Cuddle Therapy: It’s a cross between massage therapy and some type of psychological service, but what it is not is sexual. Professional cuddlers say they will tickle, hug, or spoon with you, but it’s strictly platonic: everyone stays clothed and no sexual activity is involved.
This trend, which began in the United States approximately five years ago, is largely promoted through Phone Apps like Snugglr and advertising. While it may seem odd to some, professional cuddlers say there’s a booming industry and need for it. Many people, including those who are coming out of traumatic relationships, those who have been sexually traumatized, those who are physically disfigured or have medical ailments, may crave human physical intimacy without sexuality. The science behind it is long-proven: Humans thrive on human touch and can become depressed and despondent without it.
According to Yahoo! zfinance, “professional cuddlers” may earn $80 an hour to $425 for an entire night of hugging, spooning, tickling, and bear-hugging. Although there is no professional licensing for Cuddling, there are various training programs across the country, including how to deal with unreasonable requests, inappropriate requests (that may include sexual requests), adults who have mental and physical challenges, including autistic patrons.
Safety is a concern that many who are interested in utilizing the services, or performing the services, may have. At Cuddle Up To Me in Portland, Oregon, leg touching is sanctioned, but not far up the thigh. The storefront business relies on security cameras to manage security, and clear communication about what is, and is not, offered and tolerated.
Becky Rodrigues, 34, works for The Snuggle Buddies LLC, an online service with cuddlers in 15 states. She snuggles clients on a bed behind a privacy screen in her Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, basement. Sometimes people are disappointed at the fact that there is no sexuality, even though that has been explicitly stated beforehand.
“I could tell some were disappointed that all they were getting was a cuddle, but that’s the way it is.”
Some contracts require patrons to keep things sanitary. Contracts require that clients must shower and brush their teeth prior to a session for the comfort of the professional cuddler. Others are asked to wear certain clothing, including provided velour leisure suits.
Professional Cuddlers may be highly misunderstood by everyone including neighbors to patrons, so communication and contracts are key.
What do you think, readers? Would you use a professional cuddling service? Do you feel this is a safe and needed service?