A recent weird news item reported that an establishment in Madison, Wisconsin dubbed the Snuggle House offered a per pay service of providing someone that you can talk with or cuddle or snuggle with at $60 an hour. Each encounter there was to involve snuggling only, no sexual moves on the part of either the customer or the snuggle service provider. However, this unusual enterprise was closed by local authorities lest it be an occasion for prostitution or sexual harassment.
The claim by the management and fans of the Snuggle House is that an hour's snuggling with someone else would release the hormone Oxytocin, the "tend and befriend" hormone. Here's a description for the establishment itself; you can form your own conclusions about it:
An enterprising reporter of the Badger Herald looked into the house, and gave this description:
Undoubtedly, being close and quiet or having soothing contact with someone else would release this beneficial hormone; but so would other things. For example, sitting quietly and petting a dog would do so as well. Or the simple act of hugging someone else, if they are receptive to this going on. Perhaps it's something we should be a little more permissive and welcoming about as a culture. We need smiles, pats on the back, kind words, and hugs. Who knows, some people might experience less loneliness. Some churches are becoming more encouraging of this type of contact in addition to the ritualized shaking of hands.
Little things do matter; and people feeling a sense of being loved and not alone matters a lot. We need hugs. Seriously.