Who doesn’t love a good cuddle buddy? At the end of a long day, or when you just need a little extra loving, a little snuggle with someone can go a long way to make you feel better. And it’s not just in your head that you feel better after a cuddle session—experts agree that hugging, cuddling and really any form of human contact can make you feel better, help you bond, lift your spirits and improve relationships and self-confidence. As Shape reports, Catherine A. Connors, stress management coach and holistic therapist, explains that “hugging, kissing, or more physical acts of touch increases oxytocin levels, which is a ‘bonding’ hormone—-this chemical reaction can help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.” Beyond that, cuddling can help you communicate, can remind you that you aren’t alone, and can improve your mental, emotional and even physical health. Bottom line: cuddling matters and humans crave that constant contact with others. Which is why professional cuddling has actually become a thing that exists and that people pay good money for. Yes, there is a profession where strangers pay other strangers to cuddle with them. We’ll let that sink in.
Companies all around the country such as The Snuggle Buddies and Cuddle Up To Me exist because of the simple fact that people love cuddling and often need the healing power of human touch in their lives. But as much as we all need this human contact, it’s not always easy to come by. Until now. Now there is an option to hire a professional whose job is to soothe you, help you relax, snuggle with you and just generally keep you company.
So how does it work? The first step is to find a cuddle-on-call company and fill out an application form to hire someone to snuggle with you. You have options to consider while you fill out this form: do you want the cuddling to take place at your home, the home of the cuddle buddy or at a studio location? Do you want to actually physically snuggle, or just hang out in a platonic manner? Do you want to spend time together outside in public or at home? How long do you want to hire this person for? Do you want a man or a woman? There’s a lot to consider and the more you think through what you hope to get out of your session, the better the experience will be. Once you submit a form, a professional cuddler in your area will be contacted to set up your session.
Who is this so-called professional? They’re people, just like you and me, but they have been trained in over 50 cuddle positions (yeah, apparently there are many more ways to cuddle than you ever knew) and they are well-versed in how to use platonic human touch as therapy to make you feel better. According to The Snuggle Buddies website, “all of our professional snugglers are well versed in “The Cuddle Sutra”, which is a book detailing over 50 cuddling positions. We only hire caring individuals that want to do this profession to help others.” We can’t make this stuff up.
Cuddling sessions can last for anywhere from 15 minutes to an over-night session (aka a sleepover) or longer, and the costs vary depending on your location and the company you use. From what we’ve seen, price tags can range between $1 a minute to a minimum of $80 for an hour session and up from there. In other words, this much-needed human contact is expensive, but arguably worth every penny. Based on studies conducted by Dr. Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute, it is clear that “we thrive on contact-—a lack of human interaction can contribute to depression, stress, high blood pressure and aggression. But any amount of it, on the other hand, releases a chemical called oxytocin into the brain, effectively lowering high levels of stress and blood pressure.” Some people wouldn’t think twice about paying for a session with a therapist, so how is paying for a cuddle session any different?
So why doesn’t everyone you know pay to snuggle with others? Well, there are some reasons for concern. After all, even though these sessions are explicitly platonic, you’re still paying a total stranger to be in very close contact with your body. You will be all up in each other’s business, and the idea of respecting personal space, especially of someone you don’t know, is tossed out the window when you hire a professional cuddle partner. It seems like a potentially risky idea. According to International Business Times, “the brave new world of professional cuddling is largely unregulated, or at least haphazardly self-regulated, with few real safety standards in place.” It’s important to know what you are getting into if you hire a professional cuddle expert, and to go in with an open mind, but also make sure that you listen to your instincts and if something makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably not a good idea.