A friction party is a social gathering where adults take part in consensual, nonsexual physical touch. Friction party attendees may cuddle, massage one another, hold hands, and perform other nonsexual acts. These events aim to foster human connection and provide a safe space to give and receive affection and explore intimacy.
In many societies, non-sexual touching has been normalized, physical contact isn't a romantic or sexual overture. The close physical contact of a friction party may be arousing to some people. However, overt sexual stimulation and sexual activity is not permitted at a friction party. All attendees should also remain fully clothed at all times. A friction party aims to be a safe space for people to enjoy physical interaction, but not sexual interaction.
A friction party is sometimes called a cuddle party. The terms mean the same thing, but relationship coach Reid Mihalko trademarked Cuddle Party when he started his business of the same name. The term friction party is not trademark-protected, so anyone can freely use it.
As "cuddle party" is a trademarked term, these types of parties are often run as business ventures. Attendees pay for admission and all members of the public who agree to the party’s terms are welcome. Friction parties are non-commercial.
While some friction parties are open to the public, these events may also be private, invitation-only affairs. People do not always pay to attend friction parties as they do cuddle parties, although some hosts may charge for their friction parties.
Only people trained and certified by Cuddle Party can host a cuddle party. In contrast, anyone can host a friction party. Cuddle party hosts, called facilitators, enforce the party's rules. These rules are clear and consistent in parties held all over the world. They govern what cuddle party attendees wear and how they should ask for consent. Friction parties may or may not have rules. These rules can also vary between friction parties. This makes friction parties less formal social events than cuddle parties.
Despite the trademark, many people still use the term cuddle party as a synonym for friction party as cuddle party is a more well-known term. Other terms for friction party include cuddle puddle and snuggle party. Like friction party, both these terms are also not trademarked.