Spoons For Sale

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At the Snuggery in Rochester, New York, clients can pay for non-sexual physical affection. Rose Surnow isn’t surprised to hear “nearly 50 percent of her male clients get boners”:

Here at the Snuggery, clothes stay on. There are strict boundaries and no genital touch is allowed. “Jacqueline established the Snuggery because she believes in the healing power of touch,” the website for her business explains. “She aims to make the world a gentler place, one snuggle at a time.” As a graduate student in social work, she just sees her latest venture as a different way to help people.

The clientele that visits the Snuggery is overwhelmingly male, and ranges in age from about 21 to 85. One or two women have come in since the place opened, but “they mostly just wanted to chat” — oh, women — and that’s not really the point. Though touching genitals isn’t allowed, I was surprised to learn that clients are allowed to caress their designated snuggler’s face, hair, and arms. They are also allowed to intertwine legs and play footsie. As long as it doesn’t involve lady parts, it’s basically fair game. It almost seems like men are paying to get blue balls. I had a hard time understanding what, exactly, they’re getting from the experience.

“A lot of people come in when they’re going through a divorce or breakup,” [owner Jacqueline Samuels] explains. “Because they don’t want to get into another relationship but they miss being touched.”