Cuddling For Money: A New Business
When I first heard about this, I thought it was a joke of some sort. I mean, earn money just to cuddle a total stranger for one hour or more? Who, in their right mind, no matter how lonely, would pay another to do this? Crazy!
Yet, cuddle businesses are sprouting up in California and "professional" cuddles (just how does one become a pro-cuddler?) can earn between $50-80 an hour. An hourly rate associated with RN's or more technical careers. Overnight gigs cost $400. The cuddling session is 100% platonic and everyone's clothes remain on their bodies. Cuddlers hug or squeeze their "love" for those who are so lonely. I suppose it is a similar need for those paying for sex.
There are cuddle businesses now in 16 states and those who have done this (on both sides) state the session is very therapeutic mentally. There is also a free phone app, Cuddlr, that provides information and has been downloaded 240,000 times. Using the app, a person can find the closest "cuddler" business, which are not state regulated at all. It is estimated that 10,000 use the app daily. There is also a website, Cuddle Comfort, where those seeking to cuddle can find a business near them and photos of the mostly female cuddlers. It has 18,000 members. Sometimes, a patron wants more than cuddling which ends the session immediately, but, having a tickle session is okay. Some patrons want the cuddler to where something specific, that is another turn-off.
The cuddle business began where you probably suspected: San Francisco, five years ago by a long-haired psychology student and former stripper because he was frustrated with his therapist. Since then, small cuddle businesses have grown. Most spell out to the patron what is and what is not allowed.
As to the benefits, research does show that a touching or cuddling can increase oxytocin, a bonding hormone that promotes warm good feelings. It also reduces stress and lowers the heart rate. Most sessions occur on a large recliner couch instead of a bed because the latter provides the wrong idea. Some cuddlers will also render their services for only $1 per minute.
Once would think this is nonsense, but obviously, it is for real for many who need it for emotional reasons or a lack of feeling love. One business opened up and business was so swift, the store owner hired three other "cuddlers". Sometimes, married men go for a few sessions to learn how to hug and cuddle. Unlike a therapist, a cuddler does not need a state license, just warm and loving arms to snuggle with a total stranger.