Every now and then, it can be nice to have a hug or to touch someone’s hand. Person to person contact can be something enjoyable unlike anything else. For some, however, contact eludes them. For those so afflicted, Samantha Hess is here to help.
Perhaps similar in structure to forms of psychological therapy, the Cuddle Up To Me shop in Portland, Oregon provides an hour of cuddling — which includes hair stroking, caressing, conversation, and hand holding — for a $60 fee. Hess, the professional cuddler who opened up the shop after previously providing cuddling services in people’s homes, explains that her motivation for the business came as a result of her own mental and physical state.
“I was at a place where I thought paying someone to hug me and not have ulterior motives sounded like a great idea,” Hess said. “I decided why can’t this be a thing that we can easily and safely reach for?”
The Independent explores these details and explained that Hess’s business has recently become extremely popular. Hess told her local news source Fox 12 that she has received up to 10,000 emails in a recent week. Furthermore, an interview with Portland news source KATU that can be found on Hess’s YouTube channel, provides information about the opening of her shop, which took place Nov. 15., and the release of her new book, “Touch,” which contains information for couples about communication and recommends different cuddle positions for unique situations.
Hess says customers determine the length and content of cuddle sessions. Sessions lengths start at 15 minutes and are priced at one dollar for every minute. A team of professionals work at Cuddle Up To Me. The pool of applicants, Hess reported with KATU, included approximately 900 people locally from around Portland and approximately 3,000 from across the U.S.
ABC News further explains that Hess hired three other women to help with services at the location. Hess said her employees have to undergo a 40-hour training program that she designed. Customers must be at least 18 and must sign an agreement before their cuddle sessions where they agree to be clean, remain clothed, and be courteous. Customers can pick from a number of cuddling positions to engage in during their sessions. They can sit or lie on couches or beds in one of several themed rooms they can choose from.
Hess said she hopes to make people feel worthy and accepted for who they are.
“There are no upgrades, no additional services,” Hess said. “I’m not interested in that. It’s about making people feel worthy for who they are today. […] I love knowing that people know that they are accepted and they aren’t going to be alone anymore.”