The power of touch is an incredible force. A hug can instantly improve your mood or put you more at ease in an uncomfortable situation. A massage provides a stress outlet like no other. Science has even proven that human touch releases the feel-good hormones oxytocin and serotonin and decreases levels of cortisol (the "stress" hormone). But how far would you go to incorporate touch into your life? Would you pay money to snuggle?
You can, you know. In this world where you can buy pretty much anything -- including happiness -- there are now professional for-hire cuddling companies. HER Radio
hosts, Michelle King Robson and Dr. Pam Peeke, recently visited with founder of Cuddle Up to Me, Samantha Hess, to learn more about her business as a professional cuddler and what that even means (listen to the segment here
What DOES it mean?
I asked some of the staff members here at RadioMD what they thought of this whole "pay-to-cuddle" concept, and the initial reaction was overwhelmingly "That's just CREEPY." (Of course I'm paraphrasing). Oh, and sketchy, for sure. Why would you want to hire a complete stranger to perform such an intimate act? And what happens (and it IS bound to happen) when the person being cuddled becomes sexually aroused? Awkward? Um, that is a vast understatement. But guess what? Some of their opinions changed... wonder why?
I think, for the most part, it has to do with compassion and gained understanding. Many of Hess's clients suffer from serious medical conditions, including cancer, autism and even one "patient" with Lou Gehrig's disease... certainly NOT greasy guys just wanting to get their rocks off.
She DOES, however, perform "overnight" cuddle sessions which, again, brings up the arousal question. I mean, it happens quite often in massage clients and snuggling seems far more intimate than a massage (even though massage can very sensual). Hess says she has ways to handle those incidences, so, basically no happy ending for you!
All kidding aside, it appears that Hess runs a legitimate business to serve a legitimate need. Why shouldn't you be able to reap the benefits of human touch? Even if you have to dip into your wallet?
Now, I cannot speak for other cuddle-for-hire businesses out there. There definitely could be some that act as "fronts" for other, potentially illegal escort services. We all know those exist.Hug It Out
I think I've mentioned before that I'm a hugger. I LOVE HUGS. The other day I had a business meeting. Some of the people in attendance I knew, and some I didn't. One woman arrived later in the hour, but before she sat down, she hugged every single person – whether she knew them or not. Including me. I'd never met her before, but she gave me the biggest, tightest, most caring hug. Suddenly the energy in the room changed. Everyone was more collaborative and inspired. We had amazing conversations and came up with incredibly creative ideas. By the end of the meeting, when we were all saying goodbye, everyone hugged everyone else. It was quite possibly the BEST part of my day.
Another example... my personal trainer is also one of my very best friends. We hug at the start of each session and at the end (even though, by then, we are usually very sweaty). Real, meaningful hugs. A few times, if she has a client immediately following me, we don't get a chance to hug goodbye. And it's weird. Like a piece of me is missing the rest of the day.
Touch can bring out brimming emotions. Sometimes the simple act of a hug or even someone putting his or her hand on your shoulder can allow you to let those tears flow and know that it's OK.
I've mentioned intimacy a few times now. One staff member here, who understands
certain individuals' need for a cuddling service but who would never require it herself, had this to say: "One of the best things about being intimate or touching someone else is the emotional relationship that you have developed with that person."
Yes, I would agree. But, if you're not getting human touch from the people in your life, I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to get it somewhere.
Another staff member did pose an interesting question, however. If you did hire a cuddling service, would you tell your friends and family members? Or would you be a "closet cuddler"? I'll leave that up to you to decide...