Jackie Samuel insists that snuggling is not always about sex.
"What I like to do is cuddle," the 29-year-old told the Penfield Post, describing why she decided to turn her passion into profits.
At Samuel's The Snuggery in Penfield, N.Y., snuggles go for $60 an hour. The innocent sessions are in a bed with Samuel, who will simply wrap her arms around you (or yours around her). There's no nudity allowed, which has yet to deter any clients — most of whom have been middle-aged men or older. Samuel says that, for the most part, they respect her boundaries.
"This is not about sex, I am very straight-forward about that," Samuel said in a video from ABC 13.
"Hypothetically, if someone were to get aroused, I would just communicate that that's not what we're doing," she later added to the Penfield Post.
According to ABC 13, Samuel started The Snuggery to supplement her income as a real estate agent in Rochester, N.Y., by day.
"I thought, I need to kind of validate my position, you know? I need to have some kind of certification or license that says I'm a qualified cuddler, but I couldn't find anyone else who was doing what I was doing. So, I decided to just start," she told ABC 13 in a video.
But she also started the business to give people the gift of touch, explaining that society tells us material objects will make us happy when touch reportedly lowers blood pressure and releases oxytocin and dopamine as well.
"I think a lot of people don’t have someone in their life that they can receive comforting touch from on a regular basis," said Samuel of the business's success.
Samuel says that the business has been doing well in the month it has been open and that she hopes to hire more people for customers to cuddle with and to expand beyond Rochester.
"Something that’s always excited me, if I did have a steady income, is providing cuddles for people who can’t afford it," she told the Penfield Post, "Homeless people and people who are isolated from society and give them the opportunity to experience touch," said Samuel.
Aside from the standard snuggle, Samuel has also studied a book called "The Cuddle Sutra" and said she would be open to doing any of the 100 positions detailed in it.