Just for interest, I thought I'd interview some people.
Most interviews begin with a personal question or two followed by "How did you get into cuddling?". The other questions are:
AlexBabyBoo23 (P) ... getting to know someone via cuddling; physical therapy; pouring out hearts; life difficulties.
AndiCuddles (P) ... geeky things enjoys; being a pro; effects on marriage; job description; training; things learned.
anastasija (P) ... inspiration to be pro; being burned out; approach; boundaries; putting clients at ease; memorable times.
AshleyCuddles (P) ... how often; advice to new pros; cuddling as a pro; preparation; best thing about cuddling.
Bles ... values about cuddling; how likes to be cuddled; experiences including negative ones; learned from cuddling.
BlueIris (P) ... cuddling as a pro; new clients; conversation; cuddle parties; pro age; favorite thing about cuddling.
Brandi (P) ... favorite things; loving strangers; business side; rewarding and frustrating things; coming out of the cuddle closet.
cuddlebugTM (P) ... cuddling as caregiving for elderly; public cuddling; becoming friends; community; introducing cuddling.
cuddlesfordays1 (P) ... addressing concerns; how cuddles; conversation; people unsure about platonic cuddling.
fickleivy (P) ... being a professional; boundaries; likes to do; conversation; memorable cuddles; why loves; pro cuddling.
Goldengrams1201 ... cuddling means; boundaries; enjoys; activities; enthusiast vs pro; community; explaining cuddling.
HugsFromFei (P) ... passion for teaching; blog articles; training; facebook group; what clients are paying for.
JRose (P) ... best and most challenging thing; time per week; client types; feeling loved; learned from cuddling; self-care.
Lorelei (P) ... connecting; community; emotions; explaining platonic cuddling; medical benefits.
Missy87 (P) ... dealing with creeps; non-cuddling events; physical appearance; conversation; aim when cuddling.
Nicole_Moon (P) ... new clients; conversation; positions; touch / hands; leaving people feeling loved.
PinkLipstick22 (P) ... role; boundaries; things involved; how likes to cuddle; improving; describing platonic cuddling.
Sashamcgee (P) ... travelling ; cuddling outside family; love; how long a pro; clients ask for; what would ask for; new pros.
Scarlette (P) ... clients per week; good cuddles; create your own cuddle; advice to new pros; cuddling as therapy.
Tiffaknee89 (P) ... things people might not realize; preparing; how likes to cuddle; double cuddles; memorable moments.
ubergigglefritz (P) ... being HSP; how started; cuddlist training; telling people; memorable moments; resting; life skills.
CharlesThePoet ... drumming; crochet; negative and positive touch; boundaries; PTSD; community; poem.
chococuddles ... scents; cuddling non-pros; do when cuddling; people who don't get it; not giving/receiving karma.
happybear ... why important; things learned; self care; community; looks for in a professional; things likes to do.
I_am_Polylover ... defn of polyamorous and platonic; emotional connection; things enjoy in a cuddle; community.
lilredmage ... any surprises; how enjoys cuddling; what cuddling does for; professional cuddling.
Mark ... inspiration; intention for the site; behind the scenes; profits back into the site; planned features; member stats.
MattCat (P) ... male pros; cuddling women vs men; where; how likes to be cuddled; male pro advice.
Morpheus ... community; brushing hair; typical session; memorable cuddles; pro vs non-pro; imperfections of pro cuddling.
OhioMike ... being a gentleman; preparation; how likes to cuddle; improving; memorable experiences.
pmvines ... therapy; social anxiety; how you cuddle; community; hoping for; not thinking sexually; memorable cuddles.
quietman775 ... how often; non-pro buddies; conversation; positions; communication; finding good cuddlers; using hands.
respectful ... gets out of cuddling; surprises; paid cuddling; non-professionals; emotions; motivations for posts.
reurbo ... is cuddling everyone different; overnight cuddles; favorite things while cuddling; being a forum mod.
Sideon ... strength in vulnerability; how cuddles; cuddling men vs women; music; community.
@Scarlette is a professional cuddler in Maryland. "Scarlette is the name of my dog, which was named after my favorite wine."
What are you happiest about at the moment?
