-In most jobs, people are
really just using their brains, and in cuddle therapy,
I’m using my body. -Laughing is good. -I know. It is.
Yeah. -This is a service
for human beings. We are using our bodies
to hold other people’s bodies. Good night.
-Good night. -I’m Saskia Larsen, and I’m
a professional cuddler. ♪♪ I prepare my space for each
client so that we have, like,
enough room to cuddle, and then I take a big sheet,
and I cover the entire couch, and that’s it,
and then I hop on. Ta-da!
[ Laughs ] A professional cuddler
is someone who helps people who are touch deprived
by simply holding them, so if I help somebody feel
better and more connected, they might go home to their
family and be more connected. My clients range in age
and backgrounds. I have clients with
a Hasidic background who don’t get much touch
in their community. Unfortunately, most of
my female clients are sexual abuse victims, and I’ve had situations
where touch doesn’t happen at all during a cuddle session. They are just allowed to say
they don’t want touch. Then I have elderly clients
who live alone, maybe don’t have family around that aren’t getting
enough touch. Hey, come on in.
-Hi. How are you? -Good. How are you doing?
Want a hug? -Yeah.
-Mm. -Thank you.
-All right. -So I’m going to change?
-Yeah, go ahead and change, and I’ll see you in a minute. A few things that I do
to maintain the nonsexual or platonic nature
of the session is I always have
the sessions in my home. I don’t cuddle on a bed. For me, the bed carries
too much sexual energy, so I do cuddle sessions
on my couch. I don’t allow people to cuddle
with me in their street clothes ’cause I just think
that’s gross, and people have to wear
an appropriate cuddle outfit. How’s your day so far? -Oh, it’s really good now
that I’m here. -Yay.
-I really needed to come. -Yeah, good.
-Mm-hmm. -So when I interview
new clients on the phone, I talk to them
about arousal immediately, and that’s just because
sexuality and touch are so tangled,
so I just tell them, you know, if arousal happens for them,
don’t shame themselves. Thank your body for being
healthy, and don’t act on it, and my definition
of acting on it would be doing anything
that increases arousal or even doing anything
that maintains arousal. -Mm.
-I put so many, like, boundaries in there, it’s, like,
a safe place to function within, and at no point
does anybody think that this is going
to become sexual. -Oh.
It already is working. Can we lay down now?
-Sure. Do you want me to put my arm
under your neck? -I like it like this.
-Like that? Okay. Good.
I’m going to put my — We’ll do pretzel legs, okay?
It’s good to see you. -Thank you.
-[ Giggles ] This is fun. Cuddle therapy, to me,
is a dream job. So we go…
This is all the states where we have Cuddlists. When I first found out that
I could do cuddling as a job and make money, I was like,
“Yes! Are you kidding me? $80 an hour to cuddle?” Basically there’s a profile
for each of the cuddlists on cuddlist.com, and I think what makes
a good profile is just friendly, neutral
pictures of the cuddlist. For me, it was like walking
into a candy store because I’m just an
extremely affectionate person. -Mm. Thank you.
-You’re welcome. I think the reason that I get
some inner soul satisfaction from doing cuddle therapy is just because
it’s really helping people, and it’s so simple. I kind of wish prostitution
was legal and safe so that it could be more clear
and people looking for that could also not feel shame
and just go and have that, but people who are really
actually looking for platonic, nurturing touch
could find it more easily. -Now we’re gonna eye-gaze
and just look at each other. -This one is my favorite.
-[ Giggles ] -It gives me so much love.
-Yay. -The right eye is the right eye. -So I have two main sources
of income right now. One is massage therapy, and one is cuddle therapy,
and I — It’s about fifty-fifty
at this point. Massage therapy can be
physically exhausting, and I have to limit
the amount I can do. Cuddle therapy,
there’s almost no limit. I can do up to 7 hours a day
and feel fine. Yay. That’s nice. -[ Laughs ] -Ushy gushy.
-Ushy gushy? -I have a boyfriend,
and he’s awesome because he understands
what I do and why I do it so we don’t have to deal
with jealousy. When I’m doing cuddle therapy,
even though it’s — there’s a closeness there
and there’s an intimacy there, and I have love for my clients,
it’s not the same energy at all as me being held
by my boyfriend. When I first became
a cuddle therapist, I was kind of, like, shy
about talking about it, so I would actually
introduce it by saying, “You’re gonna think
this is weird.” Now I don’t do that at all.
Now I just say, “Oh, I — You know,
I’m a cuddle therapist,” and I continue the sentence
by saying, “I provide touch
for touch-deprived people,” and people are like,
“Oh, cool.” It’s amazing, like,
the difference in reaction, how I feel about it
and how people perceive it. There’s a paranoia
about touch in our society, and I think it would
so much better if people could get touch
without necessarily being villainized
for coming on to somebody. I think touch is important
because we’re human beings and it’s in our DNA
to need connection with other human beings, and without connection
to other human beings, we just don’t thrive. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