The Cuddle Buddy Controversy: Rules of Engagement

by Jenn Burton

Previously I introduced you to the concept of what I call your Mantourage for dating.  Personally, establishing a mantourage was a deeply rewarding experience for me which I will definitely share more as we get to know each other better;)  One of the most advantageous by-products of dating with a mantourage is the often controversial topic of Cuddle Buddies (or Spooning Partners etc)  I looked up the definition in Urban Dictionary, and am laughing at the examples they provide. (and I thought I could be explicit) Warning it’s a bit crass.

“Cuddle Buddy:  two people who enjoy the affection of one another. In some cases, this may lead to friends with benefits or a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

Friend: dude so did you get some head last night? 
Friend2: Dawg, we are just cuddle buddies!”


I am personally all about having cuddle buddies while dating, for clarity let me state that I am not referring to a friend with benefits scenario.  I strictly am addressing having some one hold you when you want to be held.  With that in mind let’s tackle my Rules of Engagement for Successful Cuddle Buddy Encounters.


1.  Do understand from the beginning that any man who agrees to come over to be your non sexual cuddle buddy has at least one of two hopes in mind.  

a) He would really like to sleep with you.  (I’m hoping that you are saying Duh of course, who doesn’t;)
b)  He might want to be your man exclusively.
c)  both a & b

2.  With #1 in mind, it is completely acceptable to invite him over, as long as your intentions are clear.  Saying “I really  want you to come over and just hold me tonight, nothing else” makes your intentions clear.  Elaborate explanations of why he will never be your boyfriend and you just don’t see him that way are buzz kill.  


Let me be utterly clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to come hold you because you just feel like being held.  Yes, men do have hopes in accepting, but we all do.  Bottom line every woman (from 18 to 107, let me know if I missed anyone;) deserves to be held when she wants to be held, and there are many many men out there who don’t mind being a strong pair of arms for you even if you don’t reciprocate his exact feelings.


3.   If you are in the beginning stages of dating someone you particularly like, I highly recommend staying away from asking him over as a cuddle buddy until you are sure you would like to have sex with him.  Cuddle Buddy Privileges are acquired with time and trust.  Cuddle Buddy is never a first date option.  

It is super confusing to a man for you to take him home on a first date (or vice versa) and insist on just cuddling.(In his mind his chances are really high of getting laid if you do this.  Frankly he’s right.)  Reserve Cuddle Buddy status for a man who has been around you for a bit, who has earned your trust.  Someone you know you can say just hold me and he won’t start undressing you.  It’s very hard to know this about somebody in the beginning.


4.  Dating with a Mantourage gives you lots of Cuddle Buddy Options.  You decide who tickles your cuddle fancy for the evening.   Be sure to let him know how much you appreciate him.

5.  Asking for the Cuddle from a man you really like but who is inconsistent with you-  Most of us have at least one man in our mantourage that is more inconsistent than others.  As long as you are not in the very beginning stages of dating him (per #3) it is definitely okay to ask him over to just cuddle. Be okay with the fact he might not respond or he might deny your request.  It can mean a multitude of things which in the grand scheme of things means nothing to you.

I actually think this is a super exercise in strengthening your ability to ask for what you want from men, regardless of the outcome.  The worst that could happen is that he says No or he doesn’t respond.  The best he shows up at your door and adores you for the evening.  

Note:  Do not do this if you have tied your self-esteem up in whether he tells you Yes or not.  This is to build your chops not tear you down. Also if you don’t hear from him within 2 hours, ask someone else.  Never wait around for a response.  If he responds after asking someone else, tell him you’ll catch him on the next go around;)  You had unexpected plans come up.

Rules of Engagement make this process so much more sweet. Let us  know if you have particular Rules of Engagement for this topic by commenting below.  As always if you liked the content please share with the ladies on Facebook & Twitter!



 
 

P.S.
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P.P.S.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

jack September 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

Personally, only a weak man is willing to be someone’s cuddle buddy.

It is no less an exploitation of a hurting man than casual sex can be with many women.

All or nothing, ladies.

Girlfriend or no friend.

