Friday, December 19, 2014

Cuddle Sanctuary: Making the Most of Your Experience

This video is part of a series about an event called Cuddle Sanctuary. Cuddle Sanctuary is a three-hour experience. It begins with a short workshop and finishes with a long stretch of relaxing hang-out time.  The star of the show is safe, consensual touch.



Cuddle Sanctuary is a Rated G event – so it doesn’t include sexual touch. The kinds of touch that are welcome include hugging, holding, spooning, caressing (the face, back or arms), foot rubs, shoulder massages – there’s plenty of options! 

When it’s time for our closing circle and to say goodbye, many attendees don’t want it to end. I’ve had that feeling myself – I want to enjoy the connections and the sweetness forever.

So how can you make the most of every delicious moment?

First, keep checking in with yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

How am I feeling right now?

What do I need right now?

What would feel good right now?

This will help you stay attentive to your own needs. At a social gathering, it can be easy to put all of our attention on the needs of others. Checking in with oneself is a great way to find a healthy balance with that. It’s also a reminder that Cuddle Sanctuary is meant to be a gift for you – like going to a spa. 

A second way to make the most of your Cuddle Sanctuary experience is to release expectations. A wise person once said that expectations are precursors to disappointment. Let go of what you think might happen, shed any worries about what might not happen, just allow it all to fall away so you can pay attention to what actually is happening. That way you won’t miss a fascinating moment!

A third tip is to ask for what you want. If you’ve always wanted to have your shoulders and feet massaged at the same time, this is your chance to ask for that. Or if you’ve never experienced being spooned with someone in front of and behind you, Cuddle Sanctuary is a place where these types of yummy dreams come true. 

Ask!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cuddle Sanctuary: Etiquette

This video is part of a series about an event called Cuddle Sanctuary. Cuddle Sanctuary is a three-hour experience. It begins with a short workshop and finishes with a long stretch of relaxing hang-out time.  The star of the show is safe, consensual touch.




Cuddle Sanctuary is a Rated G event – so it doesn’t include sexual touch. The kinds of touch that are welcome include hugging, holding, spooning, caressing (the face, back or arms), foot rubs, shoulder massages – there’s plenty of options! Curious about trying Cuddle Sanctuary for the first time and wonder how to go about it? Here’s what you need to know about etiquette!

Come Freshly Showered

This will help you feel confident that you’re in top cuddle form. Go ahead and freshen your breath, too. It’s easier to get close that way.

Don’t Wear Perfumes or Colognes

Some of us have sensitive noses, so skip using any shower spray or spritzing yourself with strong scents. Thank you!

Be On Time

The workshop part of Cuddle Sanctuary is important for everyone to attend. That’s because we go over the guidelines for touch – the success of the rest of the event rests on the fact that everyone knows how it all works.

It’s so important that at a certain point, we must close the door to any latecomers. This is a bummer for everyone – so don’t let that person be you!

Don’t Hug or Touch Without Asking Permission

Out in the regular world, it happens a lot that a person will open their arms to say hello – expecting a hug without actually asking if it’s okay. That person may mean well, but on the receiving end it’s oh-so-uncomfortable to say, “no thanks – I don’t want to be hugged right now!”

At Cuddle Sanctuary, we always ask and wait for a verbal “yes” before touching someone.


Here's where you can find us:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cuddlesanctuary
MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/Cuddle-Sanctuar...


That's it for now - happy cuddling!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cuddle Sanctuary: Rules of the (Cuddle) Road


This video is part of a series about an event called Cuddle Sanctuary. Cuddle Sanctuary is a three-hour event. It begins with a short workshop and finishes with a long stretch of relaxing hang-out time.  The star of the show is safe, consensual touch.



Cuddle Sanctuary is a Rated G event – so it doesn’t include sexual touch. The kinds of touch that are welcome include hugging, holding, spooning, caressing (the face, back or arms), foot rubs, shoulder massages – there’s plenty of options! If you're new to Cuddle Sanctuary - you might wonder, what are the rules of this thing? Here are a few really important ones.

Always ask for permission before touching somebody. If someone makes a touch request of you, here are three potential responses:

Yes

Let’s say somebody asks you for a hug or says “May I spoon with you?” If you feel like saying “yes,” say it! And enjoy the experience.

No

If you don’t feel like having that experience with that person, you can simply say “no” or “no thank you.” You don’t need to analyze yourself deeply or judge yourself for wanting to say “no.” You have every right to feel a “no” and say it. You could always be kind and gentle and thank them for asking.

Maybe

If you’re not sure how you feel, let’s call that a “maybe.” And if you’re a “maybe,” consider that a “no thank you.” 

It can be really difficult for me to be honest if for whatever reason I don’t want to be touched. Since I was a kid I was always told to hug or kiss whatever older relative was visiting. I was never told I had a choice in the matter. (And it was pretty gross.) So I never learned the truth – that I can choose who is allowed to touch me and when. Cuddle Sanctuary is a great place to practice and strengthen these boundaries.

Feel Free to Change Your Mind

You are free to change your mind about any activity with any person at any time. You can simply say, “thanks I'm done now!” Or “thanks, I feel full.” Or just, “I'm going to do something else now – bye!” 

Changing our minds creates a lot of freedom and can generate a lot of fun.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What is "Cuddle Sanctuary"?

Cuddle Sanctuary is a three-hour event. It begins with a short workshop and finishes with a long stretch of relaxing hang-out time.  The star of the show is safe, consensual touch.


Cuddle Sanctuary is a Rated G event – so it doesn’t include sexual touch. The kinds of touch that are welcome include hugging, holding, spooning, caressing (the face, back or arms), foot rubs, shoulder massages – there’s plenty of options!

