Sex surrogates, like the one Helen Hunt portrays in the movie The Sessions, claim they help shy men or men with issues overcome sexual problems in a kind of unique therapy that does eventually include intercourse. But don't call them hookers.
According to the New York Post, this is a very real job that involves caressing and intimacy and training that helps men who are 40-year-old virgins or have some other kind of sexual dysfunction or issue that keeps them from performing.
In the movie, Helen Hunt portrays a special kind of therapist who has sex with a man in an iron lung whose polio kept him from ever losing his virginity. The poignant movie sounds like an Oscar winner, but the concept of sexual surrogacy isn't fictional at all.
So what makes these women different than hookers? After all, they are being paid for sex, right? According to one surrogate, who spoke to the Post anonymously:
I usually begin sessions by working on eye contact and the way they hold their bodies. We use massage and touch therapy, so the client can learn to be in the moment, be comfortable with their bodies and become aware of the sensations. We take a mind-and-body approach and slowly remove anxiety out of the equation.
The fact is, it's a service that is probably helpful to many, but really, how is this different than prostitution? Many prostitutes ALSO make the argument that their work IS a kind of service work. And it is.
Sure, some men probably visit hookers just to get off, but others probably do so for more touching reasons (no pun intended). Maybe their wives don't want sex anymore and they have that need. Maybe their wives are sick and they don't want to deal with emotions with another woman. Maybe they feel shy about asking for their needs to be met sexually, so they can ask someone they pay.
The fact is, it's not all that different. And it's a service that is needed. I see nothing wrong with trained professionals having sex with men for money. If this were legal and seen as a service -- like massage or a manicure -- less women would engage in high risk behaviors and it might be more sanitary as a profession.
Why do these women want so badly to differentiate themselves from prostitutes? Both provide a useful service. But they are the same.
Do you think this is different than prostitution?
Image via Joelk75/Flickr