At this moment, I am the happiest because I am currently in Florida on my cuddle trip and I am enjoying having the windows open and feeling the warm breeze. I am spending time with my father and sister while I'm here in Florida so I am feeling very blessed right now. Not to mention all of the extremely wonderful cuddles I've had so far and looking for to the cuddles yet to come.
In general, I am happy because I am able to see all of my life's choices, both good and bad, shaping my present and my future and I love what I see. I have a wonderful, close knit family, a man that loves cuddling as much as I do and 2 successful business. My cup runneth over...
How did you get into cuddling?
I got into cuddling about 5 years ago. My sister and brother-in-law lived an alternative lifestyle. They where in an open relationship with a group of other professionals. Lovely, open, warm people.
After getting to know these people I realized that while they were having sexual relations with each other, there was not a lot of cuddling going on. I became the "cuddly" one. That's when I really realized that platonic cuddling really could fill a void for people, even people in highly satisfying sexual relationships.
How many clients do you see each week? Are there busy and less busy times?
The number of clients I see per week really varies. If I am on a cuddle trip, which I do frequently, I see a lot. If I am cuddling from home, not as many. I have a nice base of regular clients that I see weekly. I would say that I cuddle with at least 3 different clients a week for a total of 15 cuddle hours. I suppose it slows down sometimes but I think that just comes from me needing a bit of a break.
"I just had an incredible cuddle ..." What makes for the best cuddles?
The best cuddles come from a partner that just gets platonic cuddling. We can spend about 30 seconds reviewing the rules and then get to cuddling. There will be some conversation, some laughs and a real connection between 2 people.
I have zero concern over age, looks, size... I love longer cuddles so we can relax and experience different positions, mutual massage, hair play and really customize the cuddle to fit my clients needs and wants. Soft music, perfect lighting and a comfortable room is a must.
You have a lot of interesting offers in your profile, including "create your own cuddle". Has anyone taken you up on that? What has been your most memorable experience cuddling?
I have done the "Create Your Own Cuddle" several times. The best was a hot air balloon festival then a winery tour and tasting. The perfect day.
Any advice to professionals just starting out?
I have way too much advice for new pros than could possibly be listed here. As entrepreneur, aside from my cuddle business, I naturally have a head for business. I'm a shameless marketer!
I suppose my advice would be to first and foremost, hone your craft! Do what you have to do to learn as much as you can to feel confident in your cuddle skills. This could include research, webinars or free cuddles with people that you might know, just for honest feedback.
Once you are self-confident in your skills, market yourself. I can help with that if pros message me. I am glad to mentor those pros that I feel have a heart for this business.
I was struck by your story of cuddling as therapy. What makes cuddling so healing?
What makes cuddling so healing? Great question. I think it's pretty subjective. There is a ton of info out there on this topic so I will refrain from spouting statistics and facts. Instead, I will share my experience.
My clients cuddle with me for many, many reasons. They are essentially looking for a therapy that is unique to their situation. Sometimes, it's to escape work stress and they need my cuddling and a nice massage. Sometimes, they are in a rocky relationship at home, and want to be held and just have someone to talk to and open up. Sometimes, they are single and completely lack a woman's touch. Sometimes, they miss having a female on their arm at a social function.
Cuddling is far from a "one size fits all" therapy. A good professional cuddler will adapt to the individual cuddler EVERY time. Even when a client becomes a regular, every session is different. The healing aspect of cuddle therapy comes about when the reason for the client seeking cuddling is targeted and addressed. Then true healing can begin.
Wonderful interview! ^^ Scarlette is an awesome cuddler everything I’ve seen and it’s nice to see someone pick her brain, lol, she always has something great to say.
What a lovely interview! Thank you @respectful. And thanks @Scarlette, for such insightful answers. It's nice to hear your perspective.
Great interview !!!
@Scarlette One more question for you! (Or two ...)
That is so lovely of you offering to mentor other pros. Is there is secret world of professionals we clients don't know about? What kind of support network is there among professionals?
(People who aren't called Scarlette -- feel free to answer this question too)
@respectful. I have new pros contact me frequently asking me lots of questions. The questions typically are in regards to the business side of cuddling. I'm more than happy to help them IF I feel that their heart is it and they are not just here for the money.
