WHEELCHAIR-SEX

Strange ideas pop into my head sometimes.

Like … should I jump off this cliff and break my legs?

Wait.

I’m not crazy.

There’s a reason I might consider leaping.

It’s all about the Sex Surrogates.

A long while back, a co-worker stunned me when she said that some countries’ governments pay for regular sexual services for the handicapped.

How could I not jump into this fruitful fornication fray and not find a few thoughts bubbling to the surface?

Paid Sex Surrogates enter households like Home Care workers and housecleaners, but the pipes they’ve come to clean are … well … not the ones we usually consider when it comes to household sponging and scrubbing.

Yup … these workers fall under the category of:

  • Disabled Boinking…
  • Incapacitated Copulation…
  • Invalid Intercourse.

You can call it what you will, but I’m curious to know if government-sponsored lovemaking has precipitated a rash of self-inflicted auto crashes and bungee-less jumping?

My first internal response is to be a typical hormonally-driven male looking for the fun and humour when envisioning these scenarios.

Also, my immediate view is that the storyline would always involve a gorgeous able-bodied woman servicing a less-ably-bodied man.

Such an assumption!

Do women who live in a world of incapacities not also feel a desire for sexual touching? Shamefully, I wouldn’t have considered the notion, but that’s just my in-bred societal thinking rearing its ugly head.

…………….

The Sessions is a 2012 American independent drama film written and directed by Ben Lewin. Based on the article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate” by Mark O’Brien, a poet paralyzed from the neck down due to polio who hires a sex surrogate to lose his virginity. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt star as O’Brien and sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene, respectively.

The film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic) and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. The Sessions received highly positive reviews from critics, in particular lauding the performances of Hawkes and Hunt. Hunt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 85th Academy Awards.

the sessions

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I haven’t seen the movie yet but I should because I need to gain a better understanding of the sexual needs, desires and frustrations of the handicapped.

One of the greatest wisdoms we can acquire, according to this Man on the Fringe, is that discarding ignorance is always useful in making the world a better and more peaceful place.

It shouldn’t surprise us that many people who are disabled continue to have a healthy sex drive. But I can’t imagine how exasperating it must be to be unable to explore and enjoy that side of life.

Sadly, many are unable to find a partner due to their disability, which leads to very high levels of frustration; in some cases, to such a degree that people have chosen to take their own lives instead of living such a life of torment.

Now, some countries such as Switzerland, have set up programmes to train people to be sexual surrogates.

This shouldn’t be confused with the business of prostitution because it is designed to provide those with special needs access to someone professionally trained to provide a supportive activity that most of us take for granted (or not!).

It’s different too because many people with disabilities have no choice, it’s either a sexual surrogate or nothing.

Some can’t even masturbate because they’re not able to carry it out. Some disabilities prevent people from engaging in sex of any type. For these people, a sexual assistant can offer little more than massage and talk therapy.

Grenoble, France. On the balcony of her flat on a hot afternoon. Laetitia Rebord suffers from a genetic spinal muscular atrophy and can move only her left thumb and her mouth. She lives in Grenoble, June 18th, 2013. France Keyser for the New York times.                              NYTCREDIT: France keyser for The New York Times

It’s a fascinating occupation, don’t you think? I’m kind of curious. Just who might decide to become a Sex Surrogate?

It’s a bit dated, but a 1983 study of 54 American Sex Surrogates came up with the following data on those who choose to become Sex Surrogates:

The demographics were as follows:

  • 43 female, 11 males.
  • Average age: 39 (ranging from 25 to 61)
  • Religion: 8 Catholic; 6 Jewish; 16 Protestant; 17 other; 7 blank.
  • Religiosity: 14 are currently practicing their religion; 25 are currently not practicing it; 15 didn’t answer.
  • Race: 53 White; 1 Oriental.
  • Marital status: 11 single; 13 married; 2 separated; 14 divorced; 1 widowed; 9 non-married couple living together; 4 other.
  • Average number of children: 1.4 (ranging from 0 to 4; mode = 0 ).
  • Years practicing as a surrogate: average: 4.26 years.
  • Approximate number of clients seen per year: average: 27.2.
  • Sexual orientation: 17 exclusively heterosexual; 23 primarily heterosexual; 8 bisexual; 3 primarily homosexual; 2 exclusively homosexual; 1 blank.
  • Contraceptive normally used: 8 condom; 4 pills; 2 i.u.d.; 10 diaphragm; 3 foams or suppositories; 31 self-sterilized: 2 partner sterilized; 2 rhythm or natural family planning 

As far as on the job happenings go… the following percentages were estimated to be the amount of time spent on each activity:

  • 16% talking with client, giving sexual information 
  • 17% talking with client, giving reassurance and support 
  • 1% observing client in social situations, such as potential singles meeting places 
  • 32% touching activities, teaching sensuality and body awareness techniques, e.g. massage 
  • 16% experiential activities, non-sensual, non-sexual, such as body image exercises, sexological exam, and relaxation exercises and techniques 
  • 12% sexual activities, intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, teaching sexual techniques.
  • 4% social activities, such as going out to dinner with client as part of therapy

Not very much “sex” actually.

Sex Surrogates pose a tough ethical question that should be considered since the need for sex is so basic.

  • Should governments allow for “prostitution” under certain circumstances, such as disability?
  • Should a severely autistic person have the right and ability to seek out and pay for sex without fear of breaking the law?
  • Some disabled persons would be unable to have any sexual pleasure at all unless they pay for it. Is it a crime to pay for sex when that is the only way the person can experience sexual pleasure?
  • Should governments support training programmes for Sex Surrogacy?

So, I’m left in this quagmire of snicker-snicker … sigh, weep.

But finally … in the end … after I stop my foolish boy-snickering … shouldn’t everyone, everyone … have a right to feel the completeness of a whole human being … to experience the fullness of sexual encounters … the joys and release … the touch of another’s skin against their’s.

For me, it just makes a lot more sense than 50 Shades of Grey.

sad_happy_foot

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