Selected Podcast

Professional Cuddlers: The Power of Human Connection

Professional Cuddlers: The Power of Human Connection
Human touch is important and people yearn for it. It is one of the most important components in a relationship.

In 2009, DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, demonstrated that people have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone.

But if you are not receiving affection from a significant other, could cuddling with a stranger fill the void?

How far would you go to reap the benefits of touch? Would you hire a professional cuddling service?

If you need a hug, you can call Samantha Hess. Samantha is a professional cuddler who owns Cuddle Up to Me, a for-hire cuddling service. 

Your initial reaction may be that the service sounds, well, creepy. If you are able to put your preconceived notions aside, there are many health benefits of cuddling. "Snuggling" can be healing, therapeutic, comforting and restorative.

You may be wondering what happens if someone becomes sexually aroused during the session. After all, you cannot always control arousal, and cuddling can be very intimate. Samantha explains that in her practice, there is an agreement to not act on the arousal. The participants can take a break if necessary, and she makes sure that the session remains completely professional. 

In this segment, Samantha discusses why she started Cuddle Up to Me, as well as how physical contact can improve your health.
Featured Speaker:
Samantha Hess, Professional Cuddler
samantha hessSamantha Hess is a 29-year-old professional cuddler who lives in Portland, Oregon. The idea for her thriving business came in January 2013 when she saw a man holding a sign offering hugs for $2. "He had more than a dozen people lined up around him wanting to be held," said Hess. "I sensed there was a demand for cuddling, but I was unsure if I could turn that idea into an actual business." In April 2013 she launched her website and spent two months researching the legalities of commercial cuddling. "I found nothing that would legally deter the business from succeeding and hired a lawyer to draft a liability waiver," said Hess. "I took on clients in June and registered Cuddle Up To Me as a formal company.

Local newspaper Willamette Week wrote about her business last summer followed by an article in Nerve Magazine. Last November, 350,000 people read about Hess in The Oregonian. Her story was picked up by CNN, Yahoo, NBC News, the London Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and media sites in more than a dozen countries. Her story was syndicated to newspapers across the globe. To date she reached an estimated nine million people. A director from Alabama plans to include Hess in a film about cuddling. She was even invited to audition for a reality television show. Hess is currently writing a book called Touch: The Power of Human Connection, that promises to improve thousands of relationships and she is scheduled to appear on national television several times over the next few months. If everything goes according to plan, she will reach 20 million people by June 2014. Her international media exposure makes Samantha Hess the biggest news story to come out of Portland in nearly two decades.