It's interesting and terrifying that the snuggling industry is taking off in developed countries like the US and Japan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there are thousands of customers who are booking cuddling sessions (no-sex involved) in as many as 16 states in the US. These hired cuddlers will tickle, snuggle, hug, and cuddle with you for a price. One such cuddler, Kimberly Kilbride, is reported to earn $80 an hour or up to $400 for an overnight session.
And while I have heard of such services before, the industry seems to be growing faster and larger than I had imagined. Technology, armed with improved geo-location services, plays a large part in its growth. Cuddlr, a free app to look for people to cuddle up with, already has over 200,000 downloads with 7,000-10,000 people using the service daily.
Why is all of this concerning?
For one, the industry is ripe for abuse as cuddlers aren't exactly licensed or required to show proof of technical training of any kind.
Secondly, the fact that in a developed and civilized society, people need to pay other people for non-sexual, physical contact like hugging or snuggling.
And while scientific research shows that there are tangible benefits to human touch, such as lowering heart rates and reducing stress, it is still disconcerting that people need to pay someone to just lie there with them.
The appeal of wanting to cuddle with someone after a long, stressful day is understandable, but paying for such a service just devalues it and makes you wonder the definition of progress.
How can a civilized society devalue something so basic?