Professional cuddling: Trained 'cuddlists' offer tender touch through online service

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SHELTON -

The intimate act of cuddling is now a service that people in Connecticut can pay for, or even become a trained professional in.

Shelton resident Amy Grinnell joined cuddlist.com in December and already has regular clients.

Grinnell says she stumbled upon the website when searching for a therapeutic touch for herself, something she said was missing in her life.

She says instead of booking a session, she signed up to become a trained cuddler.

Everything trained cuddlists do is completely platonic and even provides health benefits.

"It boosts your immune system, it helps improve heart health, it lowers your pulse and other things. Mental health -- it lowers depression, anxiety, stress," says Grinnell.

The site was co-founded three years ago by Adam Lippin. It has reached 28 states and Canada.

"I knew there was going to be a need for this. It was just about creating, because it deals with touch, really about creating a really strong container of safety and boundaries and for that type of touch to happen," says Lippin.

Though the website has given Grinnell a passion in life, she says her husband is taking time warming up to the idea.

"My husband you know he's not thrilled with it, but he's my biggest supporter," says Grinnell. "He knows this is what I'm really good at and that I love, and that I found my calling." 

Grinnell says every client goes through a screening process online before a session. This is so she can be aware of exactly what the client is looking for.

"A lot of people are divorced. There are some people that are widowed," says Grinnell. "It could be somebody that just moved to a new state, they don't have their family, they don't really know anybody and just need that affirming, therapeutic type touch." 

Both clients and cuddlists have to agree to a code of conduct as well as a set of rules before scheduling a session.

Grinnell is one of 150 cuddlists on the site.

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