Cuddle Party

When I started to advertise Glasgow’s first Cuddle Party at the start of this month on social media, what amazed me was the response. I naively thought that the event would be uncontroversial.

 

But uniquely, people with whom I had no connection shared the posts, even though they often did so with comments like “being hugged by strangers is my worst nightmare”. Not one but two Glasgow Herald journalists got in touch with us. One of their leading journalists, Rohese Devereux Taylor, wrote a half page article on the event, which was beautifully objective and fair. (there’s a link to the article on the Home Page of my website www.loveandsexcoaching.co.uk ). Radio Scotland interviewed us, and again, were fair and enquiring, rather than the sensationalism we were apprehensive about (and familiar with). 

 

The readers of the Evening Times were cordially flabbergasted at our effrontery. Reader Betty McCormick opined “Omg, what is coming to Glasgow next?”. Reader Fergus Thomson was of the view “ the lunatics have taken over the asylum”.

 

I had no idea cuddling was so radical.

 

We eventually sold 25 tickets, and there were 30 of us gathered in The Clubroom, a beautiful dance space, within the CCA on a wet Sunday afternoon on 2 February. My dear friend Stella Sonnenbaum, who has been running these events in London monthly for the past five years, facilitated the event, and I assisted her.

 

We started with a sharing circle, where we all took turns to say our names, what had brought us here, what we hoped to get out of it, and any anxieties which we had. Other than me, none of the participants had been to a Cuddle Party before.

 

After that, we went over the rules of Cuddle Party. There are 12 of them, but the essentials are that the participants stay clothed, there is no sexual touch and we only accept touch if we actively want it.

 

We then got into groups of three, where we took turns to  practice asking for how we would like to touch, or to be touched. In the first round, our partners would give us a No, in the second round they would give us a Yes (nothing happening in either case), and in the third round, when we asked, our partners would give an authentic Yes or No. It is a great opportunity to practice saying Yes and No, to experience hearing Yes and No, and not to be crushed by feelings of compliance, resentment, embarrassment or shame. As the great Betty Martin says, if you can’t say No, your Yes isn’t worth anything.

 

After that was the free section, where each of us could ask for the touch we wanted. When I looked around after my experience with my group of three, I was surprised to find that everyone else appeared to have scarpered to the refreshment area next door. After a little while however, people started coming back in, interacting with each other. What was so beautiful to see was how tenderly feeling it all was. Some people were spooning in groups of three or four, some people were hugging, and there was a tangible feeling of gentleness, connection and warmth in the room.

 

The last part of the workshop was the Cuddle pile. This is what is depicted in the photograph. One person lies down in the middle of the room, then the rest of us lie in connection with that person, and each other, and we’re then still for 5 minutes or so. It’s wonderful!

 

And that was it. We got lovely feedback. One participant later said:

 

“I had a wonderful time at the cuddle party at CCA, thanks to you and Stella, it was such a great experience, felt really safe and well facilitated and actually such a space for exploration and growth in a lot of ways I think”. 

 

Due to the response, Stella recommended that I arrange another Cuddle Workshop as soon as possible, and I have: it’s on Sunday 15 March 2-5pm at In The Moment Yoga Studio, 72 Berkeley Street, Glasgow G3 7SD. I’ll facilitate it. The cost is the same as before, £14, and payment is in advance. Places are limited, so if you’re interested, please contact me. You can email me through the website, or at johnwebberfraser@gmail.com, or text me on 07545707751.

 

Be part of something new. And radical, apparently.

 

The First Cuddle Party was held 16 years ago in America, and since then, it has spread around the World. And now, at last, it is about to come to Glasgow, on Sunday 2 February, 2-5pm at the CCA, facilitated by Stella Anna Sonnenbaum, who has been running these events monthly in London for the past five years.

 

Cuddle Party is a non sexual, clothed event, part workshop, part social gathering, that offers participants an opportunity to experience personal exploration and connection with like minded individuals, in a relaxed, friendly environment that teaches and models personal boundaries, and where a safe and warm atmosphere is maintained at all times. At Cuddle Parties, everyone is encouraged to engage in communication and touch, in a non threatening, share affirming format.

 

The event begins with a Sharing Circle, where everyone is introduced to the “rules of cuddling”. For example, that you don’t have to cuddle anyone, and you must ask permission and receive a verbal “Yes” before you touch anyone.