A secret world of professional cuddlers? LOL... Let's just say that the pros that are active on the forums do keep in touch. We are constantly reaching out with questions and/or solutions. Sometimes we just need some support and someone to talk to that really understands our world.
@Scarlette That makes sense.
I get the impression that professionals don't tend to compete with each other?
(My experience has been that pros have no issue with me visiting other pros, and might even encourage it).
I go to Scarlette with my questions for advice.
Considering we are pretty much spread out over the country, there really isn't much competition. I can only speak for myself, but I have no problem with my clients visiting other pros. I have one client that I cuddle with approximately 6 hours per week. He is not on Cuddle Comfort. He was so sad when I came away on my cuddle trip. I offered multiple times to set him up with a reputable pro in the area for while I was gone. He gave me a firm "no", but I would have no problem with that at all.
@Scarlette Thanks for all your lovely answers (including the extra ones)!
Enjoy the rest of your cuddle trip.
@Nicole_Moon is a professional cuddler in University Place, Washington. "I love looking at the moon and my middle name is Nicole."
Your profile mentions reading, painting and learning ... could you tell us more about those?
Reading is my escape, painting is my release, and learning is my love!
Getting sucked into the alternate universe of a good book with a complex plot and strong character development can be a life altering experience for me.
Painting is a form of meditation for me. Painting my feelings onto canvas, if even only for my eyes, is intensely satisfying and therapeutic for me.
Finally, learning is my way of appreciating life! I love all things science! I soak up knowledge any chance I get.
What made you get into in platonic cuddling?
I got into platonic cuddling because I seriously enjoy making people feel cared for and wanted. I've battled deep loneliness and hurt in my life, so if there is any way I can keep someone from going through the same struggle, I'm all for it!
When you have a brand new client, how do you start the session?
I'll be honest, whenever I have a brand new client I get pretty nervous, so I try to break the ice with a smile and maybe a little humor. I like to get right into the cuddle and ask some questions to get a dialogue going to put my clients at ease.
What kinds of conversations do you tend to have with clients while cuddling?
My conversations really depend on the person I'm cuddling. I try to find common interests or talk about whatever excites them I've had conversations about video games, religion, politics, pets, relationships, family, life in general! Wanna talk about the price of tea in China? I may have to look that up...
Do people like to try different positions? What are the main ones?
The main cuddling positions I've tried are spooning, me laying on someone's chest, bear hugs, pancaking... I think it's called? There's lots of positions and I admit to not knowing them all, but if someone has one to teach me then hey! I get to do that learning thing
How do you touch people when you cuddle them (what do you do with your hands)?
Oh I love to run my fingertips across someone's skin!! Running my fingertips through someone's hair, down their shoulders and across the arms to entwine their fingers in mine... it's so sweet!! Caressing their face, back, neck.. I love the feeling of skin, and the relaxed sigh they give in return is verification that I'm doing my job well
From the comments in your karma, you leave people feeling pretty relaxed and loved. What's the secret to doing that?
The secret to being a good cuddler is simply to make fulfilling the other person's needs your goal! I go into each session making my client's needs a priority. I sincerely want to make them feel wanted, calm, and happy.
Another great interview .
@quietman775 is a non-professional from Massachusetts. "I just thought 'quietman' described me accurately. I didn't realize the John Wayne connection until after I had chosen it, so that was unintentional."
How did you first start cuddling?
Totally by chance! I was browsing the Strictly Platonic section of Craigslist just for the entertainment value when I stumbled across an ad for a cuddle agency. I had never heard of the concept, but found it intriguing. I visited the agency's website and they had two or three cuddlers near me, so on a whim, I decided to give it a try. That first pro and I hit it off, and a new hobby was born. That was three years ago this month, and I still see that same cuddle pro on a regular basis.
How often would you have sessions with a professional these days? Do you have any non-pro cuddle buddies?
In an ideal world, I would cuddle once every two weeks. Sometimes life gets in the way and I can't do it that often. And sometimes I go on cuddle binges where I meet a different pro every day for three or four consecutive days, letting me catch up on missed cuddles.