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Jenn Burton September 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hey Jack,
Thanks so much for checking out my site. Unfortunately I would have to disagree. There is no exploitation involved, no intention to hurt. We as human beings only owe each other honesty. A man has the opportunity to say no, just like we do to casual sex. It’s not as black and white as you put it. It never will be. So the best we can do is enjoy the shades of grey with integrity. Sometimes, Cuddle Buddies evolve into something more significant, just like it did for me and my man. He was my cuddle buddy for awhile, and he is the furthest thing from weak. Same with others. A man is never weak based on his choice to spend time holding a woman without a clear result involved. In fact it makes him more adventurous because he is willing to take a chance. All or nothing men bore me. Ultimatums in my opinion are rarely sexy coming from a man or a woman. Women just like men deserve the opportunity to see how feelings develop. BTW, I LOVE that you are the first man to comment on my website. Oh and no worries, there are quite a few all or nothing ladies out there, so you will not be disappointed;) Hugs!

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jack September 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

What is your view on a Friends with Benefits situation where the girl is clearly wanting more, but the guy has clearly stated there never will be more?

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Jenn Burton September 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I recommend she keep seeing other men as well. I make it very clear that she is unlikely to win him over in the bedroom alone. So she should only keep him as her lover if she can keep her wits about her and just appreciate him as a lover for the moment. If she is torturing herself and alienating other potential opportunities then I recommend she stops having sex with him immediately. It always depends on the particular woman. You ask great questions Jack;)

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jack September 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

If he is aware of her feelings on the issue, but is still enjoying the sex, to what extent does he have an obligation to end it for her because she is not at the moment strong enough to do so, since she is definitely hoping for more?

At what point does sexual self-interest become subordinate to human empathy?

Personally, I would end the sex if I was that guy, because he would be enabling someone into eventual heartbreak. We can all lie to ourselves and pretend that this is not the only outcome, but it is far and away the most likely.

My moral responsibility to my fellow human beings trumps my sexual wants. If I know someone wants more, but I pretend that they alone are responsible for the outcome, I should end it.

95% of the time, FWB relationships do not progress beyond that because the man is unwilling to commit.

95% of the time, cuddle buddy relationships do not progress because the woman in unwilling to get sexual.

If a man commits to Woman A within a month of dating, but puts Woman B off into FWB “lets-see-how-things-progress” for many months, then he is sexually profiteering off her. Endless test-driving, while he is really looking for something else.

He has already told her exactly where he prioritizes her.

If a woman is willing to get intimate with Man A within a couple weeks of dating, but puts Man B off into a year long cuddle buddy situation “friends-first-see-how-it-goes”, then she is emotionally profiteering off him. Endlessly keeping him as a backup in case her hotter, better option does not materialize.

She has already told him exactly where she prioritizes him.

I’m not saying that good relationships follow from immediate sex, but when women put out quickly for “hot” guys but try to play the good-girl waiting game with other men, I call foul.

What would be perfect would be a relationship where the girl gets her cuddle requirements met, and the guys has his needs for physical intimacy met.

Oh wait…. they already invented that – it’s called a normal relationship.

No one is ever going to convince me that exploitation is acceptable, no matter how pretty a name it is given, nor how both parties supposedly “agree” to the terms.

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Jenn Burton September 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Hey again Jack!

We could probably spend days blowing holes in each others points of view. (Your passion about this is pretty hot btw) We are not going to get anywhere. Not everybody dates to have a relationship. I teach women to have what it is what they want in dating and romance. I know what I teach will piss some people off. Especially those who believe there is only one moral high ground. But I will tell you that I have more men who thank me for teaching women to have more fun than anything. Because when women and men are having fun together that is called an amazing relationship. Bottom line, men love to be with women they have an incredible time with. They treat these women better, they think about them more often, and they are less likely to stray from a woman they adore. I teach women to be unforgettable, not normal, and yes that will piss some men off. (some women too) No worries, as I said before, there are plenty of women who see it just as you do. You have a vast selection. I see it differently and the great thing is that we are both entitled to what we believe. So we might as well agree that we won’t change each others minds. Happy Sunday!!!

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jack September 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Of course. But what of my original question – do I have an obligation to break it off if I am getting what I want, but it is clear that the girl wants more.

I have recently declined to get into two different relationships because I knew the girls did not represent a long-term good match.

In both cases, there was a lot of sexual attraction, and I could have played the FWB situation easily, to my own personal gain.

