Feeling a bit lonely lately? Want to spoon someone but don't have a girlfriend (or wife) to rub up on?
If you are in New York (or planning to fly to the Big Apple soon), we've got good news: You can pay for a professional cuddler who can lie down with you and snuggle. It costs $80 (or nearly P4,000).
Now you're probably wondering if this is something like the yoni massage, which can go as far as the client wants it to go. The answer: no.
To build credibility and legitimacy, the cuddlers supposedly undergo training designed to be better at physical touch or being physically touched. The website also notes that sexual activity—or any touching that is sexual in nature—is against the rules. In addition, customers are required to keep their clothes on during the entire session.
Before the session start practitioner Brianna Quijada shared with the New York Times that she makes her clients acknowledge that no sex will be involved during the session.
She says: "We start off by agreeing if at any point either one of us is uncomfortable with anything, we're going to speak up, so that takes that off our minds. I basically say my boundaries, that I’m not comfortable being touched in any areas that would be covered by a two-piece bathing suit, basically."
The first 45 minutes are ice breakers: getting to know each other, going over rules about consent, and communicating what one is and isn't comfortable with. After the warm-up period, the cuddling commences. The sessions also involve other touch therapies such as holding hands, eye-gazing, synchronized breathing, hair stroking, and arm tickling. Clients can choose to talk or remain silent, while music can be played or films can be watched.
Whenever Quijad notices her clients have become sexually aroused, she manipulates the feeling by simply changing her position. "Sexual arousal happens, and it is a natural human reaction. The idea is not to encourage it. Taking a break, and talking about how we are feeling in the moment can help redirect our energy back to agenda-free cuddling," she says.
Cuddling sessions are meant to be therapeutic and comforting, building on the "psychological and physical benefits of non-sexual touch." The benefits include the raising of oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone.
"It raises your oxytocin; it calms the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, so it's a really interesting way to connect," Quijada says. She also believes that it's better than massages.
"For massage, there's this feeling that you’re being worked on and healed. It's not mutual. It's a completely different energy with cuddling. It's a mutual, consensual experience, consensual not in the sense of, 'Sure, I’ll do that,' but in the sense that both people want what's happening," she concludes.
GIF via Giphy.com