THE CUDDLE RAVE MANIFESTO v0.1b

The goal of the cuddle rave is to create a field of continuous negotiation of consent as well as of continuous exploration and experience of touch, bodies, boundaries and skinship.

The cuddle rave is predicated on the perception that through the shift of living habits since the industrialization, people may have become undertouched, disembodied and that their touch and being-in-the-body may be subject to immediate objectification and being projected-upon. The hypernormalized conditions in so-called developed society have made physical touch into something either transgressive or necessarily sexualized, simplifying our interactions with urban half-strangers but robbing us of nuance in an important frequency band of communication and being-together.

The cuddle rave makes the question explicit: when is it ok to touch which part of whom how - and presents this question not as one to be answered but as a process, to be continuously applied as a local, transitory collective during the cuddle rave and, perhaps, beyond.

This is perhaps to sensitize the participants to the power of wordless touch. Most of our laws are codified in words, yet physical interaction is often governed by a tensing of the shoulders here, a more or less or not at all inviting glance there. It is often difficult and, perhaps to some, cumbersome to establish explicit verbal consent. To do without it, at least in a constant sense, requires a distinct sharpening of one’s sensibilities pertaining to body language.

When you enter the cuddle zone, you give consent to having touch initiated innocuously. When in doubt, start with a gentle resting of your fingertips against someone’s hands. Any further consent needs to be developed collaboratively. You can remove yourself from the cuddle zone at any point.

The nature and quality of touch is to be negotiated at every moment, ideally also through touch - if you’re uncomfortable with anybody’s touch, gently move away their hand with your hand or move your body away from theirs. You can also show the person touching you how you would rather be touched - they will do the same with you. Find a comfortable cuddle position and distance that works best for all the involved.

If somebody is signaling you that they would rather not be touched, not be touched more, not be touched in a particular place, touched more gently, you must respect this immediately. No one‘s body is there as a service for your enjoyment. You do not have the right to intimacy, intimacy is grown into.

While the cuddle rave is, too, about feeling comfortable with closeness, touch and accepting people in their entirety, we kindly ask participants to refrain from overt sexual acts and move to a different space if things get more intense between them.

Rejection of the initiation of a new realm of cuddling does not imply rejection of the person outright, just of the immediate experience of said touch. Conversely, acceptance of said touch does not imply consent to further touches - every touch is felt, every touch is negotiated - continuously.

©2019 Andri Schatz