By Nicolas Fernandes
Meet the woman who earns 57GBP ($80) an hour working as a PROFESSIONAL CUDDLER – giving out hugs as a part-time living.
Fei Wyatt, 33, of Los Angeles, California, USA, says working for Cuddle Sanctuary has been a very rewarding experience for her since starting three years ago.
She was training to become a therapist before taking up the part-time gig, where she can make 357 GBP ($500) in as little as six hours.
Despite spending less than 10 hours a week cuddling, she invests additional time marketing herself to find new clients, teaching workshops and writing for the Cuddle Sanctuary blog.
Fei’s job is to be with her clients in the moment and allow them to enjoy a judgement free zone.
She explains that everyone needs to be hugged, but not everyone has someone who can hug them all the time.
Fei said: “The only reason I didn’t get into this line of work sooner is that I didn’t know it existed.
“My job is to be in the moment with them and accept them for who they are.
“Everyone needs to be hugged, but not everyone has someone in their life who can be there for them in that way.
“I get to deal with people when they are the most vulnerable and I like that because that is when they are their true selves.
“My clients are either hurting so much that they can’t contain it or in so much bliss that they can’t contain it.”
Despite what others may expect, not all of Fei’s clients are lonely.
Some come to see her as their self-care routine, while others are single and crave the touch of a person.
She also gets some clients who are in a relationship but are not hugged enough by their partner.
Fei is trying to alter the perceptions of professional cuddling, wanting to educate the public about how it can be meant for anyone and should not be viewed as something that is strange or uncomfortable.
Fei said: “I have some clients who come to see me every week for the same reason someone else would go to a gym once a week – self-care.”
“Some people might want to be single, but still need the touch of another person.
“This shouldn’t be looked at as strange. We all need to be hugged and touched.”
“There’s no shame in needing cuddling services.”
In the past few years, Fei has learned a lot about professional cuddling that she didn’t know before.
When she first started cuddling, Fei thought that she would be healing her clients.
As someone who was interested in therapy at the time, it took her a while to understand that a therapist and a cuddler are very different.
She now understands that she is only supposed to ensure that her clients enjoy the moment, as well as setting strict boundaries and saying no to anything they are not comfortable doing.
Fei also learned that the profession is not for people who are looking for more of a connection in their lives. Those who go into it looking for a connection do not last.
Luckily for Fei, she already has enough of a connection in her life and simply finds joy in making others happy.
Fei said: “I came into this line of work thinking that I would be fixing people with my love. That’s not what this job is about.
“The therapist heals their client through speaking to them. I instead provide unconditional love to make sure they enjoy the moment.
“Sometimes conversation between me and my clients is not even necessary. I have the permission to hold them, which can be a lot more powerful than words.
“You have to understand that people are going to disrespect boundaries and that you have to say no. If you don’t, you can get sexually harassed.
“When I started doing this, I didn’t have the proper boundary setting skills and I was tolerating things that I wouldn’t now.”