to view sex in a much more positive light, and gain quite a bit of self-actualization from the experience.

    I hope you find a happier place, and I hope you can make healthy, happy sex a part of it.

  4. I know the feeling. The first guy I had sex with only liked to cuddle pre-sex, but when we’d fall asleep, it was with his back to me. Understandable as I needed some space to cool down too, but I always wished I had the option. Now with my current boyfriend, we spend the whole night holding onto each other, regardless of if we’re cold or too hot to even have the sheets on. Since he recently left for a 6 month deployment, I’m already missing the cuddling more than the sex!

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