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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024
Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024

No-commitment cuddling: App paves the way for intimacy

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Some call it the Tindr for cuddling.
A new app, Cuddlr, aims to facilitate the way people get their daily dose of physical contact.
Cuddlr, now available for iPhones with a version for Android in development, uses the same technology as popular dating apps like Tindr to locate people in the area who are looking to cuddle.
Users open the app and tap on a person they would like to cuddle with. If the person accepts their cuddle request, real time walking directions pop up, leading the two parties to each other.
In an effort to differentiate itself from apps like Tindr, the only communication two people have prior to their cuddle is a 140-character message to be sent through the app. From there, it’s all up to the individual’s preference.
Those who choose to use the app find benefits extend beyond the fun of meeting a new person. Psychology professor Heather Lench said cuddling has health benefits, too.
“Recent evidence has suggested cuddling releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is also sometimes called the cuddling hormone. [Oxytocin] promotes positive feelings, and it promotes a sense of social connection, of wellbeing,” Lench said. “There’s also evidence that suggests it could have long-term benefits for health and for physical symptoms.”
Lench said cuddling with a stranger could have psychological benefits.
“Typically, you cuddling is a sign that you are close to someone, so it’s possible that cuddling with a stranger might actually help form social bonds,” Lench said. “So someone might start as a stranger but through the act of cuddling you might come to feel closer with that person, especially if you cuddle with the same person multiple times.”
While Cuddlr is not a replacement for physical interaction, Lench said touch is an important part of human development, and not getting enough can have serious health effects.
“We know that people who are socially isolated experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and various psychiatric disorders,” Lench said. “We also know that as far as physical health symptoms go, they become more ill and more likely to die.”
Charlie Williams, a Chicago native who now lives in southwest England and the developer of the app alongside his friend Jeff Kulak, said he never expected the app to become as popular as it has. He said the response to the app has been varied.
“People tend to have really strong reactions to Cuddlr one way or the other,” Williams said. “We have really excited people who are so behind the idea and then we have people who are like, ‘That sounds horrible, that sounds like my worst nightmare,’ so we do emphasize that the app is noncompulsory, nobody has to use it.”
Williams said that the app, while beneficial for all people, might be especially helpful for college students.
“College is a time when you have a lot of intensity in your life,” Williams said. “You’re doing a lot of studying and potentially a lot of socializing. College is definitely when people do a lot of exploring with relationships and sexuality and I think it can be really great to have a space where there isn’t any pressure to be sexual, but you still get to be with another person and be intimate with another person.”
While cuddling with a loved one or a friend can be a normal experience, people may be tentative to cuddle with a stranger. Williams said meeting new people is all part of the experience.
“I do think there is something great and beautiful about meeting a new person,” Williams said. “I think we all have times when you’re hanging around you’ve got a little bit of spare time, and that’s an opportunity when you can use that time to meet new people. And maybe it’s okay, maybe it’s amazing, maybe it’s blah, but I think those times when it’s amazing will be worth it.”
Williams acknowledges the act of cuddling with a stranger could potentially be awkward and strange, but he encourages people to embrace the “weirdness.”
“I think that’s normal and fine for that to be a little bit strange,” Williams said. “That’s not a thing we do. But when we come to a thing that’s new you can either run away from it or you can embrace the strangeness and I think that’s what I want to encourage people to do.”

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