Did I do the “right thing”? (Not the right thing ‘for me’, as many people would put it.)

But did I do the right thing for these women by not allowing them to enter into something that would never pan out the way they hoped?

I’m not going to allow a woman to invest physical and emotional energy into me when I KNOW that there will not be a payoff. Too many people pretend that actions have no consequences. But they do, and many outcomes create irreversible effect.

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jack September 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

In other words, did I treat these women the way you would want a man to treat your own daughter, had she been in that situation?

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Jenn Burton September 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Like I mentioned before, I am not a black and white kinda gal. Yes, I believe you did the right thing, only because I think you feel better as a man having made that choice. On the same token, I would have said the same thing had you entered into a sexual relationship with her to see where it might lead. I don’t think that makes you immoral. I honestly believe that when intentions are exploration then it is not exploitation. We all say that the chemistry has to be there, and that there is certain chronological order to attraction and relationships. But look at many arranged marriages. Chemistry and such builds over years. They learn to love each over years. When I met my man, I blew him off. The first date we went on, I was not attracted to him at all. Now, I can’t keep my hands off of him. For men, sometimes it’s just the opposite. Men are coached much differently than women, because they have different motivations. So my definitive opinion is that you owe to yourself to follow what you believe. I think you did the right thing for you. But keep in mind, you really don’t know someone’s long term potential until you spend time having fun with them, whether that would be in bed or out of bed. Never underestimate a woman you have immense amount of fun with, because she may not fit your “long term potential” but it just might drive you crazy to not have her in your life. (As for my daughter, my goal is for her to be so comfortable in honoring her own sexual time frame, that being taken advantage of is a moot point. I believe that sexual attraction by men is natural. Do I want a man to use her sexually? No, of course I don’t, but more so I want her feel good enough about herself and understand other’s potential motives so that she honors herself and her body first.) There are no guarantees in dating, love, relationships & such. You have today, why not appreciate today? Treat someone with fun and kindness today, you never know where it might lead;)

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Katt September 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Jack,
I think that it’s respectable that you didn’t pursue a FWB relationship when you knew you didn’t want more. It’s obvious that you’re looking for a meaningful relationship and a true partner.

As a girl, I don’t use the cuddle buddy option very often but I have and will probably do so in the future. There are men in my life that I care about and care about me but we know we may never be in a relationship. I’m so appreciative that I have this and knowing that a guy cares enough about me to just hold me when I need to be held has my enduring gratitude. We all need to be comforted just like we all need to have sex.

It’s not about using someone. If a guy feels like I’m using him I would not want him to hold me and I would hope he would say no if he felt that strongly about it as you do.

So my answer to your question would be, I’d absolutely would not want a guy to have sex with my daughter just for the sake of having sex, as you have shared that you wouldn’t. But if she needed to be held by someone, I would hope she would be lucky enough to have that.

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Erin October 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi Jack, Jen, & Kat,

I appreciate you all for you opening this conversation.
The whole point is to not use the men that are actually IN your life for your own PIG (personal instant gratification.) Especially if you do not want men to use you for theirs!

Although, morality, being really a physical issue, is personal to each individual, so that doesn’t have as much to do with it.
Jack is totally accurate! A REAL man does not do the cuddle buddy thing.
However, unlike what most people think, a REAL man WILL be ok with postponing intercourse if the intended is not comfortable with it. Actually, I coach my clients that THAT is why it is imperative for a women to not engage in intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal) without knowing what the deal is.

In fact, Jack could probably back me up on this, when a man meets a woman, he places her in one of two boxes…the “this girl is relationship material” box or the “I’d f___k her” box. So, best for women to tell ALL men they are dating that they want to wait until she feels comfortable. They will find out what the guy is up to very quickly.

What I believe Jack is saying is that the women (and we will say most women, not all) who engage in a FWB program, are full of it. These women may not be full of it but they are definitely attempting to fool themselves.
These women either engage in it in hopes that the guy will think she is so great in bed that he will get hooked on her and fall in love, or hope they are man enough to play a man’s game. This first woman does not understand that men do not fall in love with sex. They fall into addiction. Addiction leads co-dependency. Every one is entitled to want what they want. A codependent relationship is fun, passionate and thrilling!

