NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some people say that it is one step away from prostitution, but selling hugs is perfectly legal.
Jacqueline Samuel, owner of a Snuggery, is part of the latest trend, which involves paying for hugs.
“We get into bed. We’re both in our pajamas and we lay next to each other and cuddle,” she told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.
For $60 an hour Samuel sells cuddles in her Penfield cottage.
Samuel said that the sessions vary widely.
“Our bodies are snuggled up next to each other. There’s all different kinds of positions to be cuddling. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we don’t,” she said.
Samuel’s Snuggery launched this summer and business is booming.
“I just actually hired another snuggler. When there’s an overflow of clients, she can take them,” she said.
The sessions are perfectly legal, no different than paying for a massage, but many people told CBS 2 that they would not sign up to pay for a hug.
“I don’t think so. It’s something you can’t buy,” one person said.
“That’s like prostitution,” another added.
Both men and women are buying the service. They range in age from 21 to 84 and are looking for nothing more than a way to relax.
“I actually have very straight forward policies about where is okay to touch and where is not okay to touch,” Samuel said.
Samuel’s is not the only cuddle company that has popped up; Cuddle Therapy on the West Coast advertises a safe, non-sexual environment that helps people heal through the power of touch.
Doctors told CBS 2 that snuggling can be very good for your health. Being touched on a regular basis can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and boost calming hormones like oxytocin, according to studies.
“There is an increase in your immune system, your ability to fight infection, and decrease inflammation,” said Dr. Asma Sadiq of Beth Israel Medical Center.
Samuel said that in spite of the negative conclusions that some people have drawn about her business, she will continue to provide her services.
“I’m doing it, making a living, and having a good time and hopefully impacting others positively,” she said.
Would you pay for a hug? Let us know in our comments section below…