On a Saturday night in Venice, California, light spills from an open door on an otherwise dark street. The space appears to be an art gallery or studio: blank walls, cubbies for shoes and personal items and cushioned mats and pillows lining half of the room’s hardwood floor.
Twelve individuals filter into the room – dressed in pajamas, yoga attire, sweatpants – some more confidently than others. There are a handful who remove their shoes immediately and find a place on the floor, blanket in tow, presumably preparing for some grand slumber party or group nap. Each visitor is greeted by a woman wielding an iPad. “Would you like a hug?” she asks.
Abhit Singh looks puzzled but welcomes the hug – this is his first time here. The woman offers Singh the iPad. He, like all other participants, must sign a waiver. She then instructs the group to take a seat on the cushions, her voice maintaining a steady and smooth timbre.
This room is called The Love Dome and hosts events including yoga, dance and private parties. Every Wednesday and Saturday night, The Love Dome is host to Cuddle Sanctuary, an organization that leads group cuddle events, professional cuddling and training for professionals. This is one of their group cuddle sanctuaries.