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trunks_girl26
So, a friend sent me link to The Cuddle Puddle, and I'm wondering what all of you have to say about this?

It's, as far as I can tell, a group of teens, guys and girls, all hooking up and experementing with each other, not necessarily at the same time, but without any strings attached (or so they'd like to think). The group includes guys hooking up with guys and girls hooking up with girls, but the article does focus mostly on girls hooking up with girls.

So, what do all of you think about this?

(I'll post my own opinion once I'm coherent enough to put my thoughts together)
Phyllis
I was trying to remember where I'd heard the term "cuddle puddle" recently, then I realized I read it on a friend's LJ. I've pointed him in this direction, cause he can probably give a more informed opinion of it than I can...since he goes to that high school and hangs out with those kids, though he's not mentioned in the article. From his LJ post I gathered that the article had kind of a skewed perspective.

As for whether it's a good or bad thing? Depends on the people involved and whether they're emotionally ready for such stuff. Only they can make that judgment, to be honest. From what I've read, it's nothing that didn't go on at my own school, so it doesn't exactly seem like breaking news to me. Though I, of course, was completely innocent until after graduation innocent.gif (I really was). Hmmm...though I guess it was just girls who were experimenting with other girls openly at my school, come to think of it. Guys weren't open about that sort of stuff, but 6-10 years ago it was socially acceptable for girls to be open about it...at least where I went to school.
Mata
Two sections of that article stand out for me:

QUOTE
Ten years ago in the halls of Stuyvesant you might have found a few goth girls kissing goth girls, kids on the fringes defiantly bucking the system. Now you find a group of vaguely progressive but generally mainstream kids for whom same-sex intimacy is standard operating procedure.


and

QUOTE
the cuddle-puddle kids are not considered part of the gay community. “One of the great things about bisexuality is that mainstream gay culture doesn’t affect us as much,” says Jane, “so it’s not like bi boys feel that they have to talk with a lisp and walk around all fairylike, and it’s not like girls feel like they have to dress like boys.” The downside, she says, is that “gays feel that bis will cheat on them in a straight manner.” In fact, there’s a general impression of promiscuity that bisexual girls can’t seem to shake. “The image of people who are bi is that they are sluts,” says Jane. “One of the reasons straight boys have this bi-girls fantasy is that they are under the impression that bisexual girls will sleep with anything that moves and that’s why they like both genders, because they are so sex-obsessed. Which isn’t true.”


I found those interesting because it shows in some ways how much has changed since I started at university ten years ago. Back then I was, apparently, the only bi guy at the university (the other out and non-straight guys have since decided that they are gay, which was pretty clear at the time anyway).

It's heartening to hear that bisexuality is becoming less of an issue that presents huge problems to people in the way that it did for me (it's surprisingly difficult to work out what you are when the internet has barely been invented and you don't have any friends of your own gender and the same sexuality). This said, it's also depressingly predictable that many of the same attitudes still exist about bisexuality, most notably rejection from gay groups and the idea of bisexuality instantly meaning promiscuity.

I did find it a little amusing that these people were all discussing promiscuity as a myth when there was clearly a great deal of casual activity going on inside and outside of relationships. This has always been an issue for the representation of bisexuality: there are some bi people who can happily live as one sexuality or the other, others are only interested in little physical contact with one gender and express a dominant interest in the other, and another group of bisexuals need physical contact with both genders to feel sexually satisfied. It's not made any easier by the fact that there are probably many subdivisions beyond this simple model, that all of these very different behaviors are generally grouped under the single name of 'bisexuality', and there is generally a huge amount of misunderstanding about the nature of bisexuality when a public figure is revealed to be inclined that way (the recent example of 'gay' Mark Oaten with a wife and two children springs to mind).