You might get killed…but hey! It’s all in the name of passion & fun right? Besides, it usually turns into the woman’s addiction of the man and can get excruciatingly embarrassing for her…not him! (Sex is not necessarily an emotional event for a man.)

Or, the other women, who are OK with casual sex like a man, is dealing with a whole other pathology…usually stemming from daddy issues.

Casual sex is a man’s game. There are plenty of women today out there that are men, or try to be. But at the end of the day, it is a woman with control issues (and men know this intuitively) who is egodystonic (inside out.) She is so messed up, her masculine has taken over but she is running on feminine hormones….sad. Don’t believe me? Read “Wounded Woman”, by Linda Leonard, “The Biology of Love,” by Arthur Janov, and “Why We Love,” by Helen Fisher.

ALL men usually lose interest in a FWB program at around the 5th time anyway. Men do good to feel good. And having sex with someone, when he has not earned it, and does not deserve it, is not respectable. And they all know it…they just do their best not to think about it until they just cannot NOT think about it anymore. Usually not until he is done. (I know lame.) But thank goodness for men like Jack!

It is a sad truth. But this is EXACTLY the reason women need to be aware of themselves and all of the chemicals going through their bodies.

Women FEEL good to do good. So women, need to understand that they will do bad things when they do not feel good! Including going bonkers when they have not heard from someone they gave it up to. And because of this, if they are with a man whom they know they will bummed out about not seeing after they have intercourse with him, then she would be a glutton for doing it!

So women, if you want to feel good you must understand what will have you feel badly. It is biology, not something you can override with logic.

The fundamentals you seem to be talking about are what we cognitive behavioral types call, strokes.
Humans are at a very base level, animals. Every animal needs strokes. We can get them from people, animals and things—aka, ice cream, teddy bears, even the internet. (We are all engaging each other now, getting strokes as you we go back & forth.) We all want our strokes.

The two places on the human body that feed human strokes the most are our mouths and feet.
So, when a woman is need of her strokes I coach her to first go get herself a foot massage, instead of reaching for the ice cream. Like, for an hour. Got to the spa and get a full body hour and a half massage! Better than any cuddle you can get. If the woman has to have some sexual touch (usually mid 30’s ladies) then get and old boyfriend ONLY if you BOTH know you are done with the relationship, to hook up with. (Even then, this is rare.) Or go out and meet someone you can just make out with at a nightclub.

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Jenn Burton October 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Wow Erin, that was a pageful. Brilliantly put from a therapeutic stand point. Actually where Jack was headed was that the sexual revolution was the demise of our society.

You two have made some silly and very bold statements about who Real men are. Lots of people make these statements constantly. But the truth is that within every man there is a real man. Many many real men do like to cuddle and don’t mind. (Not all mind you, but many do, and I happen to know of lots of cases) Some men exhibit their real man-nes naturally while others need a woman to inspire it in them.

What blows my mind, is how we have something as powerful as a sexual and feminine revolution but we women are still supposed to behave a certain way or “therapeutically” we are considered messed up, just because it has been printed, and there is a scientific study out there.

Bottom-line, I coach women how to have what they want in dating and romance. I remove the clinical because I find it so damn boring that it literally sucks the life and fun out of relationships. I teach them they can have their earth shattering amazing sex while being adored by a man they cherish. Women remember what it’s like to feel giddy and excited again, instead of burdened with everyone else’s woes. I show them a dating experience that teaches them more about themselves than any therapist could reveal. I teach women to honor their own personal desires, because those desires mean something. Are there co-dependent relationships, of course. Because there are tons of women out there that have no clue how to honor personal desires and personal boundaries at the same time. It is a great balance. Also you must incorporate the art of surrender and it’s appropriate boundaries. The list goes on and on.

So for some I honor the fact that scientific and psychological classifying of behaviors is truly exciting, and it works for them. But in dating and romance, there will never be a one size fits all including a foot massage (and I love the heck out of a good foot massage). Definitely how I coach will not be for every one.

Also all the green juice, clean eating, non co dependent behaviors, therapy, meditation, or enlightened living will hardly remove the basic desire of a man to taste a woman’s sensual nature. Likewise, it will never remove a woman’s basic want to be desired sensually. Although those things will certainly heighten the experience and make it easier to listen to your intuition about certain situations.

Thank you guys for a truly controversial conversation.

