No nudity, no sex, just cuddles: How one woman is making a living from snuggling – but for $60 an hour, would you pay to hug a stranger
16:36 GMT, 12 July 2012
It used to be that a hug was a comforting gesture of companionship between friends or lovers but one woman in Penfield, NY has turned cuddling into a business.
Jacqueline Samuel, 29, opened The Snuggery last month, a place where, from upwards of $60, clients can snuggle with the petite Master's student in a strictly non-sexual context.
Sessions of up to 90 minutes take place in a private room while friends and family members mill around the house offering protection from any over-enthusiastic clients.
The clothes stay on: Jackie Samuel from Penfield, NY, launched a business last month that charges clients for the privilege of snuggling with her
For customers interested in Jackie's services, most of whom are men, she admits, a series of FAQs provides information about what clothing to wear and what kind of behaviour is appropriate.
Sexual arousal, reads the website, 'is perfectly normal and should not make anyone feel uncomfortable,' but acting on those impulses is forbidden.
'This is not about sex, and I'm really straightforward about that,' she insisted during an interview with 9WSYR.com, adding with a child-like lisp: 'I always liked to snuggle, it seemed pretty simple to me.'
But the premise behind the unusual idea is perhaps best explained by Ms Samuel's study of cognitive science and social work at the University of Rochester.
Stress relief: Aside from a love of snuggling, the Master's student also believes that Americans are deprived of physical touch that aids relaxation
Quiet time: 45-90 minute sessions take place in a private room though other people are present in the house for Ms Samuel's safety
An advocate of the notion that 'touch' is a healing activity of which most Americans are deprived, Ms Samuel believes that just a few minutes of cuddling can relieve stress and aggravation for up to five days.
'Research provides us with ample evidence that physical contact with others has a positive effect on our physical and mental health,' she writes on her website TheSnuggery.org.
Yet, she continues, 'we're afraid of touch.'
After exhaustively searching for a way to become a certified cuddler, Ms Samuel decided to just get started.
Snuggling sessions are one-on-one and clients are advised to change into comfortable 'loose fitting' clothes preferably made of 'natural fibers.'
'I always start out spooning and I am pretty small, so usually I'm the little spoon'
Of the types of embraces available, Ms Samuel told U.S. Metro that she has read the book, Cuddle Sutra, and would be happy to do any of the 100 variations of snuggle positions.
'It tends to be pretty improvisational,' she noted. 'There are different kinds of cuddling positions, but I typically always start out spooning and I am pretty small, so usually I'm the little spoon.'
Promoting her service with pictures of herself in alluring poses wearing pyjamas and pretty cotton dresses, the cozy cuddler is not yet drawing enough clients however to give up her real estate day job.
'It's cuddling. Either you want it or you don't,' she reasoned.