There’s a new service available in Toronto that costs $75 an hour. It gets people into bed but it’s not what one might think.
The city has seen an influx of a new type of affection-based service in the past year, namely professional cuddling services including Cuddleme.ca, the Cuddlery, and The Cuddle Co.
Kristina, who didn’t want her last name used for personal reasons, is the founder and CEO of The Cuddle Co. She was inspired to start the company after she went through a difficult period in her life and realized the positive impact of the human touch.
The Cuddle Co. offers its service to people who want to be cuddled for both therapeutic or relaxation reasons.
“We go to them or they come to us. We hold them and we cuddle them the way a mother would cuddle their child – it’s very nurturing,“ Kristina said. “We want to make (the clients) feel accepted and loved and not so alone for that particular period of time.”
Because of the intimate nature of this service, however, there are often misconceptions the business is a front for sexual services as well.
The Cuddle Co. sends out a client service agreement form that explicitly states what is allowed and what is not so prospective clients don’t get the wrong idea. Kristina said this filters the people who have good intentions from the people who think there’s more to the business.
Most of The Cuddle Co.’s clients are repeat customers, said Kristina.
Clients often report back to The Cuddle Co. saying they feel much better after their session. They’re interacting with people more, they wake up with pep in their step, and they can’t believe a cuddle session can have these types of results, said Kristina.
The company has a strict safety policy to ensure the safety of both the client and the cuddler. Clients are required to sign a client agreement contract and provide photo ID prior to their first session. Cuddling sessions are also discreetly monitored and every cuddler employee follows existing safety protocols.
“With our advancement in technology we are more connected than ever but we’re really more separated from each other,” said Kristina. “We’re very disconnected physically from each other.”
Not everyone is convinced.
Many students at Humber College haven’t heard of the new cuddle services in Toronto and think the concept is a little strange.
“I think I would just be uncomfortable with the whole situation,” said first year Broadcast TV student Michael Nolan. “I think the whole time I would be kind of psyched out about it.”
First year Cosmetic Management student Stephanie Vanee agrees, but said the confidentiality of the service plays into her decision as well.
“I feel like it would just be an awkward situation if someone random just comes into your house to cuddle you. It’s kind of strange, but maybe if I was desperate,“ said Vanee.
Kristina understands people may be skeptical of using a cuddling service but is still optimistic about the future of the business.
“Like every new thing it takes a while for it to build and to pick up,” Kristina said.