What's on Tap

What's on Tap

I got cuddled in Durham

Posted April 2, 2015

— When I first heard about Cuddle Time for You in Durham, I thought the idea was a little odd. Cuddling with a stranger on a bed in an office park...seemed more awkward than comforting.

But then I visited the Durham company.

Owner Jeff Everson got the idea for Cuddle Time for You after hearing about a similar company in Oregon. He was attracted to the therapeutic aspect of it, saying he knew friends who had gone through a loss, divorce or break-up that could have benefited from this kind of service.

Nearly 500 people applied to be professional cuddlers, Everson said. He focused on finding people with backgrounds in psychology, massage therapy and related fields.

Professional cuddler Jennifer, who would not share her last name, said the experience is about taking a few minutes for yourself and relaxing.

"It's just a cuddle," she said.

Everson said despite what some people may think, the business is about cuddling and nothing more. High-definition cameras are in each of the therapy rooms, so Everson can monitor the sessions. There isn't sound, but he says he glances at the monitors from time to time just to make sure customers are following the rules - which include staying above the sheets on each bed and wearing at least two layers of clothing.

Customers seeking more will be blacklisted and prosecuted, Everson said. So far, he has only had to blacklist a few potential customers who called seeking out a little more than cuddling.

Since opening in February, Everson said there have been many customers - some repeat visitors. He said some customers have even been referred from therapists.

Cuddlers work part-time and are paid $20 an hour, plus tips.

There are several approved cuddle positions, including the classic spoon, the luxury lounge (where the customer's head is resting on a pillow on the cuddler's lap) and the huggle (a cradle from behind kinda position).

Sessions last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and you can even pay to watch a movie with your cuddler - no porn or horror movies though. Everson will even supply the snacks.

The experience is all about the therapeutic aspect of being cuddled and talking, Everson said.

What was it like getting cuddled for this story?

At first, a little awkward. The office park it is located in is near a yoga studio and next door to an vacant dentist office. The rooms were a little too much like a hotel - and definitely smelled a little Febreezy to me. The environment could definitely use some "spa-like decor."

Jennifer was awesome. She couldn't have been nicer and more calming. We chatted and she nearly put me to sleep while rubbing my back during the luxury lounge.

WRAL photographer Randy Mews shot the video package to go along with this post. It was hard not to laugh during the shoot because it seemed so odd to me to have a camera in my face while I was being cuddled by a stranger.

The news camera definitely made it more awkward, but otherwise the experience was relaxing.

Would I do it again?

Probably not. I really only like cuddling with my husband at home. But I can definitely see the therapeutic aspects of it. Just having someone to talk to and give you a hug is sometimes all you need to feel connected to the world again - especially after a break-up or loss.

12 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Christopher Rose Apr 3, 2015
    user avatar

    So we keep dehumanizing each other with technology and Ayn Rand capitalism. And it has reached the point now we have to pay people to get human touch. Sad state of affairs.

  • Chris Hunnicutt Apr 3, 2015
    user avatar

    I'm sorry but how could this ever be considered a TOP story?? Seriously this is ridiculous "fluff journalism". Sad state for eht used to be considered the top local news group.

  • Angie Cox Apr 3, 2015
    user avatar

    weird and creepy. sorry but it makes no sense.

  • Ginny Ellen Craig Apr 3, 2015
    user avatar

    Goodbye WRAL. This is my last view of your site. I usually view daily, 1st thing in the AM through the mobile app & listing this cuddle story as "news" 2 days in a row is the last straw. Is that news? Really?Guess channel 11 is my next stop. After 30 years weather will be all I look to yall for now.

  • Lorna Schuler Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    For those of you are so quick and so harsh to label and condemn these services and those who utilize them, you have no clue how important this service can be.

    If you have ever lost a loved one such as a spouse or child, you need some kind of comforting at some point to reconnect, to feel soothed and calm.

    Some people don't have family near by for comfort. And asking friends to do this is even more awkward. It doesn't mean these folks have deep seated issues. It simply means that they are in the process of healing from a deep loss.

    I hope you never have to experience such a loss. Especially alone as it were.

  • Alexia Proper Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    This kind of service is actually popular in Japan. Why people here make fun of it, I do not know. The fact is, there are many people who are lonely. If prostitution were legal, there would likely be more services available for that, too.

  • Clovis Sangrail Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    I bet Kathy Hanrahan is wishing she got a STEM degree instead of Journalism.

  • Sam Adams Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    How pathetic do you have to be that you have to pay someone to cuddle with you? SMH

  • Ginger Lynn Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    I would not invest in this business. I give it 6 months. But maybe there are more people out there with serious issues willing to pay for this than I think.

  • Peter Panda Apr 2, 2015
    user avatar

    You need serious help if you go to that place

More...