home
RSS
Surrogates can be sexual healers
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star as a surrogate partner and her client in "The Surrogate."
February 17th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Surrogates can be sexual healers

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

A provocative movie premiered recently at  the Sundance Film Festival that caught the attention of audiences and critics as well as sexuality professionals such as myself.

The Surrogate” chronicles the true story of a relationship between a surrogate partner (played by Helen Hunt) and her client (John Hawkes), a poet who is stricken with polio and seeks to lose his virginity before he dies.

When we hear the term “surrogate,” most of us probably think of a surrogate mother, who carries and delivers a baby for another couple or person who cannot. Yet surrogate partners (sometimes called sexual surrogates) have been around for years, providing a potentially valuable, though oft-debated, service to clients who wish to increase their sexual, physical and emotional experiences.

Surrogate partners gained attention in the 1960s when William Masters and Virginia Johnson (also known as Masters and Johnson) began training surrogates at their research institute.

These days, surrogate partners are typically trained by the International Professional Surrogates Association in Los Angeles, the main surrogacy organization. Clients are referred to surrogate partners by their therapists or other mental health professionals.

So just who sees a surrogate partner? The short answer is: anyone who wants to improve his or her sexual intimacy skills or, more likely, overcome a daunting sexual problem.

Surrogates, who can be male or female, see a wide variety of clients. Some people may use a surrogate partner because they are sexually inexperienced and want to gain skills before sleeping with a romantic partner.

A man may seek a female surrogate to help him deal with issues such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. Likewise, a woman might seek a male surrogate for assistance working through issues such as painful sex or difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner.

Surrogates also work with people coping with the infirmities of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, quadriplegia and other physically challenging conditions - as was the case with the real-life woman upon whom “The Surrogate” is based.

Watch: A look into the work of a sex surrogate

But surrogate partners don’t just have sex with their clients. In fact, some never engage in intercourse at all, instead focusing on other intimate activities including kissing, touching, cuddling and answering the client’s questions about sex.

The goal is to provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for clients to explore sexual issues without judgment or fear, and with a professional who is able to go beyond talk therapy and into the hands-on realm of intimacy-interaction.

And like a therapist/patient relationship, the question of whether a surrogate partner is sexually attractive to the client is not part of the equation.

Many sex therapists would prefer that their clients work through their sexual issues themselves - using their romantic partners as they would a surrogate partner, if you will.

“I always tell my patients that I cannot really know how a person works to say whether they are physically healthy or psychologically appropriate and sensitive to a person's needs," says sex therapist Madeleine Castellanos, author of the "Good in Bed Guide to Male Sexual Issues."

"Because of this (and the legalities of surrogacy in New York and other states) I do not recommend or encourage my patients to do this. I always prefer that individuals work out their issues with their partner.”

One of the main issues with sexual surrogacy is that it remains highly unregulated. The International Professional Surrogates Association does have its own code of ethics, but that only matters if a surrogate partner is trained by and aligns him or herself with this organization. Better regulation could add more legitimacy to what is already an important, but often misunderstood, profession.

You're probably asking - how is this different from prostitution? A professional, empathetic surrogate partner is light-years away from a prostitute (the services of which, in addition to being illegal outside of Nevada, often amplify rather than mitigate a sexual issue). But while sexual surrogacy is not prostitution, the legality is somewhat fuzzy, and therefore polarizing in clinical and medical circles.

Sexual surrogacy is not a contract for sex. On its website, the International Professional Surrogates Association addresses the issue of legality thus: “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.”

Even if a person is interested in retaining the services of a surrogate partner, finding a surrogate may not be easy. While the profession hit the ground running during the sexual revolution of the 1970s, today locating a surrogate partner is nothing like locating, say, a dentist, or even a sex therapist. At its peak, the association had 200 to 300 members in the United States but now has about 50.

Even if you do reside in a community with access to a surrogate (or can travel to meet one), you may face challenges: Many traditional therapists aren’t comfortable discussing sexual issues with their clients in the first place, and may be further reluctant to recommend a surrogate.

Perhaps with the release of the movie, more people will become aware of the value these partners provide and the potential role they can play as sexual healers.

