The ‘professional cuddling’ industry has seen a considerable spike in business since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, a report from Rolling Stone has revealed.
One of those businesses is The Cuddle Sanctuary, based in Venice, California, which runs regular group cuddle events. According to Fei Wyatt, Cuddle Sanctuary’s Chief People Officer, the events were originally designed for people seeking human connection, autistic people, sexual abuse sufferers, individuals dealing with sexual dysfunction, or for people who are sexually abstinent.
However, Adam Lippin, co-founder and CEO of Cuddlist, which provides training to professional cuddlers and links people to local Cuddling services, said the industry has boomed since Trump became president.
“The holiday season was the first time that since Trump won the election that a lot of people were seeing their family,” Lippin told the outlet. “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.”
Another industry leader, Marcia Baczynski, who co-founded the service Cuddle Party, claims many of her clients are people “triggered by Trump’s actions, history of sexual abuse allegations and manipulative behaviors.” Baczynski said:
The work is actually political now. 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?
Anastasia Allington, a professional cuddler based in Austin, Texas, also claims many of her clients come to her in response to Trump’s presidency, including a man named John whose government job offer was rescinded after Trump introduced a federal hiring freeze. Allington said:
I started thinking about why it would be that people would seek out this service after this particular election and I think it has a lot to do with space. We walk through our days and we wear all these hats: mother, sister, employee, then something like this happens where, for many people, they felt bereft and the world doesn’t stop. In the cuddle space, you can be where you are with whatever emotion you’re feeling and no one has any expectations of you.
Other initiatives in response to Trump’s election last November include Democratic staffers bringing in “therapy dogs” to the U.S. Capitol, while Cornell University hosted a “Cry In” event where students were invited to gather on the Ivy League school’s main quad and cry together over the result.