Confessions From a Cuddle Puddle

Why the experience of snuggling strangers has caught fire

Matt Charnock
8 min readJun 17, 2019


Photo: Electroluxx/Lucas Francisco

I’ve always been enamored of the idea of a cuddle puddle. The thought of surface-level strangers huddling together like emperor penguins sheltering themselves from a frigid blizzard seems not only unwaveringly brave but also primarily animalistic.

We’re nothing but apes with bigger-than-average brains and opposable digits, after all, and like our primate relatives, we crave physical connection. Science has shown that the act of touch is essential to our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. We can, quite literally, go insane from a lack of it.

But as technological advances continue to push human society forward, we’ve sacrificed human interaction as an unforeseen side effect. I mean, why make the trip across town to hang out with your friend when you could, instead, Postmates Panda Express and virtually dine with him or her over FaceTime?

An outcome of this new human-contact deprivation? Cuddle puddles. These non-sexual events, where people get together to cozy up next to each other, have grown in popularity year after year. You can now even hire a “professional snuggler” on demand on your smartphone. And that senior cuddler could be making well over $40 an hour, to boot.

“It’s nice to have a space at a party that is different from a dance floor. People crave touch and physical connection, and we don’t often get this type of comfort outside of the house, let alone at a rave.”

Bay Area metropolitans and Silicon Valley juggernauts, in particular, appear to be gung ho about these types of intimacy parties. The world’s largest eye-contact party was held near Oakland’s Lake Merritt in 2017, and Eventbrite is brimming with touch-positive get-togethers that take place in San Francisco. Elon Musk — the Tesla Twitter thug and the only man to have an electric car floating around in space — was even spotted at a cuddle puddle of sorts, though it may have been a little less PG than that.

Fifteen years old, the cuddle puddle is a quasi-fresh trend that began on the East Coast by budding…



Matt Charnock

SF transplant, coffee shop frequent; tiny living enthusiast. iPhone hasn’t been off silent mode in nine or so years. Former EIC of The Bold Italic.