In bed with the cuddle expert

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Just another day in the office for cuddle therapist Travis Sigley.

“I’ve been enveloped and swimming in love the last few years”

It’s early Saturday morning, and I’m quickly putting fresh sheets on my bed. The door bell rings before I can finish, and I run down the stairs to a incredibly punctual, smiling, and shirtless Travis Sigley, the cuddle therapy practitioner.

Sigley is a San Francisco-based, specializing in private appointments, group sessions, and workshops on non-sexual intimacy. I invited Sigley over to have a conversation about his line of work -- and to find out why this beautiful man is always shirtless. He greets me at my door with a big hug. His handsome face and sun-kissed body make it easy to imagine spending an hour in my bed wrapped in his loving arms.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Before we get started about life as a cuddle therapy practitioner, can you tell us why you don’t wear a shirt? Don’t you get cold?

Travis Sigley: I haven’t worn a shirt in five years. There are some social situations where I have to wear a shirt, like going on a plane. I would say, I live about 98 percent of my time without a shirt.

It started on a beautiful sunny day in Santa Cruz. I was headed to the beach to hang out with some friends, and I really didn’t see why I was putting on a shirt to travel there. So I didn’t put one on. The next day I asked myself, “Why are you putting on a shirt on yet another beautiful sunny day?” And since then, I really can’t seem to have an answer to putting on a shirt anymore. I’ve been enveloped and swimming in love the last few years.

In regards to getting cold, I’ve changed my relationship to weather. My body really embraces the change of season. I find myself eating more in the winter because my body knows it’s going to have to produce more heat. All in all, I have a pleasant experience feeling the change in weather. 

Shots from Sigley's snuggle scene

SFBG: How did you begin your journey as a cuddle therapy practitioner?

TS: My first professional cuddle client was in the back room of a strip club when I first moved to San Francisco. As a stripper, I found myself spending a lot of my time cuddling with my clients in that back room. It really dawned on me that people are really seeking love and touch more than a sexual experience. And I realized there was no place to really seek this form of non-sexual intimacy. So this inspired me to start an educational and practical forum. A space for people to have intimate experiences and touch. 

SFBG: Where does sex intersect with cuddle therapy -- if it does at all?

TS: I started cuddle therapy because I saw a discord between how people understood non-sexual affection and sex. This is a service to help people understand that difference and articulate what their needs are. I facilitate a space for my clients to explore and differentiate between their sexual desires and intimate non-sexual desires. I believe understanding the difference really allows you to live your life more fully..

SFBG: Do you cuddle both men and women?

TS: Yes, I absolutely cuddle both men and women. Every single human deserves love and affection. As long as you are willing to accept my boundaries of hygiene and sexuality I will happily cuddle you.

SFBG: Can you articulate further what your boundaries are around hygiene and sexuality?

TS: I’m referring to general hygiene maintenance. I cuddle lots of people. And in regards to sexuality, I think it’s really important that my clients understand the space we are cultivating is a non-sexually expressed space. I also want my clients to be open to moving whatever sexual energy may arise through conversation, and other ways of expression. 

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SFBG: How do you respond to clients who get aroused during one of your cuddle sessions?

TS: I understand that the body communicates things. It’s about acknowledging the sexual energy in the space, and realizing that you are in control of your sexual energy. Communication is always the best method to move sexual energy during my sessions. It is a great way to help my clients articulate how they can channel their sexual energy in a non-sexual context. 

Some of my clients love doing a meditation. And we meditate on moving the sexual energy up the body, and enlivening their entire body. So the sexual energy is not concentrated in one particular place. I find doing breath work with people also works. Feeling the sexual energy fill their bodies and moving the sexual energy through breath. Singing, humming, and toning are all other methods I’ve used to help move sexual energy.

I’ve even done dream work with one client. She requested we both doze off and move our work to the dream world and the world of the subconscious. That was actually one of the most powerful session of cuddle therapy I’ve ever done. It requires a lot of trust to leave your body and do work from the subconscious. It’s really powerful knowing that you are going on a healing path through the subconscious to change and facilitate positive growth in a person.

SFBG: How do you identify your gender today?

TS: I believe gender is really fluid, and I have a felt sense of both feminine and masculine energies. I am particularly feeling more in line with embodying a masculine energy. And let’s not forget gender is constructed. Being a male to me today means being respectful, mindful, conscious, attentive, and  explorative within the spectrum of masculinity. 

SFBG: What does being sex-positive mean for you?

TS: Well for me being sex-positive has more to do with one’s perspective on sexuality. One who is sex-positive has the expression of health and is open to the spectrum of sex and sexuality. A sex-positive being is mindful to their physical body interactions with others, and they are sensitive to the traumatic experiences of others. Being sex-positive means being educated about sex, being a good listener, and being comfortable with all facets of what sex can look like.

Catch Travis hosting group cuddle workshops at the OmShanTea tea temple, which will be setting up poles at these feel-good festivals across the region

Symbiosis 

May 17-21, $280-$320 three day camping pass; $40-$60 car pass; $35-$60 early entry

Pyramid Lake, Nevada

www.pyramideclipse.com

Lightning in a Bottle

May 24-28, one-day pass $85-$100; four-day pass $215-$240

Oak Canyon Ranch 

Silverado, CA

www.lightninginabottle.org

Movement Play

June 22-25, $260

Willits, CA

www.movementplay.com

Wanderlust 

July 26-29, $99 one-day; $155 two-day; $395 three-day; $475 four-day yoga-music passes; $20-$34.50 music-only day passes 

Squaw Valley, CA

squaw.wanderlustfestival.com