Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cuddling For Hire?

Several months ago I found a link to a story talking about the work of Jackie Samuel. What sort of work does she do?

She snuggles with people for a fee.

Yes you read that right. From her home, she spends time with people. Cuddling next to them as they sleep. Snuggling with them while they are awake. Offering a human touch. She calls it "The Snuggery".

Originally started just to have something interesting to do Jackie eventually went on to make it a formal business to help cover her school expenses. How much help does snuggling provide? According to the Daily Mail that help can come in for as much as $260 a day. At $1 a minute that comes out to about 4 hours per day of snuggling work.

Not bad.

But if she is spending that much time in bed then that says that she's got a flow of clients coming. What are they coming in for though?
Some of my older clients, their wives have passed away, and they just need someone to be with, like someone to experience touch with. Some of the younger clients are between relationships, some are in problematic relationships, and some people are just really curious and they come to just find out what it’s going to be like.
I can understand the curiosity of the third group but what interests me is the first and second groups she mentions. It seems that the older clients that are looking for some form of touch just miss what they once had (and know they would likely never get that back). The younger clients I guess could be looking for some form of stability to get them through the rough times that trouble a lot of youth.

With most of the clients being male (and being male myself) I think this may speak to a desire to have someone to touch. Yeah if you didn't know guys are just all rough and grumble. A lot of us enjoy a quiet moment of just holding hand. Someone to be close to while sleeping. Maybe this could turn into an opportunity where guys can talk about touch and how important it is to them.

But like with anything that comes along you have people that just aren't feeling it.

According to Rose Surnow (of NYMag), "It almost seems like men are paying to get blue balls."

Jackie herself has said that people have called her worse than a prostitute because due to the intimate nature of snuggling she is actually monetizing love (I guess such critics think prostitution is just the monetization of sex).

Even Barry (btw your post reminded me that I had never done a post on this, thanks) seems to think there may be some sexual element to it. "Jackie Samuel, the woman who runs The Snuggery (and one of the two snugglers), says “there’s no sex involved.” But if there were no sex involved, wouldn’t her clients be more diverse, instead of being nearly all heterosexual men?"

But it looks like she's not going to let that stop her. Samuel has been running this business for a while and has even taken on a second cuddler by the name of Colleen. With the help of Colleen there comes the option of cuddling with both her and Jackie (which is $2 a minute). In addition to another person to cuddle with they have even started to read bed time stories to their clients in some cases. (I think that speaks to another desire, to be the center of someone's attention even if just for a short while.)

I'm curious what you think.

Would you hire someone to cuddle with?

Could you see yourself becoming a cuddler for hire?

Does the cuddling and snuggling cross a line that is too uncomfortable for you?

Do you think that even though there is no sex going on (she has a policy stating that clients must remained clothed and they are not to touch any part of her that is covered by underwear) this counts as sex work?

Is she taking advantage of people by trying to make money off of intimacy?

What are your thoughts?

Also check out a Q & A session she did with the Henrietta Post last summer