Cuddle puddle therapy? Consensual touch is nurturing and necessary to a happy life. Just as babies need to be held to survive so do adults. Fight loneliness and find a bed buddy. It doesn’t have to be sexual. It’s medically proven that sleeping next to someone lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your heart, and emotional health. Besides lovers, I have a few special friends that I share my bed with.

I find comfort sleeping in the same room with others. Like a pack of sleeping wolves, a den of hibernating bears, or even the snuggle pile in the “Where the wild things are” movie.

It’s wonderful to know you are safe and warm with people and creatures you love. Dogs and cats are the best snugglers. They need our warmth and affection. I fall asleep every night with 6 purring cats. Three are mine and the others belong to my roommates, but all of them call my bed home at night.

The bed practically vibrates like a cheap coin operated heart shaped motel bed. My little Lola sleeps right on my neck every night. I love them so much, we are a family. It’s just the best.

Slumber parties with 20 little giggling boy crazy mean girls in a family living room remind me of this type of pack sleeping as well. I’ll never forget the terrifying bathroom games of Bloody Mary, sappy chick flick teen movies, I learned who the Spice Girls were at Sheri Tudor’s slumber party in 4th grade.

That shit was life altering. Being scared to sleep at a different house. Falling asleep meant certain underwear freezing or getting your hand in warm water. Now if you get drunk and pass out first you will get big veiny dicks drawn on your face and possibly your whole body.

I love other people’s snoring. Hearing the one you love fart in his sleep is also so beautiful. Sleeping with someone is being 100% vulnerable. You have no control over what your body does when it is in resting state. Night terrors, sweating, drool puddles, thrashing, blanket hogging, explosive farting, wet dreams, and snoring symphonies are all possibilities in any given night. Watching someone sleep isn’t as creepy as it sounds, it’s beautiful serenity.

I just slept in a small cabin while camping with my parents. Sleeping in the same room with those two sawing wood all night. It brought me back to a childhood innocence and safety. I remember being very little and crawling in bed with my parents and the family dog, a 120 pound lovable redbone coon hound named Sampson. That queen sized bed was full of love. I wasn’t scared of bumps in the night then.

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The Great Blue Heron music festival in Sherman NY is a great place to cuddle in tents and meet new friends. Waking up in a tent with someone is magical. I had the honor of hanging out at the Skilletnation campsite: a group of musicians turned into entanglement of beautiful hippies in a series of hammocks hung on top of each other.

The air wafting in the funk of that last day of the festival. Dirty feet and fingernails. One heartbeat. All sharing an apparent and genuine love for one another. At one point I was sitting in a chair next to the mass and felt like the attendant at a McDonald’s ball pit, except I was handing up packed bowls of weed, flasks full of whiskey, and musical instruments up the web of hammocks.

People pay cuddlers. I’ve seen ads on Craigslist. Cuddle clubs and cuddle parties exist. Internet cuddle buddy sites are popping up. Cuddle parties have a trained leader that helps facilitate the cuddle party with ice breaker games and non sexual massaging. These parties create an atmosphere of mutual respect and teach the importance of boundaries and consent.

It feels so good to hold and be held. To entangle your legs with another. Sexual or not it’s important to feel safe and secure. To fall asleep to the sound of breathing and another heartbeat. Knowing that if you needed them they are right there, safe in your arms. Embrace one another and open yourself up to a happier existence. Sweet dreams.

Featured image from Gabi Gauer.

Hey, buddy. How you doing? Look, I think we need to have a little talk. I know you’ve been feeling pretty down the last few days, and that’s perfectly understandable. You lost someone really close to you, and grieving is very natural. But it’s not all bad. I want to tell you about a special place. It’s a place called Pet Heaven, and it’s where dogs and cats and all the other pets go when they die. Well, except that hamster you had a few years back. That hamster was into some messed up shit.

Anyway, champ, Pet Heaven is a wonderful, marvelous place, where all the animals frolic and play together. They all get along together, and there are always Frisbees flying and there are balls of yarn as far as the eye can see.

In Pet Heaven, the dogs have all the cats they can chase up all the trees they can pee on. And the trees are filled with as many birds as all the cats can eat. And for the pet birds, there are more bugs than they could ever dream of feasting on. There’s no pet bugs, though. Having a bug as a pet is just weird, and pet bugs go to straight to Pet Hell. Much like their weirdo owners go straight to People Hell.

So dry those tears, sport. In Pet Heaven, cans of tuna open just by looking at them with a smug sense of detachment. And of all the many things there are to lick peanut butter off of, none of them come with a troubling moral quandary. There is plenty of shit to roll around in, and you only get groomed if you want to. Also, the pet spas don’t have aggressively awful puns for names.

See, things don’t seem so dire now, do they, tiger? In Pet Heaven, the vacuum cleaner was never invented. Thunder sounds like someone telling you that you’re good and it rains Friskies and warm milk. You can hump anything you want without getting sprayed by water and when you give birth to a litter no one judges you, no matter how many of your babies you eat.

There’s nothing so pretentious and presumptuous as vegan pet food in Pet Heaven. In fact, it’s the personal, ironic Hell of the inventor of vegan pet food and every day his body parts are ground up to make extra meaty selections chow.

All the fish and turtles that have ever been flushed flow right on over to Pet Heaven. The fish swim free and boundlessly in sparkling, clear water without ever again having to breathe their own poop. The turtles bask in the sun-drenched rocks, drinking in the warmth and fresh air. Happily they nod to each other, fish and turtle, content because here there is no memory of being abandoned for a real pet.

It doesn’t matter if you were squished by a car, shot by mistake on a hunting trip, or starved because the neighbour forgot to feed you while your owners were vacationing in Spain, all pets are healthy and able bodied in Pet Heaven. There are no vaccination shots, no fleas and no big dumb cones to wear around your head. And your balls? Yep, right back where they’re supposed to be.

So you see, old chap, there’s no reason to be sad. As happy as all these pets were in life, they’re even happier now and we should be happy for them. Because there’s no happier place in the world than Pet Heaven. Do you feel a bit better now? From now on, whenever it starts to get you down, just think of all I’ve told you about Pet Heaven and that’s sure to cheer you up. Think of all the animals running and playing and being joyful. I’m glad I got to talk to you about this wonderful place, and that now you know where your grandpa went.

Photo by bunchofpants via Flickr