 

There are then some exercises to teach communication and boundary skills in a fun and light hearted way, and then a free form part, where you can relax, chat, share consensual touch, cuddle, snack, or just hang out.

 

It is a lovely way to receive lots of consensual touch, to learn how to ask for what you want, and to practice saying Yes and No, and having this respected.

 

There is lots more information on Stella’s website, including interviews, newspaper articles and suchlike

 https://stellawithlove.com/cuddle-party/ https://stellawithlove.com/cuddle-party

which has articles on the slider at the bottom.

 

If you have any queries, please just contact me, either by email (johnwebberfraser@gmail.com) or text 07545707751

 

Tickets are on sale through the CCA http://www.cca-glasgow.com/programme/everybody-loves-cuddle-party-workshop

 

Early booking is recommended, as we have already had a lot of interest.

The Sex Lectures are the creation of Alison Pilling, and were brought into being in 2018 by a collaborative effort between her and Roger Bygott, a Manchester visual and interdisciplinary artist and dancer.

Alison’s intention was to manifest a place where people could talk about sexuality in all its many aspects, in a way which was friendly and open, neither too sleazy nor too spiritual; a place where people could be challenged, but not confronted.

So far, there have been seven events in Manchester. The evening at the CCA on 23 November will be the first in Scotland. Events are planned for London next year.

The CCA is a perfect location. Urban, arty, risk taking, and at the same time welcoming and friendly. In Manchester, the Events have been held at The International Anthony Burgess Centre and The Whitworth Art Gallery. Not in a basement with sticky carpets.

If you go on YouTube and search ‘The Sex Lectures’ – and you should – you’ll find 31 of the talks that have already been given, with topics such as:

Vulnerability and Intimacy

Orgasm Re-imagined

The Art Of Love And Desire

The Joys Of Real Communication

Sex, Risk & Writing

Female Sexuality & Osho

How To Love A Vagina

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Sex

Touch Changes Lives

In assembling speakers for the CCA event, Alison has tried to maintain this kind of diversity and eclecticism. So, there will be something about Art, something about Porn Addiction, something about Authenticity, something about Consent..incredibly varied, and because each talk is only 12 minutes long, even if something doesn’t quite float your boat, there’ll be another one along shortly.

There are only 60 tickets available, and over half have been sold as at 4 November, so if you want to be part of something new, go to https://ccaglasgow.ticketsolve.com/shows/873613215/events/

Of all the forms of unhappiness in our society, sexual unhappiness is the most tragic, because it is so widespread, and because it is avoidable.

We are taught that sexuality is about bodies, techniques and orgasms. It’s not true: primarily, it is about expression of the deepest aspects of ourselves, and the overcoming of a profound loneliness and isolation through heartful, embodied connection.

In this workshop, I will join forces with my friend and fellow sex coach Alison Pilling ( www.sexschoolforgrownups.com) to teach Couples how to enable their erotic lives to flourish and deepen.

We will teach you about Mosher’s sexual styles, so you can understand and appreciate the different ways human beings are in their sexuality, rather than see difference as a sign of failure or disappointment.

We will introduce you to the Wheel Of Consent, which can dramatically enhance clear communication with your partner.

We will teach you different ways to touch, and how to greatly widen your touch vocabulary.

We will show you how you can expand your idea of what touch is, so it becomes a source of creativity and innovation, rather than repetition.

We will introduce you to the Wheel Of Sexuality, opening you up to a vast landscape of variety and connection.

We will give you a series of practical, heartful exercises which you can practice at home.

This is the only workshop that Alison and I will be offering in Scotland until Autumn 2020,  we’re inviting 12 couples to spend time with us, enjoying learning new ways of relating.

To book, please email johnwebberfraser@gmail.com or text 07545707751

 

I gave a brief Introduction yesterday to The Wheel Of Consent for Glasgow’s Embodiment Circle. This is a lovely group of practitioners who are all concerned with the body, in its widest sense. So, we had a shiatsu practitioner, a qi gong teacher, a contact improvisation teacher, amongst others.

it was a chance for me to try things out for the two daylong workshops I’m giving at The Wee Retreat in November: a day long Wheel Of Consent Workshop on 16 November, and a workshop for Couples, which I’m running with my friend and fellow Sex Coach Alison Pilling on 24 November, who will be in Glasgow anyway to compère The Glasgow Sex Lectures at the CCA the previous evening.

