Group holds cuddle parties to benefit health - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group holds cuddle parties to benefit health

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A South Dakota group that gets together to hug said it's about communication and connection. (Source: KOTA/CBS) A South Dakota group that gets together to hug said it's about communication and connection. (Source: KOTA/CBS)

CUSTER, SD (KOTA/CBS) - The cold winter weather is a natural time to get cozy with someone, but one small South Dakota community took it a step further with cuddle parties.

Cuddle parties have been around for nearly 10 years in states like California, but now are making their way into South Dakota.

Organizers say there is nothing sexual about the gatherings. Instead, it's all about connection and communication.

"It is an opportunity for people to get together to receive and give human connection, human touch in a positive mode, because a lot of people have experienced it in a negative context," said facilitator Les Nuckles.

Before the cuddle party starts there is a pot luck dinner and a welcome circle to go over the rules. The main rule is participants must ask before cuddling with someone.

"I asked a massage therapist for a neck rub because my neck was hurting, and I was OK if he had said no, which is something we learn in the cuddle part," said party assistant Jane Backman. "And I've used that in real life because I realize that the person that says no is taking care of themselves."

Copyright 2014 KOTA via CBS. All rights reserved.