Madison, WI – A new “cuddling” business in metropolitan Wisconsin has caused some concern among city officials. Basically, there seems to be some confusion over how far cuddling can go before it becomes prostitution.
The Snuggle House has delayed its opening while the owner attempts to convince the city that cuddling is the only thing on the menu, reports WKOW. The owner’s attorney said that the Tuesday opening will be delayed indefinitely until authorities are “comfortable” with the business.
There are some practical reasons for the delay. City officials said that the business hasn’t even passed fire inspections required for an occupancy permit, but the main concern regards Snuggle House’s business plan – namely, the lack of a business plan.
“The city’s primary concern is, we don’t want a house of prostitution popping up,” said assistant city attorney Jennifer Zilavy.
According to Snuggle House assistant manager Emily Noon, the operation is simple: Clients sign “non-sexual touch” contracts that will be strictly enforced.
The idea behind the business is “touch therapy,” whereby prospective customers can relax in intimate, though non-sexual cuddling with another person.
“There’s so many people who don’t have a significant other in their lives that just need to be held,” Noon said.
The Snuggle House currently employs five staff members, or “cuddlers,” all in their twenties.
There is no formal licensing for cuddling therapy professionals, and Noon said that no special training is required. “We’re just college students that know how important it is to have physical touch in our lives,” she said.
Noon also said that the proper precautions have been put in place. Should a customer become unruly and demand sexual touch, each room is equipped with surveillance cameras and panic buttons.
“Matthew is our creator, is our owner, and he’s really taking care of everything for us,” Noon said. “We have Matthew, and he’s taking care of us.”
But the city needs to see those precautions in writing. Even then, they’ll be keeping an eye on the operation.
“We’re going to be watching the business very closely,” Zilavy said. “And monitoring it to make sure what they presented to us, is, in fact, what they’re doing.”
There are, in fact, independent professional cuddlers in New York and Colorado, but the Snuggle House is unaffiliated with them. So far as we know, they’re the first official cuddling business, as other professional cuddlers tend to be freelance, one-woman operations.
We reported in April on Kitty Mansfield, a “professional cuddler” who earns up to $500 a day by cozying up to her clients.
What do you think of the Snuggle House? Is there just too much liability for professional cuddling to take off as a business?