I have met a total of 6 non-pro cuddle buddies over the course of three years. Two of them were awesome, but because they live hundreds of miles from me, I can't see them more than once or twice per year when I am on business trips. A few were local to me, and we had good snuggles, but they didn't work out as long-term cuddle buddies for one reason or the other. Finding a compatible local enthusiast who becomes a long-term cuddle buddy is still the Holy Grail of cuddling for me.
What do you tend to talk about while cuddling?
Anything, everything, and nothing at all. It depends on the vibe of the particular session. Sometimes we solve all of the world's geopolitical problems, and sometimes we just talk about music, food, or hobbies. Having no conversation at all can also be great, as we concentrate on soaking up the cuddles and basking in the bliss. :-)
Your profile says you go through 5 or 6 positions in a 90-minute session. Any favorites? Obscure ones?
It depends a lot on my partner; I like to do what feels easy, natural, and comfortable for both of us. Some sessions have relatively high energy levels and involve a lot of moving around. Some sessions are more serene, almost "sleepy" and still. My average session is somewhere between those extremes. I like to change things up every 10-15 minutes or so, even if it's only to switch from one side to the other so my arm doesn't fall asleep.
I have more favorite positions than I can do in one 90-minute session. ;-) These include basic ones like the "Papa Bear" (a seated cuddle where she sits in front of me and leans back against my chest while I wrap my arms around from behind); spooning (at 6 feet tall and around 220, I'm usually the big spoon); "Jet packing"; "Come to Papa" and "Main Squeeze" (both found in the Cuddle Sutra); and one I've never seen referenced anywhere, but that all my partners have liked. I call it the Figure Four, and it would take a lot of words to describe.
With the right cuddler, my favorite position is whatever one we're in at the moment!
From your karma comments, you are good at communicating your wants and needs during a cuddle. How do you go about that?
LOL, If you went to a McDonald's and needed to communicate to the cashier that you wanted a Big Mac and a Coke, how would you go about that? It's just that simple with cuddling. Clear, specific communication delivered calmly and pleasantly. One of the great things about seeing the same partner many times is that we come to know each other well, eliminating the need for a lot of conversation around wants and needs.
Your cuddle fiction story implies that it can be a bit of work to find good cuddlers sometimes. Tell us about that.
In three years, I have met somewhere around 23 pro cuddlers from three different websites. I've had my share of bad experiences while searching for cuddle nirvana.
One pro took my advance deposit, no-showed the session, and disappeared (no more prepayment for me!). Another one corresponded with me for several days, and couldn't wait to get together --- until she saw my photo, at which point she stopped responding. (Ouch!) There was a pro (not from CC) who ditched the idea of platonic cuddling and made a grab for my pants. Some disengaged pros scrolled through their text messages while I spooned them, or who made no effort to hold up their end of a conversation.
There was even one who turned out to be a fugitive from justice, appearing on some agency's Most Wanted List. I didn't know this until after our session. When I found out she was on the lam and that she had done time for armed home invasion, I realized I might have literally dodged a bullet!
But going through all of that allowed me to meet some truly awesome pros. These are the ones I want to see over and over. It took a lot of time, money, and effort to find my local favorites. But it was totally worth it.
What do you do with your hands when you cuddle?
It depends. I approach cuddling as recreation rather than therapy, so I'm not looking to receive "treatment" at the hands of my cuddle pro. I'm just looking for both of us to have an equally enjoyable time. So I try to give as much as I get. Approached that way, cuddling is quite interactive, a kind of nonverbal call & response (almost like dancing!) that lets me vary my approach to suit the style of my partner and the vibe of the session.
That said, I'm a very tactile guy, so my natural tendency is to use my hands a lot to communicate warmth and affection. That might mean I hold her hand, rub her back, stroke her arms, play with her hair, caress her face --- anything that is both agreeable to her and within the bounds of the client agreement. And I love having all those things done to me. Except the playing with hair part; I don't have enough hair to offer that option. :-)
Omg quietman your pro experiences scare me! So sorry you had all that bad but glad you found what you were looking for on the other side. Hugs!
Great interview , I’m really loving these !!
How do these interviews take place?
