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Snuggle House set to offer cuddle time in Madison

Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:58:34 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 12 2013 08:57:38 AM CDT

Lonnie Johnson, the only male cuddle partner at Snuggle House, and manager Hannah Rode


The Snuggle House isn't open yet, but already it's raising some eyebrows and creating buzz in the Madison area.

Located at 123 E. Main on the second floor, The Snuggle House Rejuvenation Retreat is a place people can go to get hugged, spooned and cuddled for the sake of touch therapy.

The manager, Hannah Rode, said it is not a place for sex.

"I just think it would be a world of a difference for so many people if they could come here and feel the support," said Rode, who has a social work background.  "I'm totally ready for people to be against it or not understand, and I'm OK with it."

Rode is one of a handful of "professional snugglers" who will charge around $60 an hour for their snuggling services.  

The idea of touch being therapeutic is nothing new and neither is the idea of someone charging for cuddling. The Snuggle House is modeling itself after The Snuggery in New York.  

Lonnie Johnson is the only male snuggler. He's previously held 9-to-5 jobs, but he said he wanted to answer the call so that he could help people.

"I was thinking to myself, 'man that is such a good idea,'" said Johnson. "Whether they admit to it or not, every human being needs love, needs to be cared about, needs physical contact as well."

The managers also plan on setting up a Snuggle Fund to help veterans. Rode said people who've dealt with traumatic situations, such as deployment or losing a loved one, may benefit the most from the cuddling.

The Snuggle House opens Tuesday. Staff members are set to give free hugs to anyone on the Capitol and also host an open house at the facility.

The city of Madison acknowledges it is also watching the establishment. As of Friday evening, the small business had not received the proper permits to open. Rode said it will happen.

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