One of the fundamentals of The Wheel Of Consent is an exercise called a The Three Minute Game. In this game, people pair up, and take turns to ask the other a question. This question is either:

”How would you like to touch me?”

or

”How would you like to be touched?”

The other then answers the question by saying, for example “ I’d like to stroke your hair”, and, subject to clarification and – critically: it is The Wheel Of Consent – informed by a consent which is positive, enthusiastic, in the moment and readily withdraw-able, the participants then engage in this for three minutes, then swop over.

The game is simplicity itself, but it’s also very deep. It challenges us to say what we actually want, rather than say what we ought to want, or what we feel won’t upset the other person, or what we feel is appropriate, because we can have confidence that the other person will say no if they can’t give their enthusiastic consent, and will tell us when that consent lapses.

But here’s the thing: what we ask for is obviously restricted to what we think is possible to ask for, and that in turn is restricted by limiting ideas that we have about what touch is and what it’s for, and more generally, what the body is, and what it’s for.

Something which Alison and I will do in our workshop for Couples is try to teach how to expand our touch vocabulary. We will talk about how to touch with different parts of the body ( the hair, the fingernails, the palm of the hand and so on), how to touch with a particular intention (nurturing, seductive, enquiring etc) and various other things, but I’ve recently come to think that there’s something more fundamental: when we restrict touch to being about body sensation alone ( and hence regard the body as being a kind of sensation machine) we miss something absolutely fundamental, not just in our intimate lives, but everywhere: the body is the soul. What I mean by that is that our body, all of it, is the repository of our dreams, our images, our feelings, our imaginings: everything. And touch is – or should be – one of the gateways to this vast world. And when we restrict our idea of touch to physical sensation alone, that’s when people sometimes go blank, claiming not to know what they want.

When I was working with Caffyn Jesse in Belfast the other week, it was clear – and this is one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to her work – that she’s had similar ideas, as one of her suggestions in a touch based exercise we were doing was for the person choosing touch to be able to say-

Touch me like-

Touch me as if-

You see the difference? It introduces infinite scope. I can ask for you to touch my cheek like an exultation of starlings. I could ask you to touch my chest as if you were a rhino proceeding carefully across thin ice. I can ask you to touch me like an alien incarnated in a body for the first time. I can ask you to touch me as if I am your mother, that you are seeing for the last time. Infinite.

I’ll explore these ideas further in the November workshops. If you’d like to explore them with me, come along.

How do I know what I want when I always know what I ought to want?

John’s talk from the sex lectures series held in Manchester.

Introducing the Wheel of Consent

 

The Wheel Of Consent, through touch based exercises, both alone and with partners, gives you an experience of 4 ways to touch and relate, within a conception of consent which is clear, enthusiastic and in the moment.

These 4 ways are:

Taking for your own pleasure – you do what you want – while respecting the giver’s boundaries

Allowing another to take from you – they do what they want- with your permission – while maintaining your boundaries

Serving another for their pleasure – you do what they want – within your boundaries

Accepting the gift of another’s service – they do what you want – while maintaining their boundaries.

 

The work is excellent for:

Waking up sensuality – feeling and following pleasure

Making choices – learning how to choose for yourself

Understanding the dynamics of giving and receiving

Gaining skills of empowerment and communication – having the courage to ask for what you want, and feeling safe enough to receive

Please note that the work focuses on intention, conscious choice and autonomy.  Participants will remain clothed and there is no sexual touch.

Wheel of Consent Workshop

The workshop will take place on Saturday 16 March 2019, 2-6pm at

Yoga Healing
Studio 7
22 Mansfield Street,
Glasgow
G11 5QP

Cost £25.

The workshop will be facilitated by John Fraser.  John is a sex coach and zen teacher.  He has worked extensively with Betty Martin, the originator of The Wheel.  For more information about him see:
www.loveandsexcoaching.co.uk

For more information about the workshop, and to book, please contact John at: johnwebberfraser@gmail.com   07545 707751

Every Body Loves, Hummingbird and Flower

We are delighted to offer this wonderful Feminine Embodiment Women’s Workshop Saturday 13 October with Kay Balavanes.

About Kay

Kay is an Embodiment Mentor and teacher of the Feminine Arts based in Bali who works with women in Asia, Australia & Europe. She applies her trainings & initiations in Yoga Therapeutics, 5 Element Meridian Wisdom of Chinese Medicine, Taoist & Tibetan Healing Energetics & Bodywork, Womb Awakening and Embodied Mindfulness in her classes, workshops and retreats.