@Morpheus Just by messages. I suggest a list of questions (sometimes with a few options), and also say that people are free to change them or make up new questions.
(I planned to ask if you would like to be interviewed, but I haven't yet because I wanted to post one per day and it would be a while before it would be posted).
Next up will be @AshleyCuddles!
Absolutely I would love it, these are amazing.
OOOo I love these! some really interesting info, good questions, and love hearing the answers ^_^
great idea @respectful !
@reurbo Thanks! I've appreciated people's answers too.
@AshleyCuddles lives in Spring, Texas. She recently turned professional.
How did you start out cuddling?
It is kind of a funny story. A few months ago I got a message from a guy asking if I would be willing to be his chat buddy. Told me up front that he was married but kinda lonely so just wanted someone to talk to and nothing more. So we talked a little bit everyday about work, life, family.
He broke down one day and told me how unhappy he was at home. His wife wouldn't touch him or let him hold her. He felt like he was dying inside and going into a depression. He told me he didn't want to cheat on his wife but he could feel that the was missing this. As a joke, he asked me if I had ever heard of someone hiring a prostitute to cuddle, to which I immediately rushed to say "NO, DON'T DO THAT!"
Then I explained that hiring a professional cuddler was an actual thing. He had never heard of it but I had seen it pop up a few times in media. He said that he would look into it but he didn't think he could find someone that he would be comfortable with. So I said well, you are comfortable with me, so lets try and see if it helps.
I was nervous at first but we had already been talking a while so we met up and cuddled for an hour. I was actually surprised at myself with how comfortable I was. He would squeeze me calling me his snuggly bear. I still see him every week and he tells me that it feels amazing that he is happy and has something that he can selfishly enjoy just for himself and be walking on clouds all week until he cuddles again.
When I saw the change in him and how much I truly enjoyed it myself I decided to look into it and research further. It was something that I wanted to do, truly help people. Every person I've met with since, I always contact the next day to ask them how the feel after the cuddle. I always love those responses. I am completely in love with what I do.
What is your availability, and how often do you cuddle professionally?
I'm available all times day or night but not really for last minute appointments. When not cuddling I'm busy being a mommy. Currently I cuddle about 4 to 5 times a week but that definitely fluctuates.
Any advice to other professionals who are just starting out?
This is not easy. I'm sure people come into this thinking that they can just sign up and people contact them and they make money. NOT TRUE! This takes considerable time investment.
Never ever, ever meet up with someone that just contacted you and said come over. That is dangerous and you will not be happy with the outcome. In my experience people that truly want PLATONIC cuddling (key word there) absolutely want to talk to you and get to know you a bit first.
It is so incredibly important to ask lots of questions from both sides, establish strong boundaries, and make it very clear that is all you will ever be willing to do. I would say from the people that contact me about 3/5 are looking for something more than platonic cuddling, which is fine, but they won't find that with me so I suggest going elsewhere.
Keep in mind this isn't for everyone, including the people that contact you so don't try to force anything. You can be a great cuddler but one cuddler is not right for everyone so if you don't connect that's ok, what is important is they find the person that they do connect with and can heal with. If they are not comfortable with me I hope they find someone they are, and can find that happiness and healing they seek.
Treat people with respect, be professional, but always do everything you can to be safe and informed. If you are not sure about something, ask another professional, we all work together to give each other advice so please do not hesitate. I'm here to help and that really does go for everyone.
Does cuddling as a professional feel different? Does it change your approach?
For me personally, yes. When I cuddle a significant other it does not seem to ever last very long. There is different feelings and motives. If I were to be truly honest I get more from cuddling professionally because I can take the time to relax and enjoy laying there talking and laughing and connecting in a way that is really pure that I haven't experienced anywhere else.
How do you like to set the scene for a cuddle?
This one is still evolving with each experience I get new ideas. I always bring candles, and let the person pick the ones they like. I bring a soft cuddling blanket. Play music from my phone. I'll bring lotion and baby oil for massages. I feel most relaxed in dim lighting.
I have a ritual to get ready before hand. About two hours prior to meeting I will shower using dove and sweet smelling shampoo... yes for personal hygiene but the reason I do this so soon before is because dove makes my skin extra soft to touch and freshly washed hair smells amazing.
