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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Cuddlr App Working to Change Cuddling Connotation

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge ANDREA SCHAFFER
There are plenty of apps available for people who want someone to “cuddle” with at 3 in the morning. (Note the scare quotes.)

But what about apps for people who honestly just want to genuinely cuddle with someone? Maybe you’re getting over a bad breakup or getting into Breaking Bad and want to snuggle up with someone to while you watch it.

Llet’s just cuddle,” is one of the most infamous euphemisms in the book, but app developer Charlie Williams and designer Jeff Kulak have created an app for those who want to do just that — cuddle.

Called “Cuddlr,” the “Tinder for cuddling” has only been out for a month, but has already had more than 200,000 downloads.

Cuddlr works by displaying people who are within walking distance and showing how recently they’ve been active. Once users see someone they want to cuddle with, they can send a “cuddle request,” which expires an hour after it’s sent.

Unlike Tinder, Cuddlr doesn’t allow users to filter their matches by age or gender.

“Initially, the idea was that people would be up for cuddling with whoever, because the idea was to be platonic. We are trying to make it not gender binary,” Williams said. “I think people are having trouble getting the idea of the app and are determined to make everything either like a hookup or something like a hookup.”

While an app for “just cuddling” is a nice idea, it seems unlikely that people who meet on it will really just be cuddling, although that is what Williams hopes people will be using the app for.

Williams says that ideally, he wants users to have a “public cuddle” for their first Cuddlr encounter.

“People usually define cuddling as lying down in a bed, spooning. I think that’s a terrible first cuddle,” Williams said. “I think sitting on a park bench with your arms around each other’s shoulders is a really good cuddle because you have some space, and you’re in public, so if anything gets a bit weird, it’s easier to get out of there.”

As with any app or site that allows you to hang out with strangers from the Internet, it’s important to use common sense when using Cuddlr.

“I think the innocence of cuddling makes people think this app is a funny joke. Obviously, people should use precaution,” Williams said. “I’m hoping people will develop long term cuddle buddies from the app. Then you can get a sense for the person, develop trust for them, and make decisions about where and how you want to cuddle.”

Although Cuddlr has been getting a lot of love on social media — Williams said people have been tagging him in selfies they took with their “Cuddlr match” — it’s been getting hated on a fair amount as well.

“One of the reasons people hate it is it challenges what it means to be intimate with someone,” Williams said. “We want to guide people towards something that is different from a dating app experience.”

Cuddling is largely regarded as a sexual activity or a precedent to one — but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

“I see the app as being part of a larger social conversation about intimate relationships and sexuality. We are able to choose more consciously and deliberately what these things mean to us. I think Cuddlr can be a part of that,” Williams said.



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Jessica Nemire

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