Bristol-based Trevor Hooton, 30 - who is originally from Montreal, Canada and goes by 'Treasure' - set up their unconventional therapy business in May


A professional hugger who charges £75 for an hour-long embrace is now hosting parties where strangers can enjoy ‘cuddle puddles’ in groups.

Bristol-based Trevor Hooton, 30 – who is originally from Montreal, Canada and goes by ‘Treasure’ – set up their unconventional therapy business in May.

And now the endeavour is expanding into more communal events – where people can come together ‘to explore and enjoy non-sexual physical connection in a safe, structured environment’ – with special plans in the works for Valentine’s Day.

Treasure, who goes by they/them pronouns, aims to help people through the power of hugs and ‘connections coaching’ to help people struggling to build relationship others.

Bristol-based Trevor Hooton, 30 - who is originally from Montreal, Canada and goes by 'Treasure' - set up their unconventional therapy business in May

Bristol-based Trevor Hooton, 30 – who is originally from Montreal, Canada and goes by ‘Treasure’ – set up their unconventional therapy business in May

The cuddle parties at ‘Embrace Connections’ go for £30 a session and see groups spend time gaining trust and understanding physical touch – before gathering for a ‘shared comfortable, cosy cuddling experience’, also know as ‘cuddle puddle’.

Treasure explained what they offer is ‘more than just a hug’ – it’s about ‘pouring care, affection and goodwill into someone through touch’.

They admitted not everyone understands exactly what their business offers – with some even mistaking it for sex work.

But Treasure insists professional cuddling is ‘not as novel a concept as it seems’ and thinks everyone should give it a go.

A professional hugger who charges £75 for an hour-long embrace is now offering parties where strangers can enjoy 'cuddle puddles' in groups

A professional hugger who charges £75 for an hour-long embrace is now offering parties where strangers can enjoy ‘cuddle puddles’ in groups

‘I built a business based on my passions for building human connections,’ the pro cuddler said. ‘Many people struggle to make those and that’s where I step in.’

They added that the parties have been ‘great’ and are a way to ‘provide value to lots of people at once’.  

‘I’ve done four parties so far and each one has been unique and special in its own way,’ Treasure explained. ‘We have a very mixed group – some people are single and unfamiliar of touch but want to develop comfort.

‘On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are used to being touched and want more of it.

Treasure, who goes by they/them pronouns, aims to help people through the power of hugs and 'connections coaching' to help people struggling to build relationship others

Treasure, who goes by they/them pronouns, aims to help people through the power of hugs and ‘connections coaching’ to help people struggling to build relationship others

‘Either way the participants seem to walk away from it and love it.’

Treasure first began looking into the science behind human connections 10 years ago, as they found it fascinating.

But it wasn’t until 2021 that they began working to turn it into a business, which launched in May 2022.

Embrace Connections offers a range of different services – including ‘connections coaching’, a session which aids your ability to build relationships with others, and ‘cuddle therapy’ – where people pay for a one-to-one hour’s cuddle session.

Treasure has now added ‘cuddle parties’ to their list of services with the next one planned for Valentine’s Day.

Treasure has now added 'cuddle parties' to their list of services with the next one planned for Valentine's Day

Treasure has now added ‘cuddle parties’ to their list of services with the next one planned for Valentine’s Day

‘The first section of the party is a welcome and arrival and brief discussion of the expectations and boundaries of the space,’ they said of the new initiative. ‘Then we do a set of workshop activities to help people arrive in their own bodies and meet one another and learn to how to interact with one another.

‘This is important because if you were to just drop people in to this environment and say “have at it”, there could be problems.’

After an hour, there’s a break where the group gets together to have some food and get to know each other more.  

Treasure then ‘resets the room’, and the ‘cuddle puddle’ – where everyone piles on and hugs – begins. 

‘Over the course of the rest of the evening some people stay in the cuddle or some leave and have some pair cuddling, massages, or simply get a cup of tea,’ they added. ‘Some people are strangers at the beginning and then at the end they feel close and powerful.’

Treasure said they’re ‘challenging the unspoken rules of society’ through their work – and believes that through this, ‘we can reach something better for ourselves’.

Treasure has asked Valentine’s Day attendees to wear red and is also setting up a card making station as an extra touch.

‘The space holds 25 and we’ve nearly reached that,’ they said. ‘It’s just nice to be held on Valentine’s Day.’

Treasure’s most popular service is the ‘cuddle therapy’, where people pay £75 to be hugged by them – and the pro says that it’s always ‘a non-sexual, platonic intimacy, based on whatever the person wants’.

They explained that that Treasure and the client go over guidelines to ensure everyone is on the same page and then structure the session based on agreed boundaries.

There is throughout the session ‘a lot of checking in’ to ensure that the person feels safe and calm. 

Treasure said that unusual service is different for everybody – and it can take some work to find the most effective approach.

They even confessed it can be a little uncomfortable at first – but that it is worth it in the end.

‘It can be awkward,’ they admitted. ‘It’s a weird thing and not typical for most people to step into being intimate with a stranger.

‘People come with their own insecurities or preconceptions but I do my best to help find a place where they are comfortable.

‘And if the person starts to feel the start of something sexual, we communicate about that and back off, because it needs to be non-sexual intimacy.’

Treasure had to learn the theory behind cuddling and said: ‘It’s about communication and building trust – when you hire a cuddle therapist, you are hiring their time, attention and care.

‘When I am giving a hug to someone, I’m pouring in care, affection and goodwill through that touch.

‘Hugging a stranger doesn’t do much, it has to be someone who cares about you.’

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