Cuddle Therapy is Most Desired By…

We all crave some sort of physical attention. But is it possible to get this without having sex?

Personally, I’ve always desired sensual relationships more than sexual. This could be because of my asexual orientation, or simply because I’m a particularly sensitive person. I never really fantasized about sex. I’ve had sex plenty of times, sure, but it was never my preferred method of intimacy. Because of this, I don’t particularly desire anything beyond close friendships. It’s perfectly possible to have an intimate emotional relationship to someone that isn’t a significant other without it leading to sex.

Preferring Sensual Over Sexual

It takes a very rare bond to engage in sensual acts with a friend. An unnameable kind of connection that requires a very specific type of validation. In my case, I tend to crave physical touch from my friends. Instead of getting drunk and having sex with a stranger, I would get drunk and hug my friends a lot. Especially men, because of how myself and plenty of other women have been conditioned to seek male validation in every form.

I remember being with my ex-boyfriend and trying to get him to be sensual with me. He was a very aggressively sexual person, so it always had to turn into some sort of sex act. He wouldn’t be able to cuddle for too long before we ended up with our clothes off. I would try to lay my head in his lap get him to play with my hair, but he just didn’t get it. At the end of the day, I realized I wanted more of a platonic relationship with him and other men I dated, leading to my identification as asexual.

Types of Asexuality

There is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and can range from:

  • Having no desire for sex
  • Sexual attraction to someone only if you have a specific emotional connection
  • Aromantic seek physical non-sexual touch while maintaining romantic attraction
  • Desire for Cuddling and deep emotional conversations, but never a desire to kiss

The existence of sexual acts do not define a relationship, as it’s perfectly possible to have a healthy romantic connection without them.

Cuddling Therapy

There is a market for people who seek intimacy with a stranger. There are also professionals out there who make a living by cuddling people.

A website called advertises “therapeutic, non-sexual cuddle session(s) with a certified professional cuddler”. However, booking a cuddler for $80 an hour might not be as effective as cuddling with someone you love, platonic or not. Platonic intimacy is still grounded in a personal attachment, so to some professional cuddling does not hold the same kind of significance.

The fact that the cuddling website specifies that it is “non-sexual” is a crucial point. In a way, this kind of service almost becomes a type of platonic prostitution, in a sense. While it may not hold the same significance as cuddling with a friend or significant other, it does demonstrate an alternative for a solution to emotional and physical desire, specifically for those who don’t necessarily seek out sex.


Could platonic intimacy lead to something more? Sure. In my experience, romantic crushes can easily develop without any sort of sexual connotation as a result of this kind of intimacy. I’ve always been the type to meet someone and become their friend before becoming romantically attracted to them, as the idea of dating someone for the purpose of getting into a relationship scares me. My desire for the person grows, wanting them close to me physically without even realizing that I’m developing a crush on them. It’s hard to explain how such a thing happens, and as an asexual person it can be hard to distinguish a crush from a desire to love in a platonic way.

Kissing Just to Kiss

In the case of more sexually driven people, however, it can be very common for platonic cuddling to turn into something more. Many people are able to jump from nonsexual intimacy to sex very quickly. I remember trying to explain to someone that I desired to make out with a guy I knew, to which that person replied that maybe I scared him off by wanting to sleep with him. I realized that the mindset that many sexual people have is that kissing leads directly to sex, and in many cases it’s true, but the idea of not going beyond first base is much more desireable to others.

So is it possible to cuddle with a friend or loved one and not have it turn to sex? Absolutely. It honestly depends on the level of the person’s sex drive, and how they identify themselves. For many people including myself, it’s the primary way of demonstrating affection, and can lead to a very special strong emotional bond.

The act of kissing or cuddling with a close friend can be more than enough for some.

My Boyfriend Didn’t Believe I Had an STI

I got the call from my gynecologist while in a van with four of my friends.

I was sitting in the front seat when I got a call from an unknown number. Obviously I don’t usually pick up when there isn’t a caller ID, but for some reason that was the day I decided to do so. I picked up the phone to hear my gyno’s voice.

“I just wanted to let you know that the results of your Pap smear are in. You’ve tested positive for HPV.” He didn’t sugar coat it.

Hanging up the phone in shock, my friends started to ask me what was wrong. I’m really bad at hiding my feelings, so I told them. They encouraged me to call my ex-boyfriend and let him know. So when we pulled over for gas, I got out of the car and called him.

