My dear friend Alej never misses an opportunity to share a compelling article with me.
I am grateful for this cute tradition between us and I appreciate his kindness and that he keeps thinking of me whenever he reads something interesting. This article I am about to share on my blog is really special to me and I like it a lot, because human kindness, hugs and love is very important to me. I truly believe that we are very special creatures and with the healing power of love we could all lead a much happier and more fulfilling life all over the planet. Show love to one another and be nice to each other today! Smile at a stranger or a loved one! Give compliments even for the small things in life! And most important of all, have gratitude for the things and people already present in your life! I personally experienced how mighty love can be and how it brings strangers together and create a peaceful and loving environment. Do not be afraid of showing kindness to another human being! Hug and hold someone today and watch how a positive flow of energy will be released. It will heal you, and heal others as well. This article came exactly at the right time for me to read, and I wish to share it with my readers too! I wish to draw your attention to the really important things in life: gratitude, love and healing human closeness. Opening our hearts might be frightening at the beginning, but it actually really easy as it lies within us. The real human nature is loving and caring. Love nourishes our souls and even our bodies. It gives us balance and support to go through each and every day. A happy life cannot be achieved without love in it, it is a very important fact, so cuddling and hugging is a good way of creating love and warmth for yourself and for others.
When we are in love everything falls into place and everything seem to be making sense. Please keep it in mind and be a better person every day! Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday and do not try to measure yourself to others. We are all one of a kind and you are a unique version of mankind. Love the one who you are with every day: YOURSELF! Remind yourself every day of your particular nature and celebrate your ability to love and hug another person.
Have a wonderful and loving day!
Pillow Talk with a Professional Cuddler
For eager newcomers trying to hustle a life in New York City, there are certain time-honoured means of staying afloat: foaming lattes as a barista, selling books at the Strand, or shepherding spaniels as a paid dog walker.
Now, it seems, they can add to that list professional cuddler.
A quasi movement that dates back more than a decade thanks to snuggle mixers sponsored by the non-profit group Cuddle Party has morphed into a cuddle-for-hire industry of one-on-one sessions.
For $79, practitioners who sign up for Cuddlist, for example, receive about 10 hours of training. Once trained, pro cuddlers promise a physical and psychic salve through spooning, arm tickling and deep embraces. Think of it as a blend of talk therapy, yoga and improvisational bodywork, the free jazz equivalent of massage.
One such practitioner, at $80 an hour, is Brianna Quijada, a 30-year old native of Tempe, Ariz., who moved to New York in 2008 and lives in Astoria, Queens.
A manager at a vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side by day, she recently discussed her second career on the Cuddlist network, plying the world’s newest profession by night. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Why did you move to New York?
I was successful at acting and performance in Arizona and even had my singing audition air on a season of “American Idol.” My entire life I was told I had potential, and to me there was no better place to discover that than New York City. But I became very unhappy with auditioning and daunted by the competition. That’s why it was great to find something new.
How did you first hear about cuddling?
A friend of mine had mentioned it. It was casual: “I think you’d like a cuddle party.” I was like, “Do they exist?”
Sounds very swingerish. Is it like a key party?
It’s nonsexual, so there’s rules in place, like keeping your clothes on the whole time. They’re usually held in a yoga-type studio, with yoga mats, pillows, blankets. You come in, take off your shoes, put a name tag on. The first 45 minutes are icebreakers: getting to know each other, going over rules about consent, communication.
What drew you to cuddling?
I just wanted touch. It seemed like a safe way to explore that. It seems weird to think that if I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship and wasn’t having sex, I wasn’t getting that kind of touch.
What is the value of touch?
When I experience consensual touch, I am more in my body, I’m more comfortable. It’s like a feeling of being understood. It raises your oxytocin, it calms the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, so it’s a really interesting way to connect.
What kind of people go to a cuddling party?
It’s people from different walks of life, most of them in their mid-30s to mid-50s. One man I met went to Burning Man several times. But then there are people in the corporate world. There are also a lot of varsity cuddlers there to help.
How far do you take it?
It’s your imagination; there’s no limit. Me, specifically, I loved being able to put my head in someone’s lap, and having my hair played with. I love being the big spoon. I like little arm tickles. And the ears. The ears are awesome, just to play with them. Or even playing footsie, that’s one, too. It’s seriously like drugs. You’re done with the party and you’re stoned from the cuddling.
So why did you make the leap to one-on-one cuddling?
I always felt I was the kind of person who could make people comfortable with me. I thought I could be good at this, if it’s legit.
What do private clients ask for?
It could be hand holding, synchronized breathing, eye-gazing. I’ve done cuddling while sitting, whether it’s an embrace, holding hands, or their head in my lap, or standing and holding each other. They come to me for relaxation.
Where do you meet them?
I don’t host sessions where I live, so I’ve been renting rooms at Breather [which rents meeting rooms by the hour] in Midtown and Union Square. They’re basically small conference rooms with a white board and a futon or couch. I’ve also gone to people’s places and hotel rooms. A lot of people don’t want to host, so they’ll get a room, even though they live in the area.
Aren’t you afraid to go to a hotel room alone?
There’s always that little bit of fear. There was more in the beginning. But I screen people really well. There’s a safety protocol. I talk to people on the phone or Skype, or meet them at coffee shops. But I don’t go into it thinking people are going to be creepy — anymore.
Do clients ever try to get frisky?
We start off by agreeing if at any point either one of us is uncomfortable with anything, we’re going to speak up, so that takes that off our minds. I basically say my boundaries, that I’m not comfortable being touched in any areas that would be covered by a two-piece bathing suit, basically. Someone once asked me to wear shorts, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. That’s like the worst of it.
What do you do when clients become noticeably aroused?
Sexual arousal happens, and it is a natural human reaction. The idea is not to encourage it or manipulate it by simply changing positions. Taking a break, and talking about how we are feeling in the moment can help redirect our energy back to agenda-free cuddling.
What was your first session like?
My very first client ever was a younger man, maybe 19. He was in college. It was sweet. He wanted to hold me. That’s what we did for the whole time. We listened to a Jack Johnson playlist, and he talked about school.
Why not just get a massage?
For massage, there’s this feeling that you’re being worked on and healed. It’s not mutual. It’s a completely different energy with cuddling. It’s a mutual, consensual experience, consensual, not in the sense of, “Sure, I’ll do that,” but in the sense that both people want what’s happening.”