The Reason Professional Cuddling Companies Exist

July 29th 2016

Aimee Kuvadia

The Internet has brought the world closer than ever. We can chat with our families overseas and FaceTime with our friends on the other side of the country. Yet there is one kind of communication, a nonverbal form, that can speak louder than words but is not always available to us — and that's touch.

Most humans crave touch, and the company Snuggle Buddies is tapping into that desire.

Created by Evan Carp and launched in early 2015, Snuggle Buddies offers a platonic alternative to dating sites, which have a reputation for promoting everything from one-night stands and sugar daddy-sugar baby relationships to long-term commitment. It's a website, not an app, so for it to work, it requires more effort than the simple swipe of a finger. But the minimal hurdles shouldn't be a drawback. The site reads that the company aims "to provide you with the most relaxing and enjoyable professional snuggling experience possible."

According to The Wall Street Journal, for $80 an hour — or up to $400 night for an overnight session — you can order a stranger to your doorstep and have them cuddle you for as long as your heart wishes, or rather, the maximum limit of 10 hours. An interesting tidbit: 99 percent of the company's clients are male, according to the website's hiring page. 

Cuddling for sexual pleasure is not an option for customers; the intimate ritual is limited to friendship, therapy, and relaxation, according to the Snuggle Buddies site. The company doesn't show discrimination of any kind — unless you're a creep keen on breaking the rules agreed upon prior to cuddling sessions on the company's electronic contract

If cuddling is not your cup of tea, snugglers are available for other platonic activities as well: dinner, movies, and friendly massages, among other things. For $60 an hour, you can even chat with snugglers over the phone. Likewise, snugglers can either come to wherever you are — your home, a hotel, you name it — or you can join them at their home. 

Can anyone sign up to be a cuddler?

Snuggle Buddies doesn't discriminate on this front, either. The only requirement for snugglers is that they must be a minimum age of 20 and open to all clients, no matter their age, race, sex, or background, the website's hiring page reads.

ATTN: caught up with Carp to learn about the inspiration behind his endeavor. He says there's no ambivalence when it comes to the company's rules on sex. Clients must agree to remain fully clothed at all times.

Carp's idea for Snuggle Buddies was born from a deep depression he suffered for six years during which he says he never left his basement.

"We were looking into alternate therapies and I came across nonsexual cuddling, but it wasn’t available in my area," he tells ATTN:. "So I thought that it should be widely available. I decided to start a service to help people in a similar situation as me across the United States."

Carp's Snuggle Buddies service is not one of a kind. The wide range of similar services available — Spoonr, CuddleComfort, and Cuddle Up to Me — prove there's a demand for snuggle seshes with strangers. But the Internet is chock-full of friend-finding services, date-finding services, and pretty much any kind of service you can think of, so why cuddling?

Put simply, the power of human touch is comparable to the effects of certain prescription drugs. 


As Maria Konnikova points out in The New Yorker, "the right kind can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, stimulate the hippocampus (an area of the brain that is central to memory), and drive the release of a host of hormones and neuropeptides that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions."

Oxytocin, more commonly known as "the love hormone," also plays a role in why humans are infatuated with touch. PsychCentral notes that it's released "during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both genders. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and may be involved in the formation of trust between people and generosity."

When there is an abundance of it, self-esteem, trust, mastery (the belief that people have control over their own life) and optimism are enhanced — which can have an ancillary effect of reducing mental health problems like depression and anxiety. On the other hand, a lack of oxytocin is linked to a number of psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, mood and anxiety disorders, and autism.

"It’s been shown through studies that getting a (cuddling) session, say, once a week gives enough oxytocin in the brain to significantly help with depression, so it’s kind of like taking a medication in a way," Carp tells ATTN:. "You know, you get a session weekly and then you feel better." 

Carp is correct. Cuddlling has its own set of benefits, apart from touching. It can provide a boost to your immune system, according to the journal Psychological Science, and even help you face your fears, another study found

Cuddling sites may help with social anxiety, too. 

A hidden benefit of cuddling sites like Snuggle Buddies is that they're a stepping stone for people, particularly individuals like Carp who are anxious in social situations, to dating. The sessions allow them to gradually develop the social skills needed to thrive in the romantic world, he says.