Then again, groups like the 'cuddle puddle' were around when I was 18, just not anywhere where I was studying. A local drama school (big surprise there) had at least one group who were in a complex set of inter-relationships, and would have parties where cross-sexual spin-the-bottle was common. It was with them that I had my first ever kiss with a guy... Which was fun but scared the hell out of me (it was only the third person I'd ever kissed and things were travelling a bit fast at the time) but I digress; my point is basically that these groups have existed for a while in the secluded confines of specialist establishments. It's interesting that they're now getting coverage, but I don't know if it really signifies any sexual revolution yet. It might be that they are an indication of some movement in the field of accepted sexuality though, which is a nice idea.
gerbilfromhell
Aaaah, The Article (as we've taken to calling it). I was I believe given the opportunity to be in the article (or at least one of my best friends said I should get involved in it, and she's the primary subject of the article), but passed it up because I was a little wary of it. Glad I did.

(this is copied from my livejournal)

Sure, it talks about how we've 'moved beyond' stereotypes, yet then spends the entire article doing exactly that, and even calls us the 'bi clique.'

Sure, two of the three guys (not counting Jarod, because he's mentioned for five seconds and his sexuality isn't explained) in an article about teen sexuality were straight and only two of the girls were, and they were each mentioned for very little of the article.

Sure, there were more skewed facts in there than makes any sense: apparently, Alair is in love with Cal, Hector is one of the most popular kids in the school (he's an awesome guy, really he is, but I think that's a bit much), Alair Cal Lauren and Zoob are the social/sexual norm for Stuy which is apparently becomming the social/sexual norm for the country (an exaggeration, obviously. But come on, it's not like NYC is everywhere else in the world), Stuy is not homophobic (just cause we're not means nothing about the rest of the school, come on), et cetera.

Sure, a most of those words used to describe sexuality in that list are made up, not said by us, or both. The list being: polysexual (no), ambisexual (no), pansexual (whatthefuck?), pensensual (again, no), polyfide (no), bi-curious (there we go), bi-queer (uh, what? no.), fluid (eh. no.), metroflexible (that doesn't even make sense), heteroflexible (finally a word that is actually possibly a little bit coming into vogue at Stuy), heterosexual with lesbian tendencies (don't they see that none of us would take the time to say something that long to describe sexuality? Unless maybe if you're Anastasiya. She's probably said that once or twice in the past year)

Sure, it mentions us drinking and smoking and partying when the reporter promised she wouldn't endlessly, and used that promise to try (and succeed sometimes? I can't even remember) and get into a lot of the parties we threw.

Sure, it calls us the 'cuddle puddle' (ok, it's funny, but what?), when that term is not in fact our name for our group, but in fact is a term to describe a lot of people on E lieing on the floor in a pile.

Sure, it says, "the boys showing off for the girls, the girls showing off for everyone."

I think that's a good list so far. I could keep going, but eh. New York Magainze, for all that I'm annoyed with the article, does have a national audience. The message will get spread. It'll do good in the end.

However, I dislike some of the message they're sending. If we're the 'post-gay' generation, what we're doing then is making homosexuality something that's just 'there' in life, something that people take less and less notice of in a standing-out way, until it's at the point where it's just like any other topic of conversation, whether in seriousness or in jest. That the gay couple making out in the hallway shouldn't just be accepted--it should be noticed no more and no less than the straight couple making out in the hallway. (guy *or* girl, which this article seems to have missed. Somehow, I'm not sure that there are less openly gay couples at Stuy than openly lesbian ones. The only difference between guys teasing each other sexually and girls doing it is that guys don't kiss when they do. But everything else is the same as with girls. I'm really kind of annoyed that the article missed that)

Also, this article sort of implies that we have all the not straight people in various cliques of their own. Which is just ridiculous, especially in that our group has probably more straight people than not straight people.

But you know what? At this point it just gets into a matter of my opinion. I get a bit... just a bit... annoyed when people point out a gay couple just because it's a gay couple. Yeah, if it's two hot guys, I may do a double-take (not sure if that's the right word) and take a second glance, same as I would if it's a hot straight couple. As proud as I am of everyone who's an openly gay/lesbian/bi/trans/whatever person, it's not in itself inherently a 'beautiful' thing. It shouldn't BE a 'thing.' It's the difference between fighting for civil rights in the 60s and now fighting for making a race something not noticed in society any more than anything else. Don't get me wrong-- I admire any supporter of gay rights, really I do. This hardly offsets that at all, but it's something that's been in the fore of my mind for awhile. And this article conveys exactly what I'm talking about.


