The best things in life aren’t always free.
“My name is Sarah.
I’m 25, extremely friendly, open minded, non judgmental, and consider myself an empath.
I am also an online/virtual girlfriend/listener/companion.
I talk to my clients after they’ve had a long day, compliment them, offer them unconditional love, joke around with them and have a good time, or just listen to their problems.”
“I do not claim to offer any ‘treatment’, just companionship,” explains the professional online girlfriend, who makes a pretty decent paycheck cashing in on the growing need for virtual intimacy.
“I usually charge $30 an hour for single session, $150 for a weeks worth of sessions, and $550 monthly fee for daily sessions or check-ins. It depends on the client and their needs. For some people I’ve talked with a long time, I give pay breaks.”
Virtual ‘sessions’ like Sarah’s can include everything from exchanging small talk to eating or drinking together and learning new skills together, like playing the guitar.
“I encourage them [my clients] to approach me with other ideas of what calms them, or what they need without judgement, and as long as I feel it is not directly hurting someone,” says Sarah.
If you find the presence of an actual demand for online companionship perplexing, you may be surprised to learn of similar services that are growing in response to a unique need for compartmentalized connection.
A self-professed ‘snuggle aficionado’, Kundala says her clients typically pay her upwards of $80 an hour for a professional cuddling session, which includes just what it suggests – a non-sexual embracing session.
“Clients tell me it is more refreshing than a massage and more exhilarating than sex, as it is encompassing a deep, profound energy exchange, enabling them to surrender and just be in the present moment,” says Kundala.
“Clients want the closeness and the intimacy that platonic cuddling brings. They feel that they can surrender into the nurturing without expectations or of any desire for sexual exchange. They may have had some issues relating to connection, warmth and hugs, and want to experience the tenderness that it brings.”
And experts predict services like those offered by Sarah and Kundala will continue to grow in popularity in line with technological advancements intensifying our need for convenient human connection. Studies suggest that despite our acutely interconnected lifestyles thanks to social media and smartphones, we’re experiencing feelings of loneliness more than ever before. And the impact of loneliness can have incredibly profound impacts on our physical and mental wellbeing, with research suggesting the phenomenon impacts our health in a greater way than smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese, which is why virtual girlfriend Sarah says her work is only intended as a way to bridge the gap to help people reengage socially, rather than providing a crutch for isolation and disconnection.
“I do not meet in person. I feel that may make it so clients never want to seek other companionship, which I do encourage. I try to make my services more short-term than long-term.”
Images via favim.com.
Comment: Would you ever use a virtual girlfriend, or professional cuddler?