Bad news: Professional cuddling has gotten political

And you thought safe spaces were bad. Over the last few years, Rolling Stone reports, adults seeking solace from the world have increasingly turned to professional cuddlers and cuddle-group therapy as a way to gain strength from non-sexual human contact. Some may scoff, but there are perhaps some good applications for this approach. However, Rolling Stone has to frame it as an indictment of one man in particular, whom they suggest is providing the industry its biggest boost ever now.

Want to guess who it is?

The reasons one seeks out a professional cuddling experience range from average adults seeking connection, those on the autistic spectrum, those healing from sexual trauma, adults dealing with sexual dysfunction or for older virgins to practice touch in a safe environment. The elephant in the room during some of these sessions, though, is the current state of the country’s affairs. Since November – and the election of Donald Trump – professional cuddling services have seen a spike in client interest.

“The holiday season was the first time that since Trump won the election that a lot of people were seeing their family,” says Adam Lippin, co-founder and CEO of Cuddlist, which provides training services to professional cuddlers and allows clients to search listings of “Cuddlists” nearby. “People with different political views were going to be in the same place with relatives. That was the first hit of people having to confront it in a significant way. We saw an uptick around that.”

That’s not the only source for Rolling Stone’s reporting on the Trump boost to the industry:

Marcia Baczynski, co-founder of Cuddle Party, has seen her already established clientele base reacting to the election. Many of them, she says, feel triggered by Trump’s actions, history of sexual abuse allegations and manipulative behaviors.

“The work is actually political now,” Baczynski says. “It used to be the case that you talked about cuddle parties because these are important skills for life – everyone’s navigating boundaries. And now we need to have boundaries with our government. How the fuck do you do that? How do you conceptualize having a leader who is essentially an abusive asshole?”

A significant number of those seeking professional cuddling services have experienced abuse, and some see in Trump qualities that remind them of past trauma.

Hmmm. You know what would be good for establishing “boundaries with our government”? Federalism! If we didn’t make everything the purview of Washington DC and agitate for ever-growing regulation and central planning, then we’d have much firmer boundaries. Like state borders, for instance, and the Tenth Amendment. If we still paid attention to those, it would matter a lot less whether we have an “abusive asshole” in the Oval Office.

Even apart from that, the mainstreaming of emotional breakdowns from November 8th is quite the sight to behold. It’s as if these people have never been on the losing end of an election before. We’ve gone from the Greatest Generation that stopped fascism to the generation that stopped a war, man, and from there to … the need for massive entitlements, safe spaces, and finally politicized cuddling. It’s tough to disagree with my pal and colleague Katie Pavlich here:

The professional cuddler phenomenon isn’t exactly new. Buzzfeed reported on it in late 2015. Oddly enough, even with Trump taking flight in the Republican primaries, politics don’t enter into any of it, except in relation to the contractual “G-rated” experience. One of the professional cuddlers in this video describes the need for “unconditional love,” but … isn’t $80 an hour a pretty significant condition?

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