Anyone fancy a cuddle? There’s an app for that

Cartoon: Kate Mitchell

Have you ever suddenly fancied a cuddle, just a cuddle, nothing more? Then a recent app, named Cuddlr, may be perfect for you. As of September the 11th, those with access to iOS have been able to find strangers in the near vicinity who claim to have the exact same desire; for innocent physical touch.

Cuddlr works in a very similar way to past crazes such as tinder where the app links up to your Facebook profile and finds other users near to your current location. However, unlike tinder, the founder of Cuddlr, Charlie Williams, has no desire for the app to be used as a means of finding a quick romp in the sack.

Instead, Cuddlr’s purpose is to provide “spontaneous physical affection carrying no further expectation”. You simply pick a user you like the look of, send a cuddle request and wait for a response.

Since Britain was voted the second loneliest country in the world, with 34% of houses lived in by single occupants, there is arguably a market for an app that provides the opportunity for physical contact. For many, Cuddlr provides an escape from the disconnected nature of modern society, in which there is a lack of intimacy and closeness, by allowing them to meet strangers for the sole purpose of forming a temporary connection.

The importance of touch for human development and stress relief has become lost in a society where people spend more time in physical contact with their phones than each other. Thus, the presence of Cuddlr is arguably, although rather depressingly, necessary to keep those whose lives are lacking in physical intimacy emotionally content.

The innocent intentions of the app also provide a refreshing change from the hook-up society that has been fuelled by other apps such as Tinder. Today, any mention of physical contact is blackened by sexual innuendos and comments; it has become an expected consequence of physical touch that one thing WILL lead to another. Cuddlr allows for the common pressures associated with physical intimacy to be wiped away and for physical touch to become as simple as it should be; it’s just a cuddle after all.

However, the reality of these innocent aims for Cuddlr being respected by every user is questionable. There would never be a sure way of preventing the app being used to find a potential hook-up whatever the aims of the founders were. The release of the app also raises questions about safety and the dangers of meeting strangers with the intention of physical contact; would everyone stop at a cuddle?

Of course the app provides a service for reporting questionable Cuddlr users and you can also rate any awkward cuddles accordingly. However, neither of these aspects of the app provide a definite safety net for users and the usual dangers of meeting a stranger on your own will always be present.

There is no doubt that Cuddlr won’t be the kind of app that everyone will feel the need to download. It will certainly have a very niche market as the idea of meeting a stranger for a hug will inevitably be seen as odd by many, including myself.
But who am I to judge? As long as people use the app along with a bit of common sense, for example meeting in public rather than private, I doubt it will cause any harm. In fact, it might even provide a benefit to its users.

It is undeniable that modern society is, at times, extremely lonely and the opportunity to have cuddles on tap does seem quite appealing; after all, everyone needs a cuddle once in a while.

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