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Ovation: Cuddle Therapy.

10/30/2013

CuddleTherapyAs a self-diagnosed germaphobe, I don’t like crowds.  I can’t stand to be bumped or touched by strangers on a subway train or in a crowded nightclub and I find the thought of shaking hands with a roomful of strangers to be quite alarming.  But, when it comes to my friends and family, I generally will greet them with open arms and a warm embrace.  I’m not afraid to hug.

I’ve got one friend who really hates to be touched … any time, by anyone.  On more than one occasion this person has been the recipient of one of my well-meaning hugs that I wish I could have taken back as they were genuinely upset by my touch.

It’s possible that we both could benefit from Cuddle Therapy.

Travis Sigley, 26, has made a business out of cuddling.  He charges his clients in San Francisco seventy-five dollars per hour for cuddle therapy sessions where he teaches people how to become more comfortable touching in a non-sexual way.  Sigley, a former stripper, believes a large part of the population struggles in social situations with discomfort or anxiety.

“There’s no real training program for this.  Through grade school and high school and college, there’s no focus on the people you’re actually sharing those rooms with.  A lot of people are really disconnected from each other, and socially or personally awkward.” – Travis Sigley

TravisSigleySigley, who believes the solution to this social awkwardness begins with touching strangers, started his business about four years ago when, as a stripper, he found that his clients were paying to take him into the back room just to chat.

“I found enjoyment in dancing, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as the work I found with these people who really needed help.  I wasn’t there as a sexually motivated male.  Talking to these people provided a sense of ease and safety that they don’t often get from a lot of males.  I was able to simply be there with them, be gentle and kind.” – Travis Sigley

Sigley holds his private cuddle sessions in a small studio on San Francisco’s Fillmore Street.  Many clients, apparently, find group discussions as well as telephone and Skype calls to be beneficial.  Sigley, who studied psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, stresses that his unlicensed therapy is strictly non-sexual and a part of a growing movement involving loving touch.

Clients determine whether they cuddle in silence or talk the whole time.  Sometimes they get a massage to help them relax and, often, they fall asleep and take a nap.  His clients, about seventy percent of whom are women mostly between their late 20s and early 40s, learn to be more comfortable around people and to touch and hug in non-sexual ways.

While the germaphobe in me would surely prevent me from trying something like this, my friend might very well benefit from a few conversations and, possibly, a little bit of non-sexual cuddling with a professional.  I certainly don’t see how it could do any harm.

Would you ever consider the services of a cuddle therapist?

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10 Comments
  1. The “Snuggle House” is trying to jump through the hoops to open in Madison, WI, cuddle sessions price set at $60. Oddly the usually progressive city of Madison has concerns.
    I do find it a little icky for my tastes, however, I have someone to cuddle.

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    • I can understand the community’s hesitation to embrace the “business” of snuggling. I would think the concept to be more beneficial in a more clinical setting.

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  2. I’m not keen on the idea of hugging/cuddling/snuggling with a stranger but there is nothing better than a good hug from someone you know.

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  3. A nice idea. And a little sad to imagine people who get so little affection and touch in their lives. I think this is why so many people own pets. I saw a documentary that showed how the act of petting a dog raises the oxytocin levels in both dog and human. Touch is good for us!

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  4. Wasn’t there people in NYC the other day giving out free hugs? It was priceless and touching to see the reactions. Good post. BTG

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  5. thedogs'mother permalink

    ak! ak!! aaak! 🙂 nope. That is why god invented dogs and cats. otoh, I’m all for other people seeking whatever help they need.

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  6. I’ve been a massage therapist for 15 years (not for the last three years)… and the part of the massage that people like the most is when I interlock my hand with theirs. It’s easy to find someone for sex, but much harder to find someone to hold your hand.

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  7. Only from a female. After a past which includes rape, I am still scared of men. I am hugely scared of men who insist there is nothing sexual because this has ALWAYS been a lie in the past (for me). I am a hugger who does not take offence if someone doesn’t want to hug though.

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