This was not a good time in my life for me. My ex was extremely abusive to the point where I had a breakdown and temporarily moved across the country to get away from him. But even then, he was still torturing me from a distance. He would call me and tell me how much he missed me, but would insert backhanded compliments and straight digs about me at a time where I was extremely vulnerable. I was only 20 then, and he was my first love, so I had no idea how to fully rid myself of him.

He picked up the phone, surprised to hear from me in the middle of the day. His voice was sweet, but I knew it was just a disguise for how menacing he could truly be. I timidly told him the news.

“So my gyno called.”


“And….he said I tested positive for HPV.”

My ex was silent on the other line for a moment. I didn’t know what he would say. I was hoping for some sort of support. Instead, I got questioned.

“Are you sure you got it from me?”

“Yes. You’re the only person I’ve had sex with in the past year.”

“What about the guy you lost your virginity to?”

The guy I lost my virginity to was someone I had sex with when I was 18 to get my first time “out of the way”. He was also a virgin at the time, and ended up coming out of the closet two months later. I got tested immediately after having sex with him, and everything was completely healthy. So there’s no way it could have been him.

Can You Still Have a Good Relationship With Different Sexual Desires?

Is it possible to have a good relationship regardless of the differences in sexual desires?

Sex is all about trying new things. It’s generally good to keep a level of openness regarding the act, considering there is so much to try. It’s about having a good time and being with a person you like and should be treated as such. However, if your partner doesn’t feel comfortable with trying new things, or has tried something before and didn’t like it, it’s important to respect that.

I’ve personally had partners whose ideologies on sex did not entirely line up. One in particular constantly would try to pressure me into trying new sex acts. Sometimes I would try them and like them, but other times I wasn’t entirely comfortable. I’ve learned since then that maintaining open communication is the most important part of experimentation.

It’s totally possible to have a good relationship regardless. If anything, this exploration could bring the two of you even closer together. Coming to a compromise is crucial regarding sex, and allows a stronger bond. At the same time, being open and honest about your desires is what matters the most. If you aren’t comfortable, be sure to communicate, otherwise it will be entirely physically and even emotionally unpleasant for the both of you.

When Partners Refuse to Better Themselves

You can’t dictate your partner’s life.

You want what’s best for them, but sometimes that may not line up with what they decide to do with themselves. Ultimately, they are their own person, and sometimes you have no control over their decisions.

My Experience

I dated someone once who didn’t want to better himself at all. He was comfortable having no ambition, smoking weed and drinking all the time, and working dead end jobs. Believe me, I do not judge for any of that, but the fact that he was a grown adult happy with spending all of his money on liquor and dropping out of college was concerning to me. I wanted to be with someone that I could relate to, and maintain similar desires. He was unhappy, but didn’t want to change.

I encouraged him to go back to school. He said that he would, but didn’t put the effort into applying. I begged him to cut back on drinking, but he continued to drink a lot. He just wanted to get wasted and high all the time. The floor of his room would always be covered in beer cans and weed resin. I didn’t want to live that life.

Not to mention the fact that he cheated on me. He told me after it happened and immediately started crying. He promised to change and never do it again. After that, every party we went to ended up with him making out with multiple people. I wasn’t surprised. A few months passed before he broke up with me.

How to Help a Partner with a Mental Illness

There is such a stigma attached to various mental illnesses.

Most people suffering tend to keep it a secret to those they don’t know, for fear of being labeled as “crazy”. When it comes to having a romantic partner, it can be difficult to open up.

Telling your partner about your struggle takes a lot of bravery and trust. If your partner is understanding, that is a very good sign. If not, they aren’t worth staying with. A good partner is one who accepts every part of you. Because that’s all mental illness is, really. Just another part of what makes you as a person. It dictates your strengths and weaknesses, and controls what makes you tick.

For those of you who have a partner with a mental illness, it can get frustrating at times. You want to be able to help your loved one through their struggle, but it is not always effective. This isn’t your fault. It is just as much out of control for your partner. Mental illness is just like any other illness.

There are plenty of ways that you can support your partner through their struggle. Here is how:

1. Understand that your partner is not one to be “dealt with”.

If that’s the perspective you have about the situation, then that’s already a major issue. No one should have to be dealt with. People are not to be dealt with, mentally ill or not. Instead, learn to cope alongside your loved one. Attempting to escape out of fear will help no one.

