​Mum Makes £45,000 A Year Cuddling Strangers

An Australian woman who started cuddling strangers for a job has opened up about her surprising line of work - revealing that she rakes in an incredible £45,000 (AUD$79,000) a year.

Mum-of-three Jessica O'Neill, 35, had spent a decade working as a massage therapist and counsellor, but decided to add cuddling to her list of available treatments at her studio in Gold Coast, Queensland.

She says that these cuddles help those who are feeling lonely or suffering from depression, allowing them to feel loved.

She said: "I've always been a really affectionate person and have always cuddled people. It's just in my nature and is part of who I am.

"My mother was always super affectionate and loving when I was young. Her hugs always made everything okay even if there were bad things happening around us.

"I've always had a really lovely response from the people I've hugged. Everyone loves a cuddle."

Jessica, whose cuddles cost upwards of £46 (AUD$80) an hour, claims that her husband Jason, 34, isn't bothered about her profession, even though most of her clients are blokes.

Credit: StoryTrender
Credit: StoryTrender

She said: "Jason is very supportive and completely gets it. He loves what I do, and thinks it's really beautiful.

"He is super affectionate and he gives me cuddles at home. Our relationship is what makes me so strong."

Explaining how she got into the unusual line of work, Jessica said: "It all started when I began giving my clients a hug when they'd come in for a counselling session.

"It totally allowed them to drop their guard and open up so much more.

"I could see their anxiety and tension melt away. Then I could get to the core of their persona and do what I can to heal them.

"So really, it was a long time coming. I first heard about cuddle therapy six years ago, and I remember telling everyone that's what I wanted to do.

"They thought I was crazy, and probably still do. But I love it so much.

"It's so much more rewarding than just massage or counselling. I feel like it's what I was put on this Earth for."

Credit: StoryTrender
Credit: StoryTrender

Cuddles cost £46 per hour, with a session that also includes counselling costing £63 (AUD$110). Clients also have the option of a 'friendship style' coffee and cuddle session - that one will set hem back £86 (AUD$150).

While Jessica's had 'one or two' awkward moments, she insists that 99 percent of her clients are 'very well behaved'.

She continued: "Before we start our sessions, we do mediation to connect on that spiritual level.

"Then the clients will sit on a chair while we sit by their feet and we have a little chat about why they've reached out for cuddle therapy.

"Everyone has a totally different story. But the most common factors are loneliness, depression, isolation and anxiety.

"All of them just have that desire to connect with someone.

"They absolutely love it. It's like being refuelled with love and affection. I always feel safe and comfortable. I love what I do.

"There are very clear boundaries set in place and 99 percent of people would never dream of crossing them.

"If an awkward situation does arise, I assertively direct the client with no embarrassment or further issue.

"We often have sex addicts or porn addicts come in seeking therapy. It really helps them connect to their bodies in a healthy way."

Featured Image Credit: StoryTrender

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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