Wed9.00 (2019)

Cuddling for a Living

Professional cuddler, Amanda Souza, attempts to make the world a little less lonely.

By Darshana Gupta

Although cuddling may seem rather far fetched to make a career of, Amanda Souza has managed to do just that, spreading love and making the world a little happier. 

With an academy dedicated to professional cuddling, this service, although niche, may just lift spirits during harder times. 

The Cuddle Academy is an online course that teaches you just how to cuddle to release the chemicals (oxytocin and dopamine) in your brain that bring happiness, while attempting to ensure a certain level of professionalism. The academy goes through all the different positions stated in the Cuddle Sutra, the end all and be all of cuddling sciences. And then they train their cuddlers to brave the wild, wild world. 

Amanda Souza, a graduate of the Academy, has been cuddling for a little while now and gives us a glimpse into the life of a professional cuddler.

“Safety for me is the most important part. How can you be safe if I’m with someone completely strange? Like cuddling them, giving them love without them getting confused with this thin line between sex and affection. People relate affection and sex which is completely normal,” says Souza, shedding light on the more perilous side of the job. 

When asked about her first time cuddling for money, Souza admitted to being slightly apprehensive.

“Yes, I was [nervous]. I started in May, and I think I’ve done more than 50 clients or so. Especially in winter, it’s like super busy. Because I have another job, I work with kids, I didn’t even have time to breathe. 

The first experience was really hard. Because I got my diploma  and the same day I got a booking. I was like “I’m not ready”. But I did it. But they talked about it in the course, to not do it in your house because it’s not like safe. You never know who you’re cuddling with and it doesn’t sound professional. So I know a girl from Brazil who has a wholistic centre where she does massage and reiki and all this stuff. So I rent a room with her. I got there, but nowadays I ask for a picture because I like to know who I’m cuddling with and sometimes I share it with my partner. Just for safety.” 

And although it started off smoothly, Souza’s first time was nerve wracking.
“My first client, I hadn’t asked for a picture. But I arrived and he was so young, super young like 19, he was from India. I was really surprised. And it was really natural with me. Because I had been studying the whole day and of course in the beginning it was a little odd but after the 20 seconds it was not that hard, I was feeling good. And we began to chat and he was doing this because he had just broken up with his girlfriend and he started crying because he missed her,” says Souza.

“And then he started giving me kisses, like it doesn’t matter if he was kissing my shoulder or whatever, he stared kissing me and kissing me but it was really hard because the first time, I couldn’t ask him to stop like I completely had no reaction. Because I didn’t know how to do it you know? So that was hard because I wanted to help, and I knew it was from a genuine place in his heart. But I kept saying “this is not good”. But then he started texting me like crazy, everyday, morning and night, Sunday nights — “I love you, I love you, I miss you” — while I was in bed with my partner. And he broke up with his girlfriend one year ago, and he hadn’t had physical touch till then, and he completely loved me, which I understand, we are in love in this space but he wanted to see me and asked me to break up with my partner.”

When asked how this job affected her personal life, Souza stated that she still maintains a balance with her partner and her other job as a nanny.

“Men are a bit more jealous. But she’s (Souza’s partner) a bit hippie, she’s into yoga so she actually understood. Because she’s Australian and I’m Brazilian. But I always tell her, she’s a bit cold. Like I’m always like “come here, kiss me”, and she’s always like “calm down”. She recognised that she doesn’t give me enough touch so it’s good that I can get it from somewhere else. Because there’s this book called Five Languages of Love. And she was the one that told me about cuddle therapy and so she supports me. But she’s completely okay and fully supportive. I have the best partner for this job,” says Souza. 

Souza has cuddled around 50 people thus far and has unfortunately had more bad experiences than good.

“Forty percent are really sweet but sixty percent are really hard. They get really excited, they try to kiss me, they get aroused,” says Souza. 

“I had a guy who was without physical touch for five years. And then he started getting so excited and I don’t know what he did, he started grabbing my neck like so hard and he was strong so he hurt me, like my neck was bruised.”

But nonetheless, Souza marches on, allowing the caretaker within her to serve it’s purpose.

“I truly do this in a genuine space in my heart,” says Souza.