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A sex surrogate is a member of a sex therapy team who engages in intimate physical or sexual relations with a patient in order to achieve a therapeutic goal. The practice was introduced by Masters and Johnson with their work on Human Sexual Inadequacy in 1970.
Most surrogates are women, a few are men, and there are married couples that practice surrogacy together. Some surrogates work at counseling centers while others have their own office. Some surrogates offer additional services besides surrogacy such as telephone counseling or sexological bodywork.
The majority of surrogates have professional certification in the fields of sexuality, psychology or counseling. This allows them to work closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists and other therapists in the best interests of the patient.
Sex surrogates use a combination of three techniques — talking, listening and demonstration — to help resolve a patient's sexual problems.
Patients frequently present these specific problems:
- Trouble with intimacy
- Lack of confidence
- Communication problems
- Dating anxiety
- Sexual inhibitions.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature ejaculation
- Diseases that cause painful intercourse.
There are people who have experienced a change in sexual lifestyle due to an acquired disability (accident, paralysis, disease, trauma), and a surrogate can help them explore and develop sexual potential. The causes of sexual dysfunction are numerous and the methods a surrogate might use to help improve sexual function are varied.
Since many sexual problems are psychological rather than physical, communication plays a key role in the therapeutic process between a patient and the sex surrogate, as well as between the surrogate and the therapist.
Surrogates offer therapeutic exercises to help the patient. These may include relaxation techniques, intimate communication, teaching social skills, and some sexual touching.
- IPSA — International Professional Surrogates Association
- Sex Surrogates: A Clarification of Their Functions Raymond J. Noonan, Ph.D, SexQuest/The Sex Institute, NYC. Master's thesis for New York University, February 1984.
- On Seeing a Sex Surrogate Mark O'Brien, The Sun, 1990. Experiences of a disabled patient of a sex surrogate.
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