Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy modeled after psychotherapy, but is problem focused and not the same thing as surrogacy. In sex therapy, it is not unheard of that individuals come for treatment of some sexual difficulty, but at the same time don’t have a current partner. Since sex therapy is an attempt to improve sexual difficulties and dynamics between the couple, this creates significant limitations for these individuals. For some, it becomes a double-bind of not being able to get a partner without solving their sexual issue, but not being able to solve their sexual issue because they don’t have a partner. This is where sex surrogates can play a significant role in treatment. Recently, this has been featured in the movie “The Surrogate”, where a man with a long-standing disabling illness wants to lose his virginity but has no current partner.
Sex surrogates are people specifically trained to help others work on issues of sex and sexuality. Their activities can range from touching and holding exercises to different sexual activities with the goal of helping their clients work through any difficulties. Many people assume that it is just paying for a sexual partner, but there is so much more that goes into sex surrogacy. In fact, many surrogates never even have sexual intercourse with their clients, instead having therapeutic effect with just conversation, touching and holding, and emotional connection.
As you can imagine, sex surrogacy is not without controversy. Most states consider it tantamount to prostitution and therefore have not legalized the practice. The IPSA is currently the only place in the country where surrogates can be trained and certified. It is currently very difficult to regulate, and with the short period of time involved in training, it is difficult for mental health professionals to be assured that a surrogate is psychologically and emotional appropriate with a client. Also, it is up to the individual surrogate to be free of any communicable diseases.
Conceptually, the idea of a sex surrogates helps solve multiple problems – dealing with anxiety in the moment and the experience of a knowledgeable and encouraging partner who is not judgmental or gives destructive criticism. The real question is does this translate into better sex with a partner? Can the client transfer this behavior, feeling, and response to the experience of sex with their partner once the work with the surrogate is done? This will probably vary from person to person and their own level of anxiety and block. Although society and medicine is placing more and more importance on the individual’s sexual health and acknowledging how satisfying sex contributes to quality of life and even to increased life span, it seems like some time before we will have legalization, standardization, and regulation of sex surrogates. It will also require a great deal of open-mindedness from a great many people.
I’m a male of 50 years, and I am a lifelong virgin. Sadly, this was not a road of my own choosing. Although articulate, I was always a shy type, and was often socially preyed upon during my youth. Experiences from being bullied and humiliated would often make me too afraid to open up to people and say what was exactly on my mind. I attribute most of my shyness to my inability to emotionally handle rejection. Whenever efforts were made by friends or relatives to match me with someone, often the woman would react with reluctance. Even when I would meet someone and go out with her somewhere, she would eventually loose interest. If I see her more than once, hoping for that first romantic moment with her, I would eventually end up never hearing from her, again.
To this day, I have romantically (French) kissed only two women in my entire life. To this day, I never forgot how great it felt. I yearn for such a feeling that all my family and friends continuously know too well. Too many times, I would be too afraid to even ask a woman out because of a sense that the same pattern will repeat itself. Previous rejection would hit me so badly that I would look for a reason as to why she wouldn’t be interested in me. I would finally have the opportunities for sexual involvement in my early 30’s. However, I would become too nervous and couldn’t produce an erection. If I tried to force the issue, I would prematurely ejaculate. Naturally, erections were not a problem at a younger age.
In more recent years, I have had some serious medical issues that undoubtedly play a factor. I developed ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) and had to go on dialysis in 2001.
I would receive a kidney transplant in 2007. In late 2009, I would develop a viral lymphoma on my original kidney and would undergo two months of chemotherapy into early 2010. I thank God to say that the kidney still works great, and that I have been free of the lymphoma for three years, now. To add, later in 2010, I had to undergo brain surgery to have an aneurism removed. Thank God I survived that, as well. So, as you see, my body has undergone treatments and medications that also hinder sexual capability and performance. Fortunately, my physicians would be willing to prescribe me erectile aids if and when needed.
In reading you article, I felt a sense of hope that it may be a great alternative to help me to gain a greater sense of self confidence that I’ve never known at the romantic and intimate level. My biggest concerns, however, all have to do with cost for services. I would like to know how much fees are for sex surrogates, what type of insurance they take (if they do) and do they provide services for prospective clients who are students and/or on limited income from disability (SSDI).
For so many years, I was never able to open up about this part of my life simply because I felt too embarrassed and didn’t know exactly who to talk to. Your article and chance to respond made me feel that this as good a starting point as any.
Since I am not a surrogate nor work directly with any surrogates, I cannot advise you about the costs, etc. of these services. Depending on the condition that they are helping with, the effects may or may not translate into success with a partner. Deciding on a surrogate is a very personal decision that I cannot advise you on. Also, the legality of surrogate work varies from state to state and has not been tested in the courts in most states. Please consider that in most states, surrogates are not licensed nor regulated, therefore you are responsible for the risks involved with either physical or psychological health. The IPSA in California is perhaps the most professional organization working to train surrogates so that they are both competent and ethical.
Is like to talk with someone about a serious problem I’m having. About six years ago, I divorced my ex, and I’ve lost my desire for sex all together. Now I have someone in my life and we’re suppose to marry this year, and I haven’t been able to have sex with her. I had a series of health tests and found some problems with blood flow, but have taken care of the physical things, but no change. Would someone contact me when possible to assist me with this serious problem? Hope to hear from you soon.
It sounds like you need a sex therapist to speak with you and also coordinate with your urologist to clarify the issues.