Can you really get paid to hug? Find out what’s involved, where to find work and how to make money as a professional cuddler.
A good hug can relieve stress, help us feel connected, convey a ‘goodbye’ or an ’I’ve missed you’. There’s something intrinsically therapeutic about a cuddle; hugging simply makes us feel good.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of people love to hug so much that they may be willing to pay for a professional cuddler.
Yes, that’s right, you can actually get paid to cuddle. There are lots of weird and unusual side hustles out there, and this is definitely one of them!
There are businesses out there that, having recognised this need for human touch and interaction, specifically hugs, have set up services that connect people with professional cuddlers.
Why would people pay for cuddles?
There are lots of reasons why people might feel the need for a hug. Particularly following the pandemic, more people have become lonely or isolated and miss that physical contact and platonic touch.There are many scientific benefits to cuddles that could explain why people would be willing to pay a professional cuddler.
- They can increase your levels of oxytocin – the happiness hormone
- They can reduce anxiety
- They help with communication
- They can relieve stress and tension
- They help release endorphins
This makes sense. I love hugs. My kids love to cuddle and a good hug from my husband can make me feel better when I’m feeling down or disconnected.
But can a hug from a stranger really have such a positive effect?
Well yes, apparently. Research has shown that even hugs from strangers have a calming effect and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Some even call it cuddle therapy.
‘touch acts as a social signal for safety, which communicates to the receiver that “things are ok,” and thereby inhibits fear and stress responses’Monika Eckstein et al in Frontiers in Psychiatry
What is professional cuddling?
Professional cuddling is a therapeutic service that offers non-sexual touch to clients in a safe and supportive environment. It bascally involves activities such as hugging, holding, and gentle touch in a nonsexual way, and can be offered in a one-to-one or group setting.
Professional cuddling is different from other touch therapies like massage or reiki. While those therapies also involve touch, professional cuddling is mainly focused on providing emotional comfort and support through touch.
And unlike a massage therapist or other touch therapist, you don’t need any specialized training or certification to become a cuddle therapist (although some training programs and certification options are available if you’re interested).
Like a lot of other touch therapies, with professional cuddling there is no sexual or romantic involvement whatsoever. Professional cuddlers are trained to provide non-sexual touch in a safe and respectful way, and any kind of sexual activity or romantic involvement is a big no-no. A professional cuddler should not be confused with a sex worker.
Overall, professional cuddling can be a really beneficial service for those who are feeling lonely, anxious, or stressed. It provides a supportive and safe space to receive non-sexual touch, which can be really comforting and healing.
So how do you get paid to cuddle?
One of the first people to publicly open up a professional cuddling business was Samantha Hess, who formed business Cuddle Up To Me back in 2013.
Although this wasn’t a unique idea – she had previously seen adverts from people offering hugs for money – she took it many steps further. She started off working with individuals, marketing herself and making house calls, building up a website and later, a physical business in Portland, Oregon, where people could come for a platonic hug session or group cuddle.
It contained several ‘hugging rooms’ all with different themes, where people could receive hugs in ‘cuddling sessions’ from professional cuddlers, employed by the business.
You may have even caught Samantha on America’s got talent in 2015 showing off her professional cuddling skills with lots of different cuddling positions.
What skills do you need to be a professional cuddler?
Whilst you don’t need any particular experience to become a professional cuddler, it does require a certain set of skills and qualities to help clients feel safe and comfortable during their sessions. It’s not compulsory but you can even undertake qualifications to become a certified cuddler.
Here are some key skills and qualities that are helpful to have for those who want to get paid to cuddle.
- Good communication skills: Effective communication is crucial in any client-facing profession, and professional cuddling is no exception. Professional cuddlers need great communication skills, including active listening and effective verbal and non-verbal communication, in order to understand and respond to clients’ needs.
- Ability to set boundaries: Professional cuddling involves physical touch, which can be a sensitive and personal experience for clients. It’s important for professional cuddlers to be able to set boundaries and communicate them clearly and respectfully to clients to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable.
- Non-judgmental attitude: Professional cuddling is a service that is open to people of all backgrounds and identities. Professional cuddlers must have a non-judgmental attitude and be accepting of clients without prejudice or bias.
- Empathy and compassion: Many clients seek out professional cuddling as a way to address emotional issues such as loneliness and anxiety. Professional cuddlers must be able to understand and respond to clients’ emotional needs with empathy and compassion.
- Professionalism and reliability: Professional cuddling is a service that requires a high level of professionalism and reliability. Professional cuddlers must be dependable and respectful with clients, and should always strive to provide a safe and supportive environment during sessions.
Overall, developing these skills and qualities can help aspiring professional cuddlers to provide a high-quality snuggling service to clients, while also ensuring that their own boundaries and well-being are protected.
Where to find professional cuddling jobs
If you’re interested in becoming a professional cuddler, there are a few different options for finding work:
- Professional cuddling services and websites: There are various cuddle companies and websites that connect clients with professional cuddlers, depending on what location you’re in. These services typically require professional cuddlers to create a profile and undergo a background check before being listed on their website.
- Creating your own website or social media presence: Another option is to create your own website or social media presence to market your professional cuddling services. This can be a good option for those who want more control over their business and marketing strategies. However, it can also require more effort and investment in finding potential clients and building a client base. It’s also important to consider your personal safety if you’re meeting clients individually.
Here are some of the best companies and websites where you can sign up as a cuddler and find work.
Cuddle Comfort is used by more than 400,000 people from the United Kingdom and around the world. The platform was created to provide cuddles at no cost, allowing users to get a cuddle whenever they want one. They call their cuddlers ‘Cuddle Buddies’
The website helps users establish cuddling-based friendships that are pressure-free and have no expectations of anything more. Cuddle Comfort was founded in 2011 with the aim of increasing access to physical affection without the need for romantic relationships.