Wear comfortable clothes when you arrive or change once you get to the venue. You can even change into pajamas if you want to!

The workshop is a fun, interactive way to go over the guidelines of Cuddle Sanctuary. It’s also a great way to get to know everyone in the room.

My name is Jean Franzblau – I’m the facilitator of Cuddle Sanctuary. For years I kept Googling the words “cuddle” and “Los Angeles” looking for an event like this. I’m honored to be able to offer Cuddle Sanctuary to the community every month.

Cuddle Sanctuary was inspired by Cuddle Party which was co-created by Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski. The concept has caught on across the world.

Cuddle Sanctuary is especially welcoming to newcomers. If you’ve never attended an event like this, come check it out! And if you live far from Los Angeles, see if there are other cuddle events near you. If not, trust me, it’s totally worth the trip to come to Cuddle Sanctuary.

To stay in touch, join our Meetup and “like” us on Facebook.

That’s it for now. Happy cuddling!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sexual Esteem, Part 6 - Healing Sexual Shame with "Amends"

You’re in a room with somebody you trust and you’ve just shared your list of sexual shames. Congratulations, that is really brave. What do you do next? You make a list of amends – or apologies.



At this point, you’re not going to make a commitment to apologize to anyone – so don’t run off and start doing that! This is delicate work that deserves time, focus and careful attention.

The amends process is common in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. I agree with their method that your list of amends ought to be carefully considered by you – and someone else you trust. The person who listened to your inventory might be the perfect person to help you with this.

One thing to be careful of when making an amends is that the apology itself ought to do no more harm. Let’s say a woman cheated on her boyfriend – someone she’s no longer with. Looking him up and letting him know, “By the way, when I was with you, I was cheating on you,” may hurt him for no good reason.  Choosing whether and how to do an amends requires some challenging judgment calls. That’s why it’s critical to have a trusted partner in this process.

Sometimes an amends is owed to another person, and sometimes you may need to apologize to yourself. You may have made decisions that hurt only you. You may deserve your own “self amends.” Your trusted friend can help you decide what a self amends might be. One popular one is to make a commitment to never do that again.

You may need and want to get creative with this process. If there’s someone you’d like to apologize to but it would do the person harm, you could write an apology and read it to your safe friend only. Or perhaps you owe an apology to someone who has died. Writing and reading a letter out loud could be a way to at least symbolically apologize.

I had a friend who terminated a pregnancy and felt shame and sadeness about that decision. During her amends process she created a ritual by burying a rose. She also gave money to a children’s charity.

Once you have your list of amends, go easy. Respect your comfort zone, your stretch zone and your danger zone in this process. Check in with your safe friend. Be kind to yourself.
I’m thinking of you taking this brave next step.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gorgeous Junk: Interview by Carol Queen


I feel deeply proud to have been interviewed last week by legendary Carol Queen. Here's the conversation courtesy of Good Vibrations:

Meet Our Teachers–Jean Franzblau

TONIGHT we’re so happy to offer a brand-new workshop, all about body image–specifically, genital body image. Jean Franzblau helps us take a new and positive look at our parts in her class Gorgeous Junk: Releasing Negative Thoughts About Our Genitals for Hotter Sex. (“Junk” is a gender-neutral, playful term for the bots Mom used to call “private parts.”) And tomorrow night Good Vibrations sponsors her solo show Coming Out Kinky – A Grown Up Comedy! I caught up with her on the fly as she prepared to travel to San Francisco for these events. Don’t miss her! –Carol Queen, PhD
CQ: Why do you think people, in this supposedly enlightened time, grow up with shame around their genitals?
Jean: I think it begins when a kid discovers their gorgeous junk and a parent or teacher screams, “Don’t touch that!” The energy of alarm and the message “don’t touch that!” sends a clear message: this part of me is somehow bad or off limits.
CQ: How do you distinguish feelings of shame from privacy or modesty?
Jean: Lowered self esteem accompanies shame. A sense of “this part of me is bad” or “I am bad” accompanies shame.
CQ: Do you see different common manifestations of shame depending on a person’s gender? Are there different answers (by gender) to getting a person to feel good about their gorgeous junk?
Jean: Vulva shame especially tends to center around perceived smell and how the vulva looks. Penis shame can focus on size, shape and perceived sexual performance.
Words of appreciation have a healing effect across all kinds of junk, thank goodness! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sexual Esteem, Part 5 - Sharing Your Sexual Shame Inventory



Imagine that you had a list of everything about your sexual history that you’re ashamed of. Would you ever share it with anyone?

My name is Jean Franzblau with “Sexual Esteem with Jean” and we’re deep into a process called “The Sexual Shame Inventory.” The Sexual Shame Inventory can include things that have happened to you, things that you have done and even things that you have thought.

The next step is the find a safe person with whom to share this list. Why would you share this list with anyone? There’s a great saying in 12-step recovery programs: You’re only as sick as your secrets.

Who in your life is a great listener? Who can handle hearing specifics about your sex life? Who can you trust to hold this information sacred and confidential? 

Let’s say  you’ve asked the right person and that person has said yes – what next?

Set aside some time for the experience and give yourselves some privacy and quiet. Coach your listening buddy not to give you advice about what you’re sharing – their one important function is to listen. Ask the person to simply say “thank you” after each item on the list.

I encourage you to be really gentle with yourself. You could share items on your list for just five minutes and check in with how you are feeling. Breathe. Take breaks. Do what you need to do to respect that fact that this can be a life changing process.

Good luck sharing your Sexual Shame Inventory. The next video in this series will explain the final step in the process.