“Sex therapy is the treatment of sexual dysfunction” and a sex surrogate “is a professional substitute trained to help the patient overcome [sexual] inhibitions.”1
Sex surrogates may be physically intimate with their patients and can even have intercourse with a patient under a sex therapist’s care. The sex therapist and sex surrogate may work together to treat the handicapped, both physically and mentally, those who have PTSD, including veterans and sexual abuse survivors, and those who have anxiety and other issues about sex.
The International Professional Surrogates Association trains and certifies surrogate partners in Surrogate Partner Therapy “based on the successful methods of Masters and Johnson,” according to their website, which also notes that the “legal status of surrogate partners is undefined in most of the United States and most countries around the world. This means that there are generally no laws regulating the profession.”2 Other terms include medically assisted sex and partner surrogates.
The sourced articles below should provide more information on people who have sex for therapeutic healing.
Footnotes: 1. medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com, accessed 5/21/2018; 2. IPSA International Professional Surrogates Association, “Legal Status – Legal and Ethical,” surrogatetherapy.org, accessed 5/21/2018
- What Is Surrogate Partner Therapy?
“IPSA’s Surrogate Partner Therapy is based on the successful methods of Masters and Johnson. In this therapy, a client, a therapist and a surrogate partner form a three-person therapeutic team. The surrogate participates with the client in structured and unstructured experiences that are designed to build client self-awareness and skills in the areas of physical and emotional intimacy. These therapeutic experiences include partner work in relaxation, effective communication, sensual and sexual touching, and social skills training.”
Online Resource, surrogatetherapy.org, accessed on 5/21/2018
- “Sex Surrogates” Sleep With Their Clients To Help Their Sex Lives…And No, It’s Not Prostitution
“Sex surrogates work closely with sex therapists to help clients overcome sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or sex trauma through actual physical intimacy — that means sex — with people who are suffering in their sex lives.”
Marianne Garvey, bravotv.com, 2/20/2018
- The Disabled Sexual Surrogate
“… In a disability context first arising in California many years ago as part of the Independent Living Movement, this type of therapy is now more commonly referred to as ‘partner surrogacy’ to remove the exclusive connotation of sex. Surrogacy is not exclusively about genital stimulation. It is about helping individuals discover their inherent erotic natures and acquire the tools they need to manifest their erotic natures with themselves and their partners.”
Lawrence Shapiro, Journal Reproductive Health Matters, Taylor & Francis Ltd, tandfonline.com, 5/23/2017
- Sex Surrogates Helping Patients Treat Anxiety, PTSD And Erectile Dysfunction Through Sexual Intimacy
“It’s called sex surrogacy, which is a controversial form of sex therapy. It entails pairing up patients with trained sexual partners and is used to help people with problems including physical disabilities, anxiety, autism, schizophrenia, PTSD, vaginal spasms and erectile dysfunction. Practically all of them are nervous about intimacy.”
Rachel Hosie, independent.co.uk, 5/17/2017
- What It’s Like To Pay Someone To Have Sex With You For Therapy
“What is Surrogate Partner Therapy, you ask? … Surrogate Partner Therapy can help with painful intercourse for women, body image, and learning to become comfortable with your sexuality, body, and helps deal with specialties such as disabilities etc., but in my experience and observation, surrogate partner therapy is so much more than just sex therapy. … Consider the man who suffers from erectile dysfunction or premature/rapid ejaculation.”
Moushumi Ghose, yourtango.com, 4/24/2017
- How Sexual Surrogates Are Helping Transgender Clients
“The sexual surrogacy model was first introduced in Human Sexual Inadequacy, a text penned by the famed sex research duo William Masters and Virginia Johnson back in 1970. The therapist helps the patient unearth issues impacting their sexual performance, while the surrogate relies on a more intimate approach to help them hammer it out. … ‘You don’t go through 20 or 30 years of being uncomfortable with your body and then, through hormones and surgery, be able to experience your body in all its richness. It just doesn’t work quite that way,’ she [Laura A. Jacobs] said. ‘It can take a while to reconnect with your body and really experience yourself as a sexual being.’ Surrogates, she explained, can help in that process.”
Carrie Weisman, vice.com, 4/7/2017
- Q & A: Just What Is A Sex Surrogate’s Job Description?
“Question: Do some sexual surrogates have intercourse with their clients? Yes, some do. It depends on what the sex therapist, client, and surrogate have discussed and agreed on. A surrogate partner is not a prostitute. Also, a surrogate partner is not at a client’s beck and call, willing to do anything or everything a client wishes for. … The legal status of surrogate partner work is unclear in many states and not all sex therapists (even in states where it’s explicitly legal) work with surrogates, but some do.”
Debby Herbenick, kinseyconfidential.org, 6/24/2016
- Body Talk: Sexual Surrogates’ Healing Touch
“‘Surrogate Partner Therapy,’ or SPT, is perhaps the most radical form of somatic therapy focused on intimacy and sexual expression. Surrogate partners engage in ‘two-way touch,’ receiving as well as giving. They provide a truly unique space: an opportunity to explore intimacy without the additional concerns that arise in romantic partnerships.”
Elizabeth Costello, sfweekly.com, 3/30/2016
- Sexual Surrogates Help Many Who Suffer Alone
“Sexual surrogacy clients, consist mostly of men, although some are women. They generally do not find sex enjoyable and their anxiety over sexual performance is often crippling. They may feel isolated and stuck in a perpetual cycle of sexual failures. Lack of confidence results in shortened romantic endeavours and the prospect of loneliness, with the sexual surrogate providing their last hope.”
Robert T Muller, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 5/27/2013
- Sex Surrogates Seem Like Prostitutes But Are Helping Hands
“Sex surrogacy emerged in the 1970s and flourished for more than a decade before the HIV/AIDS epidemic put a focus on safe sex practices, according to Barbara Keesling, who for 12 years worked as a sex surrogate and is now a professor at California State University at Fullerton. … The surrogates are credentialed and trained by the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA) and can be either male or female.”
Susan Donaldson James, abcnews.go.com, 8/2/2011