Dr. Laurel Schwartz
The question seems to be, not only do you need a snuggle but would you pay for one? Recently on the news, there was more press on Jacqueline Samuel, a professional “snuggler.” She charges $60 an hour, for clients to cuddle with her. She has 100 snuggle positions from which her clients can choose.
Samuel has said, “Cuddling is not about sex.” Then what is it about? She touts the physiological benefits of touch – relaxation through our brain’s increased production of serotonin and oxytocin, reduction of stress, anxiety, and the hormone, cortisol, which suppresses the immune system and lowering of blood pressure.
She states more men then women seek out snuggles. It isn’t surprising from the point of view, that women can get much of their touching needs met through the care of babies and young children, with all of its attendant hugs and kisses. But Ms. Samuel alluded to also having women clients. Women need snuggles too. As one woman told me, “You can live with someone and they won’t love you, touch you or even recognize that you’re alive. I also wonder if any of Ms. Samuel’s clients are elderly. If an elderly person’s spouse is deceased and/or their children and grandchildren don’t live close by, who puts their arms around them?
Cuddling, however, is more than about touch. It is about closeness, tenderness and feeling safe. It is about intimacy. We have cell phones, texts, instant messaging, Skype, real time and emails. No one can be separated from their cell phones and you can stand in line getting coffee and hear the most intimate details about another person’s life. That there is a “market” in which cuddles are for sale, suggests that for all our connectedness, we’re not very connected at all and that something essential is missing from our lives.
Indeed, being touched, is well, primal. Harry Harlow, who was a professor and researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, studied the effects of having baby rhesus monkeys separated from their mothers. He found, when the baby monkeys were given a choice between a surrogate wire mother and a surrogate wire mother covered with terrycloth, the baby monkeys generally chose the surrogate wire monkey covered with terrycloth. These results go to show not only the importance of touch but even the primitiveness of this need.
So why don’t we cuddle more? Maybe it’s that our lives are too busy and we fall into bed exhausted, maybe we don’t see an obvious big payoff from cuddling, maybe we have problems with intimacy. Whatever the reason, the only way some people can get their dose of closeness with its concomitant health benefits is to schedule a snuggling appointment – and pay for it.
For more information, I can be reached at 203-539-1255 or email@example.com.