By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85

A SERVICE is offering busy women the opportunity to pay for a CUDDLE session with a man.

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VIDEOGRAPHER / DIRECTOR: RUARIDH CONNELLAN
PRODUCER: DAN HOWLETT, ELLIE WINSTANLEY
EDITOR: JACK STEVENS, SONIA ESTAL

Cuddle company: Saskia has been using the service for more than a year

The non-sexual practice is taking off in New York City with lonely, career driven women finding less and less time for relationships.

Amazingly the service is also popular with married women who have husbands that are too busy to provide the affection they need.

Saskia Fredericks, 41, has been using the service for just over a year because she only gets to see her husband for a few days a month.

Saskia's husband Arthur is a police officer and is also in The National Guard
Return customer: Saskia sees Ian on a regular basis

The aspiring actress and masseuse spends most of her time in the city while her husband Arthur, 45, lives in Connecticut working as a police officer and serving in The National Guard.

She finds the lack of human contact difficult to deal with and her husband is fully supportive of her employing a cuddler twice a month.

Saskia added: “My husband is a lieutenant in the police department so he is on patrol 24/7 and we don’t live together full time because I am here in NYC.

Lonely city: Saskia says that life in New York City can lack human contact

“I am 99 per cent sure that he doesn’t get jealous of the cuddling because I check in with him and talk with him about it.

“Maybe if we seen more of each other we could go to cuddle groups together – I don’t think it’s something he would talk to his cop buddies about but he is an open minded guy.

“He’s more protective than jealous so as long as I am safe he is happy.

Therapeutic: She claims cuddle sessions are the best form of therapy

“He’s more protective than jealous so as long as I am safe he is happy.

“I really look forward to it because I love affection and I love how it makes my body feel – I get excited because it’s my treat.

“If I didn’t have these cuddle sessions I would go through my life with no touch and that would be really lonely.

“It’s great because I don’t have to battle in the bar scene for attention and I don’t have to feel awkwardness with a girlfriend – it’s all about me because I pay for it.”

Amazingly Arthur has no problem with his wife of 20 years using the service and would even consider it himself.

He added: "We have a monogamous relationship but I don't feel the cuddle service violates that.

"When she first told me about it I knew it was something that she needs so I didn't feel jealous.

"When we are together - which is only around two weekends a month - we cuddle all of the time, it's just what she needs.

"I don't think it's a strange thing to pay for and I would potentially consider it myself with a female cuddler.

"I haven't told my colleagues in the police force about it but I'm sure they would be very supportive."

Busy life: Along with being a masseuse and an aspiring actress, Saskia also has a gruelling fitness regime
Love of touch: Ian feels the cuddle work he does is extremely important for people's wellbeing

The cuddling business is growing rapidly in New York and cuddlist.com employs more than 40 professional cuddlers to deal with more than 200 requests a week for the service.

CEO Adam Lipin, 52 said: “The sessions last for around two hours and cost $80 per hour.

“We are expanding our cuddlers by around three a week so this is definitely a viable business model.

“We have all kinds of clients; men, women, old people, young people - they come for the personal touch and human interaction. That’s what I value about it.”

Big business: Adam receives more than 200 requests a week for the service

But there are risks that naturally come from close human contact and professional cuddlers are equipped with the skills to deal with them.

Ian Carmen has been a cuddler for three months, he said: "When you hold someone or touch someone there can be something sexual about it.

“But there are ways of dealing with it and it requires a maturity and a sense of shared values – we know why we are here and it’s not because of that.

“Sometimes when I’m with someone there’s a sexual moment but you learn to deal with and acknowledge it but you don’t encourage it and it eventually passes.”

Big plans: The company are looking to expand across the USA

The company is looking to expand across the USA and Saskia can definitely vouch for the benefits of a professional cuddle service.

“Cuddling is the best form of therapy out there but what’s so great about it is that you don’t have to dive into any of your problems at all,” added Saskia.

“I think it’s preventative therapy.

“It’s a hard feeling to describe, you feel your body unwinding and you just let go of any tension – it just feels really safe and you can just feel yours and your cuddlers breathing.

“I would recommend every single person try cuddling because it makes you feel human.