2. Educate yourself.

Learning about your partner’s mental illness will help you understand where they’re coming from if they become distant or moody. It will also help you realize that their mood is not to be taken personally, and is typically a side effect of whatever is going on in their head. It will mean the world to your partner, as it shows you are committed and willing to sympathize with them and their struggle.

3. Accept that sometimes there isn’t much you can do to help.

Sometimes someone struggling with mental health problems is consistently in emotional pain. A lot of times, loved ones can give up on them, saying that they don’t know what to say or do. They feel like they’ve exhausted their resources and have no more advice to give. But a lot of the times what a mentally ill person seeks is not advice, but just someone to listen and be physically and emotionally there for them.

4. Communicate openly with your partner.

Allow them to communicate with you. Encourage them to speak their mind and tell you exactly how they’re feeling. Listening to them can help them make sense of what’s going on in their brain, and your support and open mind will help them recover from any sort of anxiety or panic they may be feeling.

5. Help them help themselves.

Encourage them to seek therapy, go to support groups, and generally reach out when they need it. As stated earlier, sometimes there isn’t much you yourself can do, and getting them to seek professional help is sometimes the best solution if things get particularly bad. Go with them to the doctor if they ask you to or are afraid to go alone. If they’re in a really bad place and feel suicidal, don’t hesitate to take them to a hospital. Not doing so is harming rather than helping, and it’s imperative that you support them through trying times.

6. Create a safe environment.

Every human being is entitled to feel safe and loved. Sometimes those with a mental illness feel that they do not deserve this basic right, that they are evil or unworthy of love. This simply isn’t true. A safe environment is crucial in the physical and emotional sense. Don’t get mad or frustrated with them so much that they are afraid to come to you in times of crisis. Maintain a safe space where they feel open and comfortable, and unafraid to be vulnerable. In addition, helping them create a good physical environment is also important.

7. Check in on them.

Reminding them to take their pills or eat or any other necessity is a great way to show them that you truly love them. Sometimes your partner may feel overwhelmed or distracted, and will honestly forget. You don’t need to become their keeper, but simple reminders are a healthy way to express how much you care about them.

8. Do not gaslight them.

This is a form of abuse. If there are legitimate problems in your relationship unrelated to your partner’s struggle, do not write it off as just something they’re “imagining” or “making up” as a result of their illness. Let them air their legitimate concerns, and if you are at fault for something bad going on in both of your lives, take responsibility and don’t dismiss your partner’s feelings by insisting that it’s just part of their illness.

9. Don’t tiptoe around them.

You are not on thin ice or walking on eggshells. It is usually not your fault if your partner has any sort of panic or anxiety attack. Treat them how you would treat any significant other, with honesty and love. People dealing with mental illness genuinely want to be treated normally, and doing otherwise can even become a source of your partner’s anxiety.

10. Love them for who they are.

There is way more to your partner than their mental illness. You fell for them for a reason, and what you love about them should be your primary focus. Don’t treat them like freaks because of their struggle. Support them, but also do everything you can to maintain a loving a healthy relationship. They will do the same.

What is My Sexuality Anyway?

I know if I stuck to one label one day I would just begin to question it the next day.

The idea of sexuality has been widely established as a spectrum. According to a majority of people, everyone is a little bit gay or straight or whatever. Some people even pull the “who needs labels in the first place” card. The answer to that is, well, a lot of people. Labels are important to a lot of people to properly establish who they feel they are. But those labels can change.

I’ve talked before about how I identify as asexual. I came out as a biromantic asexual on Facebook to my friends and family not long ago. But now I’m even beginning to question that. I’m starting to think there isn’t a label for me.

And I am a person who needs a label. When I was told by a psychiatrist that I had bipolar disorder, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I needed that label. I needed to establish my identity. And when he saw how badly I needed it, he gave me that.

The concept of my sexuality is a much different thing than my mental affliction, but I’ve dealt with the same thing regarding labels. The mental illness thing was easy to pinpoint. My label as far as who I am in regards to who I’m attracted to, not so much.

I came out a bisexual when I was thirteen. My parents were very accepting of me and said they would support me no matter who I would eventually bring home, but they didn’t take it seriously. For years I had to defend to my mother that it wasn’t a phase and that I wasn’t going to go “one way or another” when I eventually settled down. I don’t blame her for it at all, she just used to not fully understand how bisexuality worked.