What are professional cuddlers? Put simply, they're people who get paid to platonically snuggle with clients. We've all snuggled up with someone or something (looking at you, Mr. Blankie) and have all reaped the benefits of a warm hug at one time or another, right? So why is it so odd to consider it a real profession? We pay for tons of other services that we otherwise provide ourselves: eating out vs. cooking at home, a paid massage vs. forcing a friend to rub our back, getting a manicure vs. biting our nails incessantly. So, when it comes to professional cuddling, why do the warm fuzzy feelings seem a little less fuzzy?
Here are some professional cuddler facts that explain why we should maybe shine a light into the dimly lit room of platonic spoons and squeezes - for an easy $80 an hour.
In lieu of training, most cuddle companies require employees to read up on Cuddle Sutra, the book on all things snuggles. Cuddle Sutra takes an extensive look at platonic cuddling and its variations, outlining over 50 different positions. From new wave hugging to reverse spooning, this nuzzle novel is bringing a whole new meaning to "snuggle up with a good book."
After the relatively warm reaction to cuddling since its start in 2012, the world's first cuddling convention, called Cuddle Con, was held on Valentine's Day in 2015. The convention was intended to provide a space for cuddlers, clients, therapists, and psychologists to come together and speak about the world of warm snuggles. Samantha Hess, the organizer of the convention, scheduled speakers on touch, communication, and other forms of therapy to advocate for the benefits of professional cuddling. Since then, she's made quite a name for herself. Here is a clip of Hess auditioning for America's Got Talent.
Touch is a proven form of therapy. When we cuddle, oxytocin is released in our bodies. This chemical works to help increase positivity and enhance our immune systems, ultimately improving our mental states. Studies have proven that couples who cuddle in their sleep are more likely to feel positive about their relationship. When this release is cut off, say from a disability or a divorce, individuals become more susceptible to depression and disease. Human beings benefit from human touch, and while many would argue that familiarity is needed to experience the full range of cuddling benefits, others claim to receive the same "boost" from the stranger-turned-cuddling companion.
While this service comes as a surprise to many, the demand is clearly there. Companies like Cuddle Up to Me and Snuggle Buddies charge up to $80 per hour for cuddling sessions. The employee walks away with about 50 percent of that, which means they get a solid $40 per hour rate. When traveling is involved, the company requires the client to supplement the employee's travel expenses, as well as any hotel room booked. The money is paid in full at the beginning of the session and a tip is frequently added at the end. A well-established cuddler can really shovel - or spoon - in the dough!