However, the thing is, very little of the country is ready to start making homosexuality 'not a thing.' And this article will send a well-intended message in the right direction, and for that I commend the reporter and New York Magazine. However, this is one of those things that makes us just a bit more cynical. One of those things that makes us trust well-intentioned people just a bit less. Because, none of us have any idea what's going to happen because of this article, but oh there've been guesses, and the article just came out today. What happens when this article is read through the eyes of a socially conservative reader (try doing it, you'll see what I mean. Those 'positive messages' dissapear and are replaced with, to an extent a reaffirmation of what homosexuality can do to teenagers, and therefore a justification of why it's wrong).




Anyways, yeah. Basically this reporter followed my friends around for a few weeks and monitored us. A large amount of the quotes in that article are completely sarcastic (especially Alair's and Nathan's). I mean, they're obvious to me, but that's cause they're friends of mine. I have no idea how everyone else is taking those quotes.

My other main problem with this is that it describes sexuality as the main focus of our lives, and that we basically all sleep with each other, which really isn't true. Being open with our sexualities does not mean our lives revolve around them.

A lot of what they describe as flirting I'd describe as sexual teasing. The Article didn't mention the sexual teasing between guys, which to me would have been interesting because between guys, it's me (openly bi since a couple years ago) and a bunch of straight guys and 'straight' guys. It's interesting because they don't care that I'm bi, and know that it's not at all serious unless we chose to make it so (basically that there's a distinction between sexual teasing and genuine flirting). The same goes for girls, although the article seemed to 'imply' (by 'implying' that Alair and Cal are passionately in love, for example) otherwise.


I have more to write on this, but this has taken me long enough for one sitting. I'll be back with more at some point. I would like to know what your all's reaction to The Article is, as in my school most know that's its a rather skewed perspective on us.
Phyllis
Well, my perspective on it is probably slightly skewed due to knowing you, Gerby.

But when I first read the article (before I remembered where I'd heard the term), I was basically thinking "Uhm..so? 16 year olds are experimenting with sex and teasing their close friends in a flirtatious manner...and? This is not exactly a new thing."

People wouldn't be overly shocked if it was talking about a group of completely straight kids the same age who were experimenting sexually with one another (even if it did overstate the extent of it in that case as well). That's just something that has been happening for quite awhile. But as soon as same sex relations enter into it...people seem to wonder if it's damaging or some other such nonsense. I don't see it that way...and really don't understand why anyone would.
Astarael
My reaction pretty much lines up with cand's here. The only surprising bit to me is that the people are so open about it. Hardly any people at my school have come out, even to their friends. However, I'm down in the Georgia bit of the Bible belt and the school is riddled with homophobes. I don't know much about how open people are further east and north, or even in college, for that matter. More people accepting different sexualities would be great, and the coverage may help a little.
As for people worrying about same-sex relations more than straight ones, it's been a cultural taboo for quite a while and several religions (Christianity being the foremost here) are against it. When you discuss something that people don't really understand and that they worry is extra-sinful, there's bound to be some extra paranoia. I think that the extra worry sucks and I don't agree with it, but I can sort of see where some people are coming from.
Museum Girl
I find it weird that researchers are "shocked" that 11 percent of teenage girls have had lesbian expieriences. I mean about 50% of the girls I know had had them befre they were sixteen and I do not go to a progressive school. Mostly they did it for the sake of their boyfriends but they're ounting that in the statistics. Also why shocked? That implies it's a bad thing in some way.
Wiseacre
Yeah, my reaction is "big whup". We did this sort of thing in high school too, and I went to high school like 15 years ago. We did it even though we were the first generation to grow up with the threat of AIDS. In fact, a lot of our experimentation was to avoid having intercourse. Anyway, people always make big deals over anything that has gay activity, and also anything involving "underage" sex.
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