Cud­dling for sluts

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“When it comes to in­ti­macy, I op­er­ate on an in­verted sex­ual diamond, with first base equal­ing pen­e­tra­tive sex, hit­ting a dou­ble lead­ing to oral, cud­dling is third base and a home run would be kiss­ing. Con­sider me a grad­u­ate of the Kit de Luca School of Courtship, where sluts are taught, a la ‘Pretty Woman,’ never to kiss a trick on the mouth.”

As some­one whose re­la­tion­ship goals are fo­cused on one-night stands rather than long-term monogamy, I’ve learned the im­por­tance of cud­dling re­spon­si­bly.

When it comes to in­ti­macy, I op­er­ate on an in­verted sex­ual diamond, with first base equal­ing pen­e­tra­tive sex, hit­ting a dou­ble lead­ing to oral, cud­dling is third base and a home run would be kiss­ing. Con­sider me a grad­u­ate of the Kit de Luca School of Courtship, where sluts are taught, a la “Pretty Woman,” never to kiss a trick on the mouth.

I’m kind of a gold-medal cud­dler, to the point my last ex-boyfriend nick­named me his Snug­gle Bear in the open­ing weeks of our fiveyear re­la­tion­ship. That’s be­cause I view cud­dling as an artis­tic sport, sim­i­lar to wa­ter bal­let or pairs fig­ure skat­ing, with sym­bi­otic rhythm in our legs, tor­sos, arms and necks, un­til our heart­beats syn­chro­nize and we co­a­lesce un­der the cov­ers.

I’ve made the mis­take of cud­dling with booty calls be­fore, only to have my ca­sual af­fec­tion mis­in­ter­preted as a mar­riage pro­posal, and one of the main ben­e­fits of be­ing mil­i­tantly sin­gle is avoid­ing the awk­ward­ness of un­re­quited emo­tions. It had been years since I was ly­ing in­ter­twined with another man, but it felt nice to start my Fa­ther’s Day week­end snug­gling with my new­est reg­u­lar, and end it in the arms of the guy I’ve been hook­ing up with the long­est.

Nei­ther cud­dling ses­sion was planned, or laden with as­sump­tions about ex­clu­siv­ity, just our bodies ab­sorb­ing each other and the mo­ment. Watch­ing a marathon of “Chicago Ink” on Sun­day evening, my cud­dle buddy asked me how I met the mu­tual friend who in­tro­duced us 12 years ago.

“On Men4Now,” I said, feel­ing no pres­sure to make up a more re­spectable an­swer. “But he and I have never had any type of phys­i­cal con­tact be­yond hug­ging or hand shakes.” “Why not?” “Be­cause we met un­der the pre­tense of some­thing else, ei­ther smok­ing or ten­nis, and I was de­ter­mined to keep it at that,” I said. “I re­mem­ber be­ing at a point in my life where I needed friends I hadn’t fucked, and he was one of the first strictly pla­tonic friends I made as an adult.”

Our mu­tual friend moved away, and it was another year be­fore I again saw the guy who would even­tu­ally be my Fa­ther’s Day date. We bumped into each other at the club, then did some bump­ing-and-grind­ing on the dance floor be­fore head­ing to my apart­ment and en­joy­ing the sex we had both wanted since we first saw each other.

Had he asked me to be his boyfriend that night, I would’ve ea­gerly, fool­ishly, ac­cepted. In­stead, he soon moved to another state, too, and it would be six years be­fore I saw an on­line pro­file of some­one who re­sem­bled him, and asked if he knew some­one by the name of our mu­tual friend.

“Ryan!!!” he replied, match­ing my de­light. We had sex that night, and about twice a year since then, but our Fa­ther’s Day kick­back was our first time con­nect­ing since last June.

“Then and now, you are ev­ery­thing I want in a man,” I told him as we talked about when we met. “Your looks, your style, your vibe, your voice, your heart – which is why I’m so glad we were never boyfriends.” “Why you say that?” he asked with a laugh. “Be­cause we wouldn’t be here right now,” I said. “I know you love hard, and you’re mean as fuck, and we would ab­so­lutely hate each other af­ter a cou­ple of years to­gether.” “I do love hard.” “And I love you,” I said, sin­cerely. “I love you, too,” he said, un­con­di­tion­ally. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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