We should respect those who help with sexual problems not condemn them.
I’VE known several sex surrogates and have admired them all, which is why I was so surprised recently to hear that a Melbourne sex therapist had called them glorified prostitutes and called for an end to the practice.
Surrogates are women or men who get paid to provide what crooner Marvin Gaye pined for — ‘‘sexual healing’’. The practice is sex therapy with a touch more, as advocated by sexuality pioneers Masters and Johnson in the 1960s. It’s used in conjunction with traditional therapies to provide help for erectile dysfunctions such as impotence and premature ejaculation, intimacy issues and marriage problems.
Sex surrogacy has a reported 95 per cent success rate in Australia, according to a study presented to the World Congress on Sexual Health in 2007.
Two male acquaintances have worked as surrogates. One was engaged in helping abused women to let go and release. Being involved in other forms of healing such as yoga, acupuncture and massage, he considered it a natural extension of his craft. He was in a happy, long-term relationship at the time.
The other man discreetly catered to the disabled female population. This started from a social encounter he had with a concerned mother whose 38-year- old daughter was living in an institution for the disabled. The mother explained her sadness for her child, who had normal physical needs. She offered to pay him to be an escort, taking her daughter out on a date.
The man did this, and later chose of his own accord to have sex with the woman. And the relationship continued successfully in this vein, to the benefit of all. Which inspired him to go on and develop a clientele.
A woman surrogate I knew worked in Manhattan and lived next door me. She was a qualified psychologist who’d had years of straight practice as a sex counsellor. ‘‘It just wasn’t enough for the clients,’’ she told me over coffee. ‘‘It’s like trying to teach someone to cook without going into the kitchen with them. Sex therapy can’t be theoretical.’’
I used to watch a wide variety of men and couples turn up at her door. After which she’d be off to all the normal psychology conventions and was admired for her work. She said she never got involved, never felt like a prostitute, just liked helping ‘‘in practical ways’’.
I do think surrogates need to have some basic training in therapy in order to better protect clients and give the industry the credibility it seeks. A governing body for surrogates would also be helpful, one that required members to have references from known sex therapists, counsellors or doctors.
But with some fine tuning, surrogacy as an industry deserves to be given much respect.
Full story The Australian
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