If finding dates on BeLinked via professional networking site LinkedIn isn’t your bag, but cuddling with strangers is, you’re in luck: Cuddlr, the free location-based social-meeting app for cuddling debuted on iTunes Thursday. The app allows you to “find people near you who are up for a cuddle … No pressure.”
“No pressure” presumably refers to no pressure for sex, but it’s easy to wonder what would stop people from using the app to have sex, or from putting pressure on a match who truly is not looking for anything more intimate. Cuddlr’s creator, Charlie Williams, addresses that concern, along with our culture’s squeamishness about using an app for cuddling, but not for sex, in a long essay on Medium. In it, he makes a clear distinction between touch and sex.
“Will some people cuddle, and then decide they want more? Absolutely," Williams writes. "Just like everything else people do together: rugby, pizza delivery, surgery, graduate degrees — some of the participants in these activities will decide they need to get it on together. So long as everyone stays communicative and respectful, this is great. Will a few people try to ‘upgrade’ their cuddle mid-flight? As much as we might wish it were otherwise: Yes, they probably will. For this reason, it’s possible to report someone who cuddles inappropriately, and we encourage first-time pairs to do their cuddling in a public place."
In addition to providing real-time walking directions for potential cuddlers, the app shows “a tally of how many successful cuddles they [users] have had already: the more someone has been vetted by other users, the more likely they are to be good at cuddling, communication, and respecting boundaries.”
A video advertising the Cuddlr app showcases a feel-good montage of varied cuddling couples: opposite-sex cuddlers, same-sex cuddling, intergenerational hugging, interracial hugging, and hugging between able-bodied people and people with disabilities.
Although Cuddlr might be novel in the app world, "cuddle parties," social events that allow people to meet up, talk and cuddle, have been a trend for over a decade.
Time will tell what public reception will be to Cuddlr, but the comments section of Jezebel might provide a clue. “Need one where you cuddle with anonymous fuzzy animals," wrote one commenter, to which another replied, “That is an app I would use. Strange people touching me? Creepy. Strange fuzzy animals touching me? Love!”