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Rannon October 17, 2011 at 4:42 am

I think the largest problem with this whole subject is that we are splitting hairs. What a man gets out of sex with someone he feels any sort of emotional connection to isn’t just sex. Likewise, what woman gets out of a good cuddle isn’t just a rise in body temperature and and a bit of a head rush.

Both sexes want the same thing, but we unfortunately are taught to go about getting that thing in different ways. Men think that sex is the ultimate goal for a great deal of their lives, and it is only once a few relationships have failed that they realize that sex isn’t the core issue, it is simply a window dressing. Just as cuddling isn’t the main point.

Intimacy, of any kind, is what both sexes want. And both sexes will get it any way they can. So long as it scratches that itch.

The really painful things happen when that itch takes priority over everything else OR when you neglect that itch entirely. You have to maintain a balance between getting what you want and letting what you want control you.

I tend to think that honesty, both personally and from your partner, goes a long way to making sure that the pain of imbalance is mitigated as much as it can be.

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Grace Sevilly@beach carts April 25, 2012 at 4:47 am

Hi Jenn, I just couldn’t agree more on all that’s in here. I also have nothing against cuddle buddies so long as you’re both aware of what you two really have.

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Carissa October 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I’ve had cuddle buddies in the past and it was beneficial for both of us. We were both single and both benefited from some sweet no-strings-attached body contact. I’m so glad you are a proponent of cuddle buddies while dating. As humans we need affection, we need to be held. I think that’s one of the hardest things about being single – not getting snuggles on a regular basis.
Whether it’s cuddle buddies or friends with benefits, it helps you not go to the grocery store hungry, if you know what i mean.
As long as both people have similar intentions, there’s honesty and clear communication, then it’s a wonderful thing to have in your life!!

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Jenn Burton October 18, 2012 at 11:43 am

Couldn’t agree more Carissa! Thanks for sharing your experience with it. Hugs!

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Skyler June 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm

You all make some good points but speaking of biology we are also all filled with hormones and desires and it’s important to let women know its okay if they sometimes just want sex because they are really horny. That is all. Like men out bodies naturally need it and a good release every now and then with no strings attached can do the job.

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James October 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Wow, this is terrific. I thought I was the only one who was interested in a “cuddle buddy”, but I see others are too! Now the question I have is, considering that it’s a non-commited relationship for the sake of cuddling, is it OK to introduce kissing into it? Perhaps it again requires clear communication to determine that.

p.s. Jenn is cute; she could be my cuddle buddy any time :)

James

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Jenn Burton November 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

James,

I always say yes to kissing! And thank you I’m blushing :-)

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teddy March 6, 2014 at 1:56 am

yeah umm as a man im guessing a real man, i enjoy cuddle buddies and dont expect anything from them. i have really good girl friends and sometimes i do just feel like holding someone close and feeling a warm body without the complications of anything further. i have a really hard time believing that people believe that all men are just after sex whenever they interact with women.

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Jenn Burton March 6, 2014 at 6:59 am

Teddy, thank you for chiming in!

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Nathan September 3, 2014 at 6:56 pm

You know this whole thing about guys not being “Men” because they just want to cuddle from time to time kind of pisses me off.
I’ve spent half my life trying hard just to get by and most of my pain, has come from women who’ve done nothing but cheat on me, purposely hurt me, get with me just to get with someone I was close to, you name it.
And in EVERY relationship I was loyal. I was me. I never went into one thinking, “Meh maybe it might work” or “I can settle for this”.
I went into them thinking, “I sure hope this is the one”.
I’m not the kind of guy who wants to sleep with my friends. Not saying I might not be interested in one or two, but it’s not something I see myself doing.
Instead, I would prefer to have a cuddle buddy. Someone I can be close to from time to time. I’ve suffered from depression for 17 years, and the last 2 years have been particularly bad.
For me, physical closeness is extremely important. Maybe I might have feelings for the person but I’ve always been able to keep my feelings in check. In fact, most of the time I don’t say anything about my feelings unless the person gives me a reason to think I MIGHT have a small chance.
I really hope this gender crap about guys not being real men gets out of peoples heads.
I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to prove that just because I’m a man of emotion, doesn’t mean I’m not a man.

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Jenn Burton September 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Hear hear Nathan!

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