As pioneers of online cuddling, Cuddle Comfort say they are proud to have been a part of the thriving cuddle movement.
Samantha Hess, the owner of Cuddle Up To Me that we talked about earlier, is also the creator of Certified Cuddlers. Her mission is to change the world, one hug at a time, and make everyone feel that they matter just because they exist.
Samantha has over 4,500 hours of paid professional cuddling experience and has developed a certification program and online course for professional cuddlers. Certified Cuddlers provides basic standards of practice, a network of individuals who believe in love and compassion, and a safe space for clients to explore professional cuddling.
The organization works to create a shame, judgment, and guilt-free zone without sexual expression. Anyone interested in finding a cuddler or becoming certified can visit the Certified Cuddlers website.
People can also use the certified cuddlers platform to search for cuddlers in their area, and once certified you can also advertise your service as a qualified cuddler.
Cuddle Companions is a platonic cuddling service that aims to bring the benefits of touch therapy to people worldwide. The service was inspired by the popularity of platonic cuddling in Japan and seeks to provide a private and caring experience to help people deal with stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
Cuddle Companions offers detailed cuddler profiles with HQ photos for clients to browse through, and the company prioritizes the comfort and satisfaction of its clients and the security of its cuddlers.
Additionally, Cuddle Companions offers platonic companionship and tour guide services, allowing clients to take their cuddlers on adventures around the world. The company encourages input from its users on how to improve and expand its services.
Cuddle Companions allows you to set your own prices and create your own platonic service options. You can receive payment in cash, Paypal, or other methods, and earn between 60% to 85% on each booking. The platform offers more than just cuddling services, including being a travel companion, masseuse, or event companion.
Anyone can become a cuddler with Cuddle Companions and have the opportunity to travel and get paid. The process is simple and involves chatting with clients, accepting bookings, setting session dates, and adapting your profile for higher profits and opportunities.
Cuddlist was launched in 2015 by Adam Lippin, a conscious entrepreneur, and Madelon Guinazzo, a consent expert. The platform aims to provide a space where people can connect with trained and professional practitioners who prioritize consent and follow a code of conduct to ensure a safe and transformative healing experience.
The mission of Cuddlist is to help individuals reconnect with their best selves and feel secure and connected through meaningful human connection. They say their service is beneficial to anyone seeking healthy and meaningful connections.
Madelon Guinazzo is the Co-Founder of Cuddlist.com and an expert on Communication, Consent, and Boundaries. She believes that healthy, nurturing touch is essential for a human being to feel a sense of physical and emotional safety and belonging with others. Cuddling is a vehicle for this and can be a transformative healing experience.
CuddleUp is a service that offers cuddling for hire. The platform connects users with a cuddling match of their choosing, providing them with the opportunity to experience a sense of enlightenment and well-being through cuddling. With CuddleUp, users can enjoy cuddling in a variety of locations, including at the movies, on the beach, or in the comfort of their own home.
The service provides users with the emotional rewards of cuddling. CuddleUp makes it easy to list your services, find, and connect with people looking to hire a cuddler. Using CuddleUp is free and makes it easy to list and market your services.
Tips for success as a professional cuddler
While being a professional cuddler can be rewarding, it’s important to keep in mind that it can also be emotionally and physically demanding. Here are some tips for success as a professional cuddler:
- Building rapport with clients: One of the most important skills for a professional cuddler is the ability to build rapport with clients. This includes active listening, showing empathy and compassion, and creating a safe and comfortable environment for clients to express themselves.
- Maintaining professionalism and setting clear boundaries: As a professional cuddler, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor and set clear boundaries with clients. This includes being punctual, dressing appropriately, and establishing clear guidelines for client behavior.
- Practicing self-care and emotional boundaries: To avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s important to practice self-care and set emotional boundaries. This includes setting limits on the number of clients you see per day, taking breaks between sessions, and taking care of your physical and emotional health.
How much money can you make as a professional cuddle?
The amount of money you can make as a professional cuddler can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as your location, experience, and the demand for your services.
Some professional cuddlers charge hourly rates that range from $60 to $200 or more, while others charge a flat fee per session or per day. The average hourly rate for a professional cuddler is around $80 to $100, but rates can vary depending on the market.
According to some professional cuddling websites and services, a professional cuddler can make anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the number of clients they see and the rates they charge.
It’s important to keep in mind that being a professional cuddler is not a guaranteed source of income, and there may be periods of time where demand for your services is low. Additionally, you may need to invest time and money in marketing and building your reputation before you can attract a steady stream of clients.
Is it safe to work as a professional cuddle?
As with any job that involves physical contact with others, there are certain risks associated with being a professional cuddler. However, many professional cuddlers take steps to ensure their safety and the safety of their clients.
One of the most important aspects of safety for professional cuddlers is setting clear boundaries and guidelines for their clients. This can include setting expectations for behavior during sessions, establishing limits on the types of touch that are allowed, and communicating clearly about any discomfort or concerns that arise during a session.
Some professional cuddlers also choose to work with clients in public spaces or use video call services to conduct sessions remotely, which can help to mitigate some of the risks associated with meeting with strangers in private settings.
In addition, some professional cuddlers choose to carry liability insurance, which can provide an extra layer of protection in case of any legal or financial issues that may arise.
Ultimately, the safety of being a professional cuddler depends largely on the individual and the steps they take to ensure their own safety and that of their clients. It’s important to carefully consider the risks and benefits of this type of work before deciding whether it’s the right choice for you.