At least twice a week, Marcia Baczynski and Reid Mihalko don pajamas, snack on munchies and snuggle up with stuffed animals on the floor. Sound like your typical junior-high sleepover? It isn't. Baczynski, 26, and Mihalko, 36, spend the night with as many as 20 strangers at the popular "cuddle parties" they host in their New York City apartments. Since February, more than 300 guests have paid $30 each to enjoy three hours of cuddling and, say organizers, a dose of healing. "There is recognition that we're not getting enough touch and affection," says Baczynski, a self-described sex educator. "When you open up to people amazing things can happen."

That does not mean sex. Hanky-panky is forbidden by the 16 rules listed on cuddleparty.com. Guests must wear pajamas ("more comfy than sexy"), and there is absolutely "no dry humping." These rules are meant to create a safe space where adults can explore affection without its becoming sexualized. Each party begins with a "welcome circle," where cuddlers practice saying no to unwanted advances. According to Baczynski, "People learn to communicate what they want and don't want." Birgitte Philippides, 36, says the parties can improve life for singles. "Ever since I've been cuddling, it's been a waterfall of guys asking me out because I'm so much more approachable," she says. Baczynski and Mihalko have already taken their cuddle gospel to Hawaii, California and, last weekend, Washington, D.C. They're hosting their first single-sex cuddles in September and have parties planned for senior citizens. You're never too old to hug.