There is lots of research supporting the healing power of touch. You may have heard about the 20 second hug and how it releases oxytocin (the "love" hormone). Cuddling produces the same thing!
Consent, too, is a powerful transformational tool and in this newsletter, I'd like to share a little about my journey.
First let me say, why do we have this notion that the only time you can cuddle and experience sensual touch is with a primary partner? How unfair is that? I haven't been in a primary relationship for a few years--so did that mean I had to forego touch, my primary love language? Or have a bunch of one night stands just to get some affection? I'm not even talking about sex here. I'm referring to cuddling, going through my hair, rubbing my neck or back, and enjoying the pleasure of giving that to others too. For someone who loves physical affection, that felt like death to me. My aha moment was that we can experience touch of all kinds in a safe, consensual environment. And I wanted to bring this insight to the Les Ladies Conscious Community.
I, like lots of people, thought "Of course, consent is key. What normal person does things without consent?" But little did I know how much I didn't really understand the concept of consent (and boundaries) and the role it would play in my personal growth journey this past year. Because in order to say a genuine Yes, you have to first be clear with yourself about what you desire. If someone asks me for a hug for example, I need to check in with myself: Am I doing it because they asked me? Because I'm afraid if I don't do it, they won't like me? Or because I feel obligated somehow, because what kind of cold person refuses a hug?
Can you relate? So many of us as women have been acculturated to say Yes to please the other person, to not make waves, out of a sense of responsibility or obligation. Or we've been conditioned not to say No because of the price we'll have to pay on the other side of it. Let's f*ck that sh*t!!
How would your life be different if you said Yes only when you really really wanted it? And No to everything else? How would it be different if your No was met with respect and even gratitude for you speaking your truth? And if you started checking in with yourself more to discover what your desires even are?
At the Cuddle Puddle Pajamarama, we will not only talk about consent, but lead you through some exercises where you get to practice your No's--both giving and receiving! And to have those No's met with respect and grace. None of that defensiveness, taking it ultra personally, how could you say no to me crap! We will set the stage for you to practice your Yes's and your No's throughout the night. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You don't have to engage with anyone you don't want to. In fact, you can come and just observe the entire night if that's what you're up for.
In talking to women about this event, one of the common things I get is "I don't know if I want to touch a stranger." I have a few things to say about that. By coming, you are not obligated to touch anyone you don't want to. And you can change your mind about that or not! You might find after your arrive that you will no longer feel like the other women in the room are strangers.
Past Trauma: Many of us have had past trauma with our boundaries not being respected. We will establish in the agreements that breasts and genitals are off limits in general. This Cuddle Puddle is nonsexual. Nurturing? Yes! Sensual? Yes! Playful? Yes! But no sex will happen during or even afterwards (several women told me they experienced this unexpected surprise at a similar event they thought was nonsexual). So you might ask, why should I put myself in this situation of cuddling with a bunch of strangers? Well besides what I listed above, you get to decide what to say Yes to and what to say No to. You get to decide to change your mind if it turns out you realize you aren't into it. You will learn that a "maybe" equals a No. To wait for your internal Yes because doesn't everyone deserve to engage with another person who is a Yes to engaging back with them? You get to decide what your boundaries are. "You can touch my arm, but no other part of my body." Or, "you can touch me anywhere, but not on my face or ears."
***PLEASE: register ahead of time***. It really helps to ease the stress of the day of when people are already registered.
Fri, Feb 24, DOORS OPEN at 6:30 pm, DOORS LOCK at 7:00pm (Cuddle Puddle Begins)
COST: Love Exchange Sliding Scale: $22, 33 or $44/person, whichever you can afford. Venmo @LesLadies or Eventbrite.
NOTE: When you register via Eventbrite or pay on Venmo, you will be contacted directly to confirm your attendance and given further details. This will happen at an amazing super comfortable inviting space in NE DC with plenty of street parking.
Same day negative covid test required.
Of course, we still have our FREE virtual events:
Book Club: We host a monthly book club. This month, we will do a study group for Existential Kink by Carolyn Elliott.
Singles Salon: 1st Sunday of every month, March 5
Movie Night: 2nd Sunday of every month, Feb 12
Get To Know You Salon: 3rd Sunday of every month, Feb 19. This month we will be showcasing your talents!
Women of a Certain Age (WOCA): monthly, next one tonight, Feb 16.
Self Love & Compassion: 6 Week Masterclass--normally $198, now free! This is Module 1 of Love Essentials, a 6 Module, year long program. Available on demand, do it as your schedule permits.
How do I stay in the know on what's going on with the Les Ladies Conscious Community!! Maybe you aren't getting notifications. Maybe you don't know when these events are happening, and maybe you don't even know how to check your messages in the network or even know what network to check.
Here's are 4 easy steps to make sure you are in the know!
1. JOIN the Les Ladies Conscious Community. Although some of you may belong to the Les Ladies Meetup, the more robust private network that I encourage you to join is the Les Ladies Conscious Community, based on a Mighty Networks platform.
2. TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS. Make sure they're turned on in Mighty Networks. You can choose whether you want a daily digest or notifications as they occur. Click Here for a visual step by step.
3. SAFELIST with your internet provider. Internet providers tend to turn the notifications off believe it or not! To prevent this from happening, please "safelist" @mn.co emails (notice it's not @mn.com but @mn.co). For more info on how to do that, please go here.
4. DOWNLOAD Mighty Networks App on your phone. This makes it easier to get notifications. Be sure to turn on notifications in your phone's settings.
At Les Ladies, we believe that:
1. Creating a community of women* is key. One that feels safe and one that encourages you to be all of who you can be.
2. Everyone can learn how to find, create and maintain deeply satisfying, healthy, soul-expansive, loving relationships.
3. It all starts with self-awareness and self-love.
4. Personal commitment and the support of other amazing women accelerates your growth and development.
5. We're all in this together!
*female identified and nonbinary AFAB
With Love 💕 💗 and Anticipation,