By Mollie Mansfield
A mum-of-two who claims she gives the best ‘mum cuddles’ has raked in more than £30,000 per year from spooning strangers.
Madelon Guinazzo, 50, has been a professional ‘cuddlist’ since 2009 and earns £60 per hour cuddling members of the public.
Although she made a life out of snuggling with strangers, Madelon, from Chicago, US, admits that she has been in several uncomfortable situations – but suggests it is an expected part of the work she does.
Despite this she claims that alongside being able to make large sums of money from cuddling, it makes her feel empowered in her everyday life.
Madelon now earns up to £2,500 a month, working with cuddle company, Cuddlist, and often provides up to 10 hours of cuddling sessions per week.
Madelon said: “Cuddling is amazing – I get to see the best in people and enjoy the essence of who they are without demands or expectations for them to be different.
“I have always been more comfortable than the average person with physical affection, so I do really enjoy cuddling!
“However there are boundaries that have to be made, and I have a “trust agreement” with each of my clients to make sure someone says if they feel uncomfortable.
“My personal limit is having ten one-hour sessions per week – so that I don’t burn out and I can give each client my best.”
In addition to making money from cuddling alone, Madelon also trains others to become cuddlist’s themselves.
However, despite loving her job, she claims that she does continually receive controversy for her unique career.
She said: “It is daunting to be controversial and a target for people’s discomfort around the need for closeness.
“The fear of things becoming sexual often leads to people calling this ‘paying for affection’ or labelling it as ‘pathetic’.
“I often get accused of being something that I am not – it can look like I am selling intimate touching services.
“Instead what we do teach is invisible – the skills necessary for healthy cuddling which are exercising choice, consent and boundaries.
“Sometimes people need to take time to practise good self-care, take a break and just lighten up!”
But despite strangers passing judgement on her job, Madelon claims that her family, including her two sons Dante, 19, and Josh, 16, are very supportive of her unique career.
Madelon said: “My family and friends are very supportive – a few think it’s very cool and that the work I am doing is important.
“Some don’t get it, but can see that it is important to me and are supportive of me doing what makes me happy.
“I’m very grateful to be open and accepted by the people in my life, even when we have different perspectives.”