Clients of Pros- how to detach emotionally at the end of a session?

I am considering hiring a professional but I am pretty conflicted at the moment.

I have had limited experience cuddling strangers at group events, and also the facilitator when I found myself unable to connect with attendees.

How does one reconcile our status as Provider/Client with our status as Human Being/ Human Being?

I am afraid that a paid session might make me feel worse when it is over. I simply do not have the financial wherewithal to do that regularly. I can’t help but to think of the old joke about one’s mother having to tie a pork chop around their neck to get the dog to play with them.
After a lifetime of severe poverty of affection, my experience has been that a little touch is worse than none at all.

So what is the remedy? I guess I am seeking advice from professionals who have to navigate these waters regularly. How do you disconnect from your clients tenderly, and help them adjust to returning to their touch-less lives? How can I, as a client, reframe some of my feelings and emotional hunger in a way that will help me feel filled at the end of a session instead of discarded as one half of a transaction?

Ultimately, I have trouble seeing pro/client sessions as truly authentic connections- just a poor substitute for a wholly integrated and normal (e.g. unpaid) relationship that one would have with a friend, etc. I seek touch from a fellow human, not a robot. It’s hard to reconcile getting touch without the ability, due to professional boundaries, to get to know them as a person. Of course those boundaries need to be there, I’m just not convinced if working with a pro is the right thing for me to do right now.

Anyone, client or pro, willing to help me find a way to discover a perspective that would help me feel less emotionally bereft when the time is up? Right now, my inability to imagine what that would look like is holding me back.

Thanks you!


  • edited October 2023

    Hiring a professional cuddler is not a fair comparison to cuddling a partner, friend or family. There is a profound difference which makes any such comparison completely invalid. However, because most people have no other reference point, it's the comparison they make.

    In a social cuddle, you care for each other. Even if one person takes the role of care provider on a certain occasion, it's within the context of a relationship that is meant to be mutual.

    Cuddling with a professional is entirely different. It's completely one way: the professional cares for the client, and the client does not care for the professional. I don't mean the client isn't thoughtful and pleasant and respectful and all that, of course you are. But the deal is that there is a substantial net flow of care in one particular direction. Professionals do not seek to replicate social cuddles: on the contrary, the good ones offer a skilled professional service which deserves to be called therapy just as much as many other things that are called therapy.

    To put it another way, professional cuddling is not a substitute for social cuddling. (As an example, I have had times when I have been in the fortunate position of being able to choose between a professional cuddle and an enthusiast cuddle. Sometimes I have needed one, sometimes the other.) It's a completely different thing. The correct comparison for professional cuddling is no cuddle at all. And remember that some clients are happily married people, whose partner knows of and approves of their cuddling.

    You do get to know the professional, to an extent. It's just that that extent is limited. This isn't a bad thing, on the contrary it's a good thing - it allows the professional to offer you the care you need.

    I have five pieces of advice for you. Firstly, recognise that some of your understanding of what professional cuddling is and how it works may not be quite right. This is common and understandable, given that you are new to this world and not an expert in it. Allow yourself to let go of preconceptions and inadvertent assumptions.

    Secondly, choose your professional carefully. This thread will help:

    Good professionals end the session gently and positively, so you are not left with feelings of being abandoned.

    These are more widely relevant:

    Thirdly, genuine human connection is very common in professional cuddling. It's not that the professional doesn't care for you in the session - they do. But the boundaries enable them to not carry too much of that care out of the session into their private life. I help professionals with various challenges they encounter, and let me assure you that the most difficult ones arise because the professional cares for the client and that has led them to break the boundaries.

    Fourthly, plan a sequence of three or four professional cuddles. If the budget is tight they may be over many months. You don't need to be specific about dates and people at the start, but perhaps something like this:

    professional A now
    professional A or professional B in December, probably the 14th
    whichever one in December, then the other one in February after Aunt Agatha's visit
    A or B or perhaps an as yet unknown professional in early April

    Obviously you can change the plan in the light of experience. Do not start with one professional and stick only with them - this may lead to over-attachment, which ends in tears. Having a plan allows you to think, "That was brilliant, and I get to do it again!" I started with a one hour cuddle every three months or so, because that was all I could afford.

    Fifthly, this is all going to be fine, because you are thinking about it, and writing about it, and asking for help. The people who come to grief are the ones who crash through this process without reflection, because they make mistakes and do foolish things. You are doing it the right way.

    Good luck!

  • Every pro is different so I think if you were to go the “pro” route, you should put a lot of time in when finding a pro that you can truly click with. I have a lot of cuddlers that I clicked with instantly, and even though we keep that boundary in place of professionalism, we both have a genuinely amazing time. I always message as often as they like afterwards to just chat and sometimes even go out for karaoke and don’t charge. But then I do have some cuddlers that feels like all business. They show up, get held and leave. Light talking (if any at all) and then boom, they’re gone. And I have some cuddlers that talk about certain things like politics and whatnot that are opposite of where I stand and it would make it impossible for me to extend our relationship to anything more than “pro/cuddler”.

