Professional snugglers—people paid to engage in non-sexual acts of snuggling—are becomming more and more common in cities across the U.S. The Snuggle Buddies operates along the Eastern seaboard from Maryland to Connecticut; The Snuggery is based in Rochester, N.Y.; Snuggle Up is in Seattle; and Cuddle Party trains snugglers and organizes events around the U.S. and in Canada.
Hour-long sessions usually run about $60, while snuggle sessions with two snugglers or overnight engagements cost more. Clients range from older individuals whose spouse has passed away, to younger people who are just looking for some physical contact or are curious.
Not everyone is on board with the snuggle movement, however. One snuggle operation in Madison, Wisconsin, recently shut down amid controversy and a police investigation. The Snuggle House was suspected by the local police of being a front for prostitution, and authorities said they planned to undertake undercover surveillance of the activities going on there. Although the owner insisted nothing illegal was going on, he decided to close shop in light of all the negative press and what he claimed was harassment by the police, the Associated Press reports.
Even some former professional snugglers are a bit ambivalent about that line of work. On Reddit, one retired snuggler admits that she never told her family about her line of work for fear of being misconstrued as a prostitute. Although she did enjoy the work at times—"I loved staring at people's rooms and wondering what certain things said about the client"—sometimes uncomfortable situations would come up, like the time a client asked to lick her eyebrows. She ultimately decided to give up the job because she "no longer felt comfortable going into other people's homes."