Photo (cc) by benjaminasmith
“Nothing is as healing as the human touch.” Those were perhaps the last words uttered by Bobby Fischer, one of the world’s greatest chess champions, before he died.
Fischer was onto something. Studies have shown that touch is powerful and essential to our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
With that in mind, I guess it should really come as no surprise that some people are willing to pay for human touch. I’m not talking about an illegal escort service or prostitution. I’m referring to platonic cuddling, a completely non-sexual form of touch.
“Whether you want to cuddle for friendship, relaxation, or therapeutic reasons, we would be happy to be your snuggle partner,” reads the website for Snuggle Buddies, which is just one name on a growing list of professional snuggle businesses that have cropped up recently across the United States. With names like Cuddle Up to Me and The Snuggery, the emerging industry is urging Americans to literally embrace the concept at rates that start out around $60 an hour for a professional cuddler.
Snuggle Buddies founder Evan Carp told The Atlantic that his New Jersey-based business takes in about $16,000 a month in revenue. Says The Atlantic:
The idea of paying to cuddle may sound laughable, desperate, or even skeevy. But these businesses are serving a diverse swath of Americans with a variety of needs. Some clients seek companionship—two recent surveys found that around 40 percent of adults say they’re lonely, which represents a major increase over the 20 percent of adults who said the same back in 1980. Other clients are victims of physical abuse, or suffer from PTSD, and find cuddling therapeutic.
Snuggle clients aren’t limited to a session of cuddling. From simply holding hands and relaxing to talking or telling stories while cuddling in the standard spooning style, the client is able to direct the session according to their non-sexual desires.
“During a cuddle session we can hug, sit, lie, dance, sing, read, or play games,” according to the Cuddle Up to Me website. “We will customize the session to make you comfortable, relaxed, and feeling the sort of love a mother gives to her child.”
Melissa Duclos-Yourdon, a 30-something freelance writer and editor in Vancouver, Washington, told The Wall Street Journal that she hired a professional cuddler mostly out of curiosity but was surprised to find out how much she loved the session.
“I felt transformed,” she said.
Intrigued? If you love to cuddle and you’re looking for a job, Snuggle Buddies is hiring. It pays its professional cuddlers $40 an hour. The job is mainly geared toward women. “Male snugglers rarely ever get any hours,” according to the website.
Although many people like snuggles and hugs, “man’s best friend” apparently does not. Check out “Dogs Hate It When We Hug Them, Expert Says.”
What do you think of the professional snuggler industry? Would you cuddle a stranger for $40 an hour? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.