For you, what is the best thing about cuddling?
Gosh that's hard because I get a lot from cuddling. I love the energy boost I get afterwards, but I have to say my favorite part is when someone I cuddled tells me that I've helped them and how happy they are for the next day or week. I love making a difference and helping people. Warms my heart.
What are you up to next? Do you have a cuddling bucket list?
I just started a cuddling journey. Next week I'll be taking my first short trip to Austin, which I am excited about. At the end of the month I will be heading up north to Michigan with stops in Tennessee and Ohio. I feel completely blessed to do this and I hope to take more and more trips all over the US and possibly other countries someday.
My bucket list... cuddle all of over the US and maybe England and Australia.
Is it better to post interviews in separate threads that get merged into this thread after a while, or should new interviews be posted directly in this thread?
The reason for using a separate thread is mainly so people can tell when a new interview appears.
I like the separate threads. That way you can also see the name of the person being interviewed.
Ditto on separate threads. A spotlight for each of the interviews.
Really well done, @respectful.
@respectful - This is a really great idea, by the way. It's nice to know more about some of the people who post the most!
@cuddlebugTM is a professional cuddler in Moreno Valley, California. "My good friend and I always call each other cuddlebugs. TM is for TMAMA, which is what the teens I volunteer with call me."
So how do you cuddle a chicken?
I love my animals and I cuddle my ducks too, but need plastic on me because that gets messy. For my chicken I just put a towel on my lap. She cuddles in my arms and makes happy noises when we cuddle. She also sits in a basket next to me and watches TV with us.
Were you always a cuddly person? What do you mainly enjoy about cuddling?
I grew up in a cuddly family. Five of us cuddled in bed watching movies or talking and singing silly songs. For me cuddling is comforting and healing. I struggle with anxiety and chronic pain, and cuddling helps a lot. I notice that if I haven't had much cuddling the anxiety and pain is much worse.
You've used cuddling as part of your caregiving for elderly and adults with special needs. How does that usually go?
I've been a caregiver for many years. I'm a natural nurturer I always have been. I do basic hygiene like bathing, feeding, diaper changing and shaving faces. It can all be so clinical and feel dehumanizing. I found holding their hands, hugs, rubbing their back can help relax, heal and remind them they are valued and not just a job. Many times their families hardly touch them, people get uncomfortable and distant with the sick or people with special needs. They become very touch deprived. I'm blessed that my work experience helped me care for my grandfather when he was dying of cancer, and I was cuddling him when he took his last breath.
I've also been a companion which is just driving people to appointments and being there with them when their family cannot. I got permission from family to add cuddling which helped with depression, anxiety and even saw they healed faster when ill.
I remember one young man who had extreme anxiety -- he was getting very agitated cursing at his mother and hitting himself. I held his hands till he calmed a bit and stopped hitting himself, then I gave him a big bear hug. He calmed in my arms till his body went limp. I found if we started to see him getting mildly agitated I would hold him and it would center him, and eventually his outbursts became almost non-existent.
It sounds like you've cuddled in public a few times. What kinds of things have you done outdoors?
I've been to parties, dinners, movies, theater and amusement parks. It's usually holding hands, cuddling on a bench and general touch. It has helped clients with some special needs feel connected and present. Other clients don't like to be touched at all. Consent is constant part of my work.
Many clients are friends helping me get started in the straight cuddle community. With friends it's just natural -- most of my friends were always or have become comfortable with touch. I'm a very touchy person. I love the connection! I've also had a few straight cuddles with clients I have from FB and we sit in the park holding each other, holding hands and arm caressing in movie theater, I've even cuddled at naturist resorts with long time online friends.
Side note! I'm very excited to have a good friend and cuddle buddy become my roommate. She is the best cuddle buddy I've ever had.
"Not all connections have to end up being a client, they could just be a friend". How often does that happen for you?
It happens often with people out of state. I've made incredible friends online who I may cuddle one day but just become friends sharing how our week went or venting when they or I need a sympathetic ear. It's mutual.
What has your experience been like in the cuddling community?
