BY HANNAH WALLNER
SC Contributing Writer
It’s that time of year again, ESU.
Paper hearts and pink carnations are for sale in the Student Union, and couples are carefully planning the perfect date.
But no longer must single people muddle through, content to buy candy for friends and crack open a valentine card from mom and dad.
A warm embrace may now be within reach.
Jaqueline Samuel of The Snuggery can provide you with an emotionally-fulfilling non-sexual cuddle for just $60 per hour.
Founded in June 2012,Samuel started a Rochester-based cuddling service known as The Snuggery.
Under the tagline “Take a Break. Have a Snuggle,” The Snuggery provides its clients with a rest from the daily grind through the pleasure of non-sexual touch.
With a pending Master’s in Social Work, Samuel wants to bring the healing power of touch to a world where communication and interaction have become increasingly impersonal.
The Snuggery boasts two professional cuddlers, one of whom is Samuel herself.
The business offers a variety of services ranging from a 45-minute cuddle for $50 to the exclusive ‘Overnight Cuddle’ for $425.
An Overnight cuddler may bring snacks, books, and DVDs to an evening spent in the arms of a Snuggery staff member.
Yet, The Snuggery isn’t a form of entertainment—it’s a form of holistic healing.
“I am passionate about touch. I’ve traveled all over the world, interacted with diverse cultures, and noted that Americans distinctly lack non-sexual touch. I understand the role that touch plays in our sense of well-being and overall health,” said Samuel. Wallner 2.
According to recent studies, cuddling has many psychological and physiological benefits such as lowering stress, anxiety, and blood pressure, and boosting the body’s production of ‘feel-good hormone’ oxytocin.
Cuddling can improve conditions such as heart disease and depression.
It even boosts immunity and memory function.
The Snuggery website answers a range of questions that a potential client may have.
It addresses everything from what to wear—to whether or not it is acceptable to talk to your cuddler.
Samuel makes it clear that The Snuggery is not any sort of escort service.
She lays out strict guidelines to protect all parties involved.
First and foremost, all types of sexual contact and nudity are strictly forbidden.
However, there is no policy against sexual arousal. The Snuggery website states, “Arousal is perfectly normal and should not make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Hygiene rules are also in place.
It is required that both shower and thoroughly brush their teeth soon before the appointment.
Privacy rules protect the identity and information of clients.
On the contact page of their website, information is surprisingly scarce.
While you can call or email to set up an appointment, walk-ins are definitely not welcome.
The exact location of The Snuggery is purposely kept vague to avoid ridicule.
However, at The Snuggery there is an interesting lack of male cuddlers.
This alienates some clients, male or female, who would prefer to snuggle with a male cuddler.
While Samuel and her fellow cuddlers are lovely, well-groomed women, some clients might be more comfortable cuddling with a male.
Apart from the potential scorn of others, there are a few drawbacks to the business of cuddling.
Although the client and the cuddler meet shortly before the Wallner 3 cuddling session commences, many people are turned off by the idea of participating in something so physically intimate with a total stranger.
It may take several sessions for a client to get comfortable with their cuddler, and after a while the cost may start to add up.
For those who desperately crave human contact, however, money may be no object.
Sometimes, a good snuggle can be refreshing. It can be a pick-me-up on a cold snowy day, and can help lift the Valentine’s Day blues.
When asked her opinion on professional cuddling, ESU junior Jackie Prestoy laughed.
“I’m down!” She said. “It’s not grimy like prostitution. Cuddling is great. And if we had more professional cuddlers, ‘Pretty Woman’ would be a much classier movie.”
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