Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

One-on-one cuddling sessions redefine touch
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Melissa Wasserman
2016-12-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Cuddling doesn't always have to be sexy and isn't just for curing loneliness. Shawn Coleman's organization Touchpoints: Cuddles and Community uses cuddling for yet another purpose.

Coleman grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and now resides in Chicago. They described themself as a nerd, always dedicated to school. They were on track to be an engineer, but after taking a sociology class that they said rocked their world, they majored in sociology at Iowa State University and also studied abroad in South America and Mexico.

"I love learning about different people and gaining an understanding of what occurs in different communities and how different people relate," Coleman said. "That has all kind of led me into wanting to connect with different people in different ways."

Coleman calls themself as a professional cuddler, mediation master, skillful facilitator, healer and public speaker. They started their business, facilitating weddings and funerals, then moved onto also facilitating relationship funerals. Relationship funerals, Coleman explained, are a way of allowing people to have some closure after a breakup, in a new way.

"They're very big events in people's lives that can often change the course of a person's life," Coleman said of seeing the similarities between weddings and funerals. "A lot of people tend to deal with breakups in a lot of unhealthy ways, or just try to brush past them, or distract themselves with lots of alcohol or flirting with new people, or things like that, but this was an opportunity for people to talk and process with their friends and family."

Coleman continued to expand their business, formerly called A Wedding and a Funeral, to include one-on-one cuddling sessions. They were inspired to do this as they were co-facilitating and attending other cuddle parties. Cuddle parties, Coleman explained, were created by Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski in New York City, over a decade ago. These platonic parties are typically held in someone's living room or another comfortable space and the attire is casual. Coleman added the parties include an introduction, agreements about what will and will not happen at the party, a discussion on consent and then free-range cuddle time, which can involve massage trains, spooning, hand-holding, or just having a conversation. Coleman said there are now there are over 100 people across the country trained to facilitate these parties.

"I'm a survivor of sexual assault," Coleman said. "Because of that, I've often had a complicated relationship with touch and felt very unsafe, specifically around, heterosexual, cisgender men because those were the people, in the past, who have sexually assaulted me. With cuddle parties, because it was a space where the rules are clearly spelled out and people were clearly not welcomed if they were not following the rules, I knew that I could be in that space and maybe try to let me guard down a little bit more."

"I started to meet guys who were really consent-saavy, who cared about my 'no' and honored it instead of push past it and discovering that there were lots of guys like that in the world, specifically at a cuddle party, was revolutionary for me and it allowed me to relate to touch in a new way and it allowed me to be more present while receiving touch and be more comfortable receiving touch."

Coleman said they are passionate about people gaining a new relationship with touch. In the one-on-one cuddle sessions they lead, Coleman welcomes clients in their living room, which has a mat on the floor, with a soft sheet and blanket over it. Soft spa music plays and sometimes they have stuffed animals out. The whole idea, they described, is around creating a comfortable and a stress-free environment, to encourage clients to open up.

"A big part of cuddling is acceptance," Coleman said. "It's hard to snuggle up next to someone or let them touch you at all if you feel that you will be judged. Feeling safe is critical. One of the biggest things that I can do is create a space in which people feel safe sharing and connecting."

Coleman confirmed the session is completely platonic and the client selects the activities. They go at a pace ideal to the client, beginning with discussion, and nothing is done without consent.

They have a wide range of clients, but Coleman noted they have more female, gender queer and transgender clients. Coleman identifies as genderqueer and is pansexual.

"For me, it's remarkable that probably nearly 20 percent of my clients this year have been somewhere under the transgender umbrella," said Coleman. "I tend to have significantly more queer/trans clients than most other [professional] cuddlers in the area. I think this is partially because they know that I am gender queer. For some, this helps to put some of their fears to rest. When doing something edgy, it can feel impossible to also deal with potential discrimination."

Touchpoints now caters even more to Chicago's LGBTQ community with its new Chicago Queer Spa. The spa offers trans, genderqueer, androgynous, non-binary and gender fluid communities—and their members of color—to have a safe place to rest, recharge and heal.

"This is not simply a service for men who want touch from women," said Coleman of the one-on-one cuddling sessions. "That's a great service that's provided by the cuddle industry, but this is also a service that's here for women, for trans individuals or for anyone who wants to have a new relationship with touch, anyone that wants to receive a massage or hold hands with someone, an eye gaze with someone without it 'leading up to something else.' It's a service for anyone who wants to work on their boundaries, it's a service for anyone who wants to reestablish their control over their own body."

For more information, visit: ourtouchpoints.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Polar Plunge' on Jan. 20 2017-12-13 - Chicago Polar Bear Club ( CPBC, formerly the Lakeview Polar Bear Club ) will hold its 17th Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, Jan. ...


Gay News

MCC elder talks Cajun roots, faith and lesbian polyamorous relationship 2017-12-13 - Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown's journey toward the ministry and the Metropolitan Community Church ( MCC ) began in her early thirties, when she ...


Gay News

LGBTs among leaders at HealthConnect One 2017-12-06 - Community health and early parenting non-profit organization HealthConnect One features a culturally diverse staff, the majority of whom are women, that includes both ...


Gay News

Coming to a vending machine near you: Activewear 2017-12-06 - What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about vending machines? Guilty-pleasure snacks filled with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial ...


Gay News

Jamie's journey: Vallas family supports transgender daughter 2017-12-06 - Jamie Vallas is nearly 21 and finally feels as if she's who she was supposed to be all along. She was a kid ...


Gay News

'Getting to Zero' town halls Dec. 13, 16 2017-12-06 - Over the next year, the Getting to Zero project will be engaging communities across Illinois to gather ideas and write a plan to ...


Gay News

'Vibrators and Vino' event Dec. 12 2017-12-06 - "Vibrators and Vino: A Feminist Evening with Vibrator Nation" will take place Tuesday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., at Early to Bed, 5044 N. ...


Gay News

MoCP exhibit looks at gender, sexuality 2017-12-06 - The Museum of Contemporary Photography ( MoCP ), 600 S. Michigan Ave., will host the exhibition "Disruptive Perspectives" through Friday, Dec. 22. "Perspectives," ...


Gay News

Families of Chicago banquet Dec. 10 2017-12-06 - Families of Chicago ( FOC ) will host its second annual FOC Banquet Sunday, Dec. 10, an invitation-only affair at Ida Noyes Hall ...


Gay News

Suicide-prevention org throws fashion gala 2017-12-05 - On Nov. 19, Live Out Loud presented it's eighth annual fashion gala benefit in front of a SRO crowd in the ballroom of ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.