Snuggle Up! A Professional Cuddler Tells All!

Our society has made some pretty amazing technological advances. Fitness trackers, food delivery apps, online shopping, social media. We don't even have to leave the house if we don't want to. But what happens when you just need to have contact, real contact, with another person? Believe it or not, there are professional services geared toward giving people just that. Contact. Snuggle Buddies is one of several businesses that provides people with much needed TLC. Although paying for a hug may seem strange, there is a lot of evidence that this sort of person-to-person contact can really benefit your physical and emotional health. But what is it like? Shape chatted with Pennsylvania-based professional cuddler, Becky Rodrigues (who has worked for Snuggle Buddies for a year) and got the low down. Here's a look at their conversation: Shape: How did you first hear about snuggling, and why did it appeal to you? BR: A friend of mine had posted online about it and I was low on work at the time, so I was intrigued. I was a psychology major in college and I also work in home care. Those are both things that involve companionship with people, so I took to professional cuddling pretty quickly. I had thought of the idea before and wondered if there were actually people who would pay just for affection, so when I heard it existed, I thought, "Wow, that sounds like my dream job!" You have to be comfortable with total strangers and OK with cuddling anyone, which I am. I view cuddling as a way of getting acquainted with someone, without the pressure of always having to be 'on' or make direct eye contact. You can talk about things, but there's also no pressure to talk. POST Shape: Do you cuddle full-time or is this something you do on the side? BR: It's a supplemental income for me because the hours aren't reliable. I usually have two to three requests a week. It's an hour minimum, for $80, but I'll do overnights too for $320. Shape: Do you find that people usually want to talk, or do they just want to cuddle? BR: It really depends on the person. Some people do talk about different things that are going on in their lives, but others are pretty quiet. You have to work with the individual and get a sense of what they're looking for. I'm certainly not a therapist, but sometimes people just need to get stuff out of their system and have someone listen. My clients are almost always middle-aged men of all races, cultures, and backgrounds. The most common element is just that they're missing affection in their lives. Shape: Have you ever been in a situation where you really just didn't feel like cuddling a certain person? BR: It's interesting. When I know that someone just wants platonic cuddles, I'm a lot more affectionate. But sometimes I can tell by someone's body language that they're hoping for more than just cuddles—then I usually have my guard up and I don't enjoy it as much. But, for the most part, people who want more than cuddles are weeded out before I meet them because they have to sign a contract stating no sexual activity will take place. In the contract, they're also instructed to bathe and brush their teeth—and most people have the sense to do that—so I haven't ended up with anyone I'm grossed out by! tumblr_inline_mzj0s6qfeJ1sqtuxv Shape: Has anyone ever violated you or made you feel unsafe? BR: No, but when I go to someone's house I get all of their information and leave the info with a friend. If someone crosses the line of sexual contact, I communicate what the boundaries are or alter positions. Cuddlers can also end a session early if a client repeatedly acts inappropriately, but I haven't had to do this. Shape: Do your clients ever have specific requests for their sessions? BR: There have been some people who have wanted me to wear a sleeveless shirt, which I feel is pretty reasonable—people like skin on skin contact. Shape: Do you have a partner? How do they feel about your cuddling side-gig? BR: I was married when I started cuddling and my spouse was OK with it. He undserstood that it was platonic and nothing sexual would happen. After my divorce, I actually found that cuddling helped me to cope. Shape: Big spoon or little spoon? BR: Usually I'm the little spoon, but I've been the big spoon too! Shape: What do you usually wear to cuddle? BR: I wear soft, comfortable clothes that are good for sleeping in, and I try to look modest but also attractive at the same time. It's a tough combination, but I have a couple go-to outfits! POST1 Shape: What makes a great cuddle session? BR: Communication of boundaries is really important as well as paying attention to the other person's non-verbal cues. Cuddling should be a combination of leading and letting the other person take the lead. Shape: How do you feel after a cuddle session? Does it have an affect on you, as the cuddler? BR: I usually feel relaxed after a good session. I've also gotten feedback from clients that I have helped them and that they feel better afterward. This makes me incredibly happy. Shape: Do you have a cuddle playlist? BR: I was listening to an album once and thought, '"If this album was a person, I would cuddle with it!" It's called The Incident by Porcupine Tree. Shape: What do you want people to know about cuddling? BR: What I like about cuddling is that you don't have to impress anyone. Two people can just be together and be comfortable without all of the superficial things. Some people think it's exploitive because it's taking someone's money, but I don't see them going out and offering free hugs to people! Interesting. Have you hired a professional cuddler? Would you? Source: Shape [caption id="attachment_116723" align="alignleft" width="100"]Instagram Code @BodyRockOfficial[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_116753" align="alignleft" width="100"]@BodyRockTV @BodyRockTV[/caption]

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