Puget Sound cuddle group “Hugz & Cuddlez” held the largest group-cuddle event ever recorded in Tukwila, Washington last week, on November 12. The event, organized by Hugz & Cuddlez founder Erez Benari of Redmond, Washington, was put in place to promote the group’s goals of educating the public about the importance of a human touch to our mental health.
“These are trying times for all of us, and after almost 2 years in quarantine, many are struggling with loneliness and despair,” said Benari in a statement. “As part of my work, I encounter people who are desperate to have a human connection, and I’ve developed the concept of a group-cuddle event to address that. “Said Benari.
Hugz & Cuddlez holds cuddle events every week, sometimes as often as 2 or 3 times a week, when there is sufficient demand. “Cuddle events can be done anywhere,” informs us Benari, “and I have a set of inflatable mattresses, so I can host these anywhere within reasonable driving distance”. Starting in 2018 in Woodinville, WA, Benari has hosted hundreds of such events to date, at over 10 different locations in the region. The event held on Nov 12th was the largest, with almost 30 individuals in a single “cuddle pile”, as Benari refers to it. “Seeing so many people cuddled together, and hearing their enjoyment was amazing, “exclaimed Benari of the event, which is in the process of being added to the Guinness Book of World Records and has received a lot of attention from the press.
“Interest in our events keeps growing,” shares Benari, “so this monumental pile is probably just the beginning. My community numbers in the thousands and growing by dozens every week. Some days, I vet 15 new people in a single day”, he says. Vet refers to a process developed by Benari to ensure the safety of his guests. “Many people associate cuddling with sex, but our events are not about that, and it’s critical that people know that “elaborates Benari. “Before a person is permitted to join us, I conduct an interview with them, usually on the phone or a zoom meeting, to make sure they know what they are getting themselves into, and to ensure they understand that these are platonic cuddles, and that consent is a prime value for us.”
According to Benari, teaching people about boundaries and consent is important, and is a big factor in the success of these events. “While there are certainly places out there where people engage in adult stuff, this is not what we do, and my guests are looking up to me to provide them with a safe space.” Details Benari. “This is the main reason for our vetting process, and we are all very happy with the resulting atmosphere. “He said.
While the Guinness book of records already holds a record for the longest hug (Joe Snape and Will Jarvis hold the record for the longest recorded hug, standing at 36 hours, 36 minutes, and 36 seconds between Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June 2018), there is no current record for the largest group-cuddle, and Benari hopes that Hugz & Cuddlez will be accepted by Guinness shortly.