I’m going to get straight to the point in this post.
In the process of advertising a wellness and healing-focused platonic touch service, I liken my journey to wading through a smog-bathed forest. Sometimes I can predict what’s coming next, other times I cannot. Doing this kind of work comes with its risks, obviously. If I weren’t comfortable meeting and getting close to strangers, I could not do it. Though most people I meet do not have the outright intention to hurt me, some arrive to the table seriously misunderstanding (or outright ignoring) what is offered and what is not offered in a platonic cuddle session. What is welcome and what is not often goes over the heads of some, and these are not the people I want to book with. What has huge potential to hurt a person, and what helps us feel safer needs to be communicated, yes, but also understood and respected.
That is what professional cuddlers exist for, on the whole. To educate about consent. To provide a safe place where one can let go. To let others know that you do not have to consummate a closely physical experience, and you can simply just be. To remind society that we all deserve to be transported back to a space in time where as children, we were nurtured, loved, and cared for.
But dearest lady of the night, I have come across several of your clients. They were all reluctant to identify you as their previous “cuddling” experience, and to explain in detail what occured during their sessions. This is part of my screening, to make sure that the right people are enlisting my service, and not people seeking sensual or sexual ones. Juxtaposing how they acted in sessions with me, and the mentioning of their previous experiences with a “cuddler on [insert ad site here]”, I knew exactly who they were talking about. It couldn’t have been the other woman who has recently been in the news. In my opinion, she has done all she can to distinguish her business as a beacon for the wounded from something else entirely. I highly respect what she is doing over at her website and the effort she has gone to to spread awareness of platonic touch. I’m sorry however that she has to advertise next to your ambiguous ads. You may not realise it, but you are potentially helping to hurt those who choose to be professional cuddlers without any underlying intent or service.
Your choice to place your erotic services beside professional cuddling is harmful.
It’s putting those of us who do this work genuinely and platonically in danger of having our boundaries pushed, or being sexually abused. You may not think you are doing harm, but your improper offering and advertising of “cuddle sessions” are miseducating these people about what a professional cuddle session actually is. You do not appear to be doing the work. You list a website which has a review from the CAF forum, which is a review board for escorts and erotic massage. It is not a secret that sexual hobbyists are trying to hide from the law, and so they are coming to websites like CuddleUp (a trainwreck filled with known escorts and Craigslist sex mongers), Cuddle Comfort (a place where we are doing all we can to bring in the right people), and to the ads of platonic providers elsewhere, hoping that they will let their guards down and “offer more”.
They are doing this because the proximity of your services encourages them to believe that cuddling is sensual or erotic.
The first client of yours who booked me rocked his pelvis against me and tried to touch me repeatedly between the legs. He was out of my house within 15 minutes, and I retreated to another room afterward in order to prevent myself from having a flashback to my abuse.
The second client of yours offered more money to me and asked for a body rub at the end of his time. He was insistent and I told him to fuck off and never book with me again. After this, he sent some harrassing texts to my phone comparing my service to yours. He had clearly manipulated and lied about his reason for coming here – that his spouse had passed away and he needed someone to help him through it. If he was telling the truth, then this was a pretty fucking awful way to be coping.
The last client of yours who happened to book with me recently was very respectful, until he began to blur lines. As he rubbed my back, he crooned and moaned my name, which really creeped me out. We had spent a total of one and a half hours consulting about my service, what I offer, and what I do not. I did all I could to prevent something like this from happening, and yet this last client still in the most subtle ways was communicating that his underlying intent was different from mine. Luckily, he did not attempt to act on his obvious arousal and was able to re-center himself into the moment.
My experiences with these people who also admitted to enlisting your “cuddle” service were traumatising. It has come to the extent that as long as you are present on that site, I will never advertise there, however I will keep flagging your ads in order to keep other cuddlers safe from these types of nightmares. Your ads are very problematic for me to read, with mention of being able to “cuddle in a soft, 28-year-old chest”…really? “Panties and undies” staying on…? That is not how a true professional cuddler communicates. We simply mention that the service is non-sexual, and WE MEAN IT down to the words and imagery that we use.
You have no business advertising yourself as a professional cuddler when you have made no real effort to unblur the lines between platonic and sexual. You have no business calling your sessions “cuddle sessions”. You don’t seem to be aware of the importance of clearly and physically distinguishing these services.
I have no issue with sex workers being professional cuddlers, as long as they are separating their services and doing it for genuine reasons. I do not shame you for the work you’ve chosen. But if you care about the wellbeing of the women around you who, like you, are putting themselves out there openly and honestly, you should do better to learn about what you are offering instead of hiding behind it as a safe spot.
Think about those of us who may have gone through sexual abuse by someone we initially thought we could trust. Think about those of us who have been stalked, defamed, or raped when we rejected a sexual advance. Think about the pain that we may experience after having boundaries pushed. Be aware of re-traumatisation.
Being in a sexually-based industry, you must have had your fair share of boundaries pushed. Imagine how it would feel to have someone advertising a service just like yours, where their boundaries are much, much looser, the commuication of what is offered is simply not there, and that person’s same clients are now coming to you and trying to take you to places you don’t want to go.
How do you think you’d feel in that situation?
I know how I feel, and I feel my abuser’s hands all over me once again, this time not as a child, but as an adult.
What you are doing is harmful.
Please think about that. I do not want to relive my abuse every time I see a person who has also seen you. If you are advertising a sexual service, please know that there are so many other places for you to do it. If you want to truly offer this as a genuine cuddle service, take a page from the books of others who are doing the work to remove mainstream society’s binding of this movement to neighbouring industries. I highly doubt many of you will, though. It is clear by the lack of effort and continued ad-posting that you do not understand how professional cuddling really works or what it is, and you would rather be an indirect part of spreading the stigma against us like sickness.
I think I speak for most of us in that we are already accused enough of being what we actually aren’t – escorts, erotic masseuses, and people who are wanting to take cuddling to a sexual level.
Rather than help us in restoring a beautiful forest where people can be safe and have their boundaries respected, and once again experience the nurturing they sorely need, you are inadvertently choosing to help cut that forest down and cloud it further in fog, which is only a trigger for others to be hurt and confused on their journey.
Please think, and hopefully grow.