So far it's been good and enlightening. I've met some great Pros that have taught me a lot. In my field "platonic" isn't vague to my clients -- they really understand my role. Here it seems there is more having to be very clear about boundaries, consent and what is platonic. I've found some people really get it and want to, while some still struggle to not see this as a path to dating.
I've been encouraged by those who choose to educate in forums, especially the men. Branching out to clients that only need cuddling is new for me so I'm learning as well.
If you wanted to introduce the idea of platonic cuddling to someone who hadn't heard of it, what would you say?
It's very easy to explain to women about same sex cuddling, it's much harder when it's the opposite sex. I haven't found the answer to that. Sometimes talking about how family or good friends can have that closeness. It's getting them to understand being that close to a stranger I struggle with. Like I said I'm still learning.
I like how @respectful thinks outside the box, nice job.
Thanks for all the encouragement guys! Separate threads it is then.
The next interview is with Mark, the founder of Cuddle Comfort. Anticipation fills the air ...
@Mark is the founder of Cuddle Comfort. He lives in England.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I enjoy reading about futurism, the implications of exponential technologies converging, artificial intelligence, virtual reality (I had an Oculus dev kit a few years ago), blockchain (I own some Ethereum) and longevity research (I support SENS Research Foundation).
At this point in time, the people that I find the most fascinating are Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, Aubrey de Grey and Vitalik Buterin.
What inspired you to promote platonic cuddling?
It was after my first relationship ended that I realised the importance of cuddling -- or in my case, the sudden absence of it. It was around that time that I came up with the idea for this website.
What was the original intention for the site?
The original intention was and still is for this website to be the community hub for cuddling enthusiasts around the world. Equally important is our mission to help people get a cuddle whenever they want without the typical requirement of being in a relationship first.
Many people who join now don't realise that the professional side of things came about spontaneously. A few years after the website's inception, I started to notice a rapidly growing number of independent professional cuddlers joining the website to find clients. That was an issue because much of the community seemed only interested in the social aspect. As a community we discussed how best to solve this.
The options before us were either putting resources into a constant policing effort of only allowing non-pros to join, or embracing the professionals in a way that helped fund the website and with enough discretion as to avoid bothering those with no interest. We went with the latter option and in doing so offered a unique alternative for professionals who were thus far limited to being directly managed by agencies that typically took around half their earnings. I think this has also proven to be a net benefit to the community as a whole due to the integration and diversity of opinion from social members, clients and professionals.
Are there basically two people behind the scenes right now, you and reurbo? Is the workload manageable?
For now it's three people. Me (support, pro applicants, reports and some development), @Gary (primary developer) and @reurbo (forum mod and soon some involvement with main site reports).
The work is manageable but it's increasing with the growth of the website. It's very apparent to me that eventually there will need to be a team of mods to police this place. For example, the number of main site reports are growing as you'd expect, and ideally you want each incident to be handled with careful thought and investigation to increase chances of a fair outcome.
My impression is that most (all?) of the profits from pro fees go back into maintaining the site; is that accurate?
Yes, the vast majority of revenue goes straight back into developing the website. The roadmap for now keeps on increasing and tackling that as soon as possible is what matters most to me.
Could you explain "roadmap"?
The roadmap is basically all the planned development work for the website. That consists of new features, improvements to existing ones and bug fixes. For now, while it is being continuously actioned, the list nevertheless is still growing larger and larger. So getting all that cleared is what matters to me most and that is one reason the vast majority of revenue is directed there.
What are some of the planned features and improvements?
Some of the major ones would be: gender identity options and related search filters; private photos and ability to share inside conversations; online transaction capability for Pros; push notifications for Android.
Then you have the smaller features such as auto-cropping based on facial recognition, automatic de-activation of inactive Pros and auto-saving messages as drafts.
How many people are on the site?
At the time of writing we have 100,821 members and of those there are 46,847 forum accounts (i.e. people who at a minimum have clicked into the forum).
I am curious about whether you get to cuddle much yourself?
Glad to say I get more than enough cuddling from my girlfriend.
Thank you for keeping this site a safe place for platonic cuddling to happen. It is appreciated!
It's a pleasure -- I really enjoy watching this community grow and evolve. Thank you for playing a part in that.