If you’re in need of a cuddle session, look no further than Samantha Hess, a professional snuggler in Oregon who just opened her own professional cuddling store.
She charges $US60 an hour for private cuddling sessions, and business is apparently booming.
Hess had 1,000 customers in the first week of her store opening.
Hess, 30, says her work is a form of therapy and is purely platonic.
She started her business in the beginning of the year after being inspired by a man holding a “Free Hugs” sign. Her cuddle sessions were so popular that she was able to open her own studio, which she named “Cuddle Up To Me”.
She is quick to prevent any inappropriate actions, through her in-person vetting process, a full-page waiver with preset rules and boundaries, and transparency with her clients. “In our culture, the only experience someone has with this kind of touching has been in a romantic sense,” Hess says. “It’s not always easy for people to switch their brains to simply being platonic about it.”
Hess emphasises that it is only appropriate to touch her where it would be OK to touch a child. If she’s uncomfortable with anything, she gives her client two taps to signal for them to stop. “If they’re looking for a replacement for sex, they’re not going to be happy with my service,” she says.
A lot of her clients are men who suffer from severe traumatic diseases or disabilities that prevent them from having frequent human contact.
According to Buzzfeed’s report on Cuddle Up To Me, clients can choose to snuggle in various “theme rooms” like a nautical beach room. Each room also has video cameras for safety concerns.
The Cuddle Up To Me website has been getting so much traffic that the server has, for now, shut down. But Hess assures visitors on the front page that the site will be up and running again soon.
“I call my service a ‘massage for the mind,'” Hess says. “It’s meant to rejuvenate you and make you feel that openness and happiness in your brain by resetting your system from top to bottom.”
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