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For $80 an Hour, You Can Hire a Professional Cuddler

Madelon Guinazzo, cofounder of the cuddle therapy service Cuddlist, on the benefits of being touched by a stranger

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Ask A Pro

For $80 an Hour, You Can Hire a Professional Cuddler

Zen on the Cheap …

Madelon Guinazzo, cofounder of the cuddle therapy service Cuddlist, on the benefits of being touched by a stranger

Illustration by Jason Schneider

How did you get started cuddling professionally?

In 2008, I had been struggling with anxiety and depression. I drove two hours to a cuddle party workshop and went through an hourlong welcome circle talking about agreements, rules, communication boundaries. And then we cuddled. I remember sitting in the parking lot after, thinking, Oh my God, what happened to me? I was more relaxed than I’d ever been in my life.

How does cuddling help people?

There is a different quality to touch that has no expectation. It’s really about making people feel more comfortable in their bodies and giving them a sense of physical and emotional ease and relaxation.

Who hires you?

Most clients are men. Women are touch-privileged in our culture — it’s much more socially acceptable for them to touch other women or children. Men get accused of being creepy or a predator.

What if there’s an errant erection?

It happens. It doesn’t necessarily signal intent. We just either ignore it or, if it’s distracting, change the position.

Big spoon or little spoon?

I like being the middle. At cuddle parties we have multiple people and sometimes do, like, a spoon drawer.

From $80 an hour. cuddlist.com

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