Workshop Intentions

This will be an experiential movement class for our female anatomy to address the impact of modern life
The aim is to gently unravel some of the stress we are all carrying.

We will explore embodiment practices to move beyond the barriers to being fully in our bodies as women
This may include breath work, Shakti banda and womb receptivity cultivation practice.

What this means in reality is starting with the denser feelings in your body and moving to subtler layers of feeling as we journey into the womb.

1. This will be a fully clothed, gentle session of focus on our body’s as women led by a experienced practitioner in bodywork and movement for women from eastern traditions
2. We will be an intimate group of 8 women participants so we can benefit from sharing and being supported in our sisterhood
3. If you already have a deep practice there is no need to amend your practice, This can be a stand alone experience for your body
4. If you do not have any practices you may learn a few processes that you chose to continue in your life if you find them beneficial

Kay  is passionate about practices tailored to the female form to awaken the potent & intelligent energy centres of the body.  Her teachings merge eastern and western wisdom teachings, with modern science & and psychology to educate, empower & inspire every woman to deepen intimacy with herself & her life.

Workshop Details

The workshop will be in Hyndland Glasgow on Saturday October 13  from 14.00- 19.00 and costs £50.  If you are interested and would like more information or to reserve your place please contact Karen for more information.

The Women’s Sexuality Group Dates 2018 for the Glasgow Meetup Group are now available for the whole year.  We meet every four weeks between 18.00-20.00 on Wednesdays in Hyndland in the West End of Glasgow.  The schedule is:

24 January

21 February

21 March

16 May

13 June

11 July

8 August

5 September

3 October

31 October

28 November

We are enthusiastic about making this a very lively meeting that is all about inquiry.  We  share our interests and our experiences.  We also create new learning through our inquiry into women’s sexuality for ourselves and in general.  We are always interested in experimenting with the best way to facilitate great conversations. So this year we are starting the year with introducing John as a co-facilitator for our group.  John brings a wealth of different training and coaching style to working with women’s sexuality.  He can also give us a male perspective which can be very helpful in exploring the issues that arise.

 

This doesn’t mean we can’t have a woman only space.  We usually agree the subject of the next meeting at the end of the session.  If a subject comes up where we want to just share as women, we can set that up whenever we want.  The idea is to have as much flexibility as possible and create somewhere that brings in a wide range of new ideas.

 

You may have more questions about how this forum works or how we create intimacy and safety.  If you want to know more please contact Karen through our contact form with your questions.  If you provide a phone number and she will be very happy to arrange a time to chat to find out more about what matters to you and how we can make the group most welcoming for you.

 

To book a place in the group you just need to let us know that you are coming.  The cost is £15  and then you receive all the details for you to join us.  The group will never be more than 12 members at any one session so that we can feel cosy with one another.

 

 

It’s that time of year again when some of us will be delighted and some others of us will be horrified by the ‘Spirit of Xmas’.  Whatever your approach is to the festive season, there is a different wee addition to the usual fare is you are a woman who is interested in exploring your sexuality with a group of like-minded women.

 

The Women’s Sexuality Meet Up Group in Glasgow is a two hour discussion group where we can relax as new friends and share our views and experiences, our hopes and dreams and fears in a confidential and warm environment.  We can seek advice from each other, offer our opinions about life and share a good laugh about all the weird and wonderful aspects of sexual expression that we have to come to know in our experience so far.  And we can also bring up things we are wondering about exploring in the future.

We are women  who are different ages with different levels of experience so we try to bring in a range of aspects to the conversations.  We can look at what the words we are using mean to each of us.  We can share how the people around us in our lives may respond to the subject.  We can talk about what these experiences feel like in our bodies and our emotional responses.  We can laugh at the surprises that turn up along the way.  And we can share some of the pain of disappointment that we all feel from time to time when life is bringing us the experiences we had hoped for.

Xmas Women’s Sexuality Meetup Group Glasgow – Save The Date

 

We aim to cover a different theme each time and usually to set this in advance.  However at the Xmas meeting we will decide what is important for us on the day.  This will be on Wednesday 20 December between 18.00 and 20.00 in the West End of Glasgow.  You can book your place by contacting us and paying the £15 in advance.  See you there.