    That’s one option anywho. A lot of pros are very strict on boundaries and are not here to make friends. And that’s totally ok! But there are also pros that have a bit more time on their hands and truly enjoy keeping a genuine connection. Maybe finding a pro that you immediately have a strong vibe with platonically, could help when the physical cuddle is done. Like paying for a service from a friend because you respect their career but then still message after to be like “hey! I had an awesome time!” And just chat like old time buddies 💖

    Another option would be to throw yourself into some healthy side habits like painting, music, learning a new language, joining a pool league. Keep yourself entertained and expand on who you are as a person 🥰🥰

    Good luck!!!

  • I hear you. Cuddling is awesome but also can get expensive.

    My dentist made an appointment for me for December to go in for a consultation for a possible root canal on a couple teeth so I need to start saving up for that.

  • cuddling is a unique and intimate experience but sadly gets to be financially draining. I wish my finances could keep up with my appetite for cuddling, but it can’t.

  • edited October 2023

    Thanks. I think I’ll also discuss this with my therapist, with whom I’ve been working for over a year and a half.
    I am doing all the things you mentioned. I’m on a journey. A very complicated, and at times, an emotionally wrenching one, but I am well looked after professionally. I’m just trying to figure out if pro cuddling will advance the work I’m already doing, or hinder it.

  • @Ladi_28806 you’re definitely on the right path! Good luck on your journey 😁😁

  • Another option you might consider: don't pick a pro you would ever consider as a romantic partner.

    When I first started cuddling, I was still in the depths of trauma healing and to avoid repeating codependency patterns, on the advice of my therapist I hired pros who were nothing like past romantic partners nor did I take physical aesthetics into consideration. That conscious choice made it easier to avoid transference, I think, combined with seeing more than one pro and continuing to do group events.

    It can be really weird at first if you've only ever cuddled with romantic partners, but pushing out of that comfort zone can be worth it AND can broaden your pool of potential cuddle partners, whether pros or enthusiasts.

  • @Ladi_28806 I like all the responses you are getting here. I especially like the advice of @cuddlefaery . A good pro cuddler will ease you into and out of the session safely, and help disperse the transference both during the session and at the end. Choosing a cuddler who is not typically someone you would feel romantically inclined toward is a great piece of advice. Keep the session shorter rather than longer as you ease into it. Ask your cuddler to start off somewhere simple and in brighter light, like a couch in the daytime, and start with basic cuddles. Take breaks if you need to. Breathe deep and remind yourself it is a therapy session. Finding the right cuddlers will help for sure - interview and don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they handle things like this. 😊 Good luck with your journey - you seem self-aware, which is the first step to knowing if this is right for you or not.

  • edited October 2023

    @Ladi_28806, asking the question of yourself can help inform the situation as well.

    In my experience, cuddling with a pro is much less complicated than cuddling with an enthusiast because it's literally a transaction. So, the expectation is different, for me anyhow. I came to cuddling in search of an alternative therapeutic healing option, whereas there are many in the community that are looking for the healing, along with developing some sort of social or casual-companionship type of relationship with their cuddle partner too. Mentally framing cuddling as a therapeutic experience has been key for me simply because I don't have any expectations outside of the session from my provider.

    The hormonal energy we develop within ourselves while cuddling is by nature confusing because the hormones our bodies produce in platonic cuddling are similar to those in a romantic encounter. So, it's truly a mind over matter situation on the client's part to not let that amazing hormonal-energy-exchange get confused with something that it's not. I'll be the first to admit, it took me 3 or 4 encounters with some remarkable pros to help me fully comprehend this and thereby allow myself to feel comfortable enough in the space we create to be authentically vulnerable.

    I've found my cuddle sessions to provide a much greater and longer lasting healing-affect than talk-therapy or massage therapy. It's been a process...

  • @Ladi_28806

    I'm also new to cuddling, and I had similar concerns as you do. I've now had two sessions with a pro, and she has been just about perfect in every way. While it is difficult to transition out of the session and get back to real life (for me it feels like coming back home from a very quick vacation), I've found that I can handle it very well. However, I also feel like I have the financial means to keep having sessions once a month for the next year or so, and that may make it more difficult for you if you don't.

    However, as others have said, what's helped me is having a very clear mental understanding of what the relationship is. If you're looking for an actual emotional connection the way you would have with a partner or even a friend, then cuddling with a pro is not right for you. That's not what it is. You don't want to view yourself and the pro as being in the exact same role, because if so, the whole thing is going to leave you cold and disappointed.

    The way I view it is very similar to therapy. I view it as I am being treated, almost like I have a wound. It's kind of like physical therapy, massage therapy, psychological therapy, etc. It's just much more powerful emotionally and physically than any of those for me.

    It's having a chance for the session to be all about you and your own emotional and platonic touch needs. It's really all about you and your own journey and your own needs, and having them be treated. It's not really about the pro, just like how it's not really about your doctor or physical therapist or massage therapist.

    For me, I recognize this, and it makes me feel very happy and satisfied with my cuddling journey just far. I actually am extremely happy with it because it has given me absolutely wonderful experiences beyond what I ever thought was possible.

    But I know that the pro is there to treat me and help me, not to have emotional feelings for or about me. She gets satisfaction out of helping me and fulfilling my needs for physical touch. For me, that's not a fake relationship. But, it is one that is extremely different than any social relationship that you have in life.

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