Post by:
Filed under: Relationships • Sex

soundoff (715 Responses)
  1. Local Marketing Business

    This page truly has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    http://investthebest.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.getmoneysocial.com

    June 3, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Social Media Marketing Experts

    Iím amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this during my search for something regarding this.

    http://www.zdorov.online/goto.php?l=https://hiddenapples.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rv service and repair near me

    https://posts.google.com/url?q=http://youtube.com/watch?v=RC7hsawrG14

    June 3, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rv repair services

    http://fcviktoria.cz/media_show.asp?id=2924&id_clanek=2467&media=0&type=1&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tephm06zGug

    June 3, 2021 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. store xnxx

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I will send this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.etis.ford.com/externalURL.do?url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVlys-37IW0

    June 3, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me

    Hello, I do believe your web site could be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent website!

    http://www.fkteplice.cz/media_show.asp?type=2&url_back=http://youtube.com/watch?v=0eb9oP6XDs0/

    June 3, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv frame repair

    http://www.1919gogo.com/afindex.php?sbs=18046-1-125&page=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 4, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sprinter Door Rust Repair

    http://members.ascrs.org/sso/logout.aspx?returnurl=http://ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-el-segundo-california

    June 4, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. wells fargo atm near me

    http://redrice-co.com/page/jump.php?url=https://wholesalenearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Repair Cost On Mercedes Sprinter Van

    I was very happy to uncover this website. I need to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new things in your site.

    http://rob.venuesphilippines.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sprinter Service Repair

    http://www.mahalodrinks.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.sprinterrepairnearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. box truck repairs

    Excellent post. I certainly appreciate this site. Keep writing!

    http://ww1.screenwritersarena.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.mobi

    June 4, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. orange coast trailer supply

    Great info. Lucky me I came across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!

    http://e.nm.com/nw40/c2.php?NWPR/25216049/72909/H/N/V/http://ocrv.world/rv-repair-shop-sherman-oaks-california

    June 4, 2021 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ross near me

    http://www.sailing88.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=reviewnearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Repair Conversion Van Blinds

    http://community.moove.com/cs/as.dll?_ecredir&_du=https://fleetservicesocrv.com

    June 4, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Dodge Sprinter Repair Service

    http://kzsoft.to/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1187&url=sprintervanrepair.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Best Diesel Sprinter Repair Service

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe this site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the info!

    https://www.bing.com/news/apiclick.aspx?ref=FexRss&aid=&url=https://www.ocrv.biz/&cc=gr

    June 4, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Carletta Risse

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 5, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 2003 Dodge Sprinter Repair

    http://fyb.homir.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepair.com

    June 5, 2021 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 2006 Mercades Sprinter 2500 Turbo Actuator Repair

    https://advtest.exibart.com/adv/adv.php?id_banner=7201&link=http://ocrvluxurycoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-carlsbad-california

    June 5, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. fast food open near me

    http://www.aarss.com/redir.php?siteref=&aarsslink=http://http://nearmyspot.com/product-category/cuban-cigars/cohiba/

    June 5, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Repair Sprinter Freightliner

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!

    http://carbi-tech.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=customcampervans.com

    June 5, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. woodland hills body shop

    http://travet.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.info/

    June 5, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair

    Very good post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..

    http://www.eautorepair.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairnearme.com/

    June 6, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. paint shops near me

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely believed you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

    http://digital.fijitimes.com/api/gateway.aspx?f=https://ocrv.life/rv-repair-shop-aliso-viejo-california

    June 6, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. work from home jobs near me

    Very good article! We will be linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the good writing.

    http://www.magazinemedia.eu/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://www.bestshopnearme.com

    June 6, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Repair Sprinter

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

    http://www.samosa.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetautorepairshop.com/

    June 6, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. sbobet

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, as well as the
    content!

    June 7, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. QlsenEEKRPjBy

    627979 743483Glad to be one of numerous visitors on this awing website : D. 511528

    June 7, 2021 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Dodge Sprinter Auto Repair

    https://go.20script.ir/index.php?url=https://ocrv.vip/rv-repair-shop-san-marcos-california

    June 7, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. orange county truck shop

    http://affiliate.joomla-monster.com/idevaffiliate.php?id=789&url=http://ocrvshop.com/rv-repair-shop-lakewood-california

    June 8, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Operations Management assignment help

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.

    I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite
    some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    Here is my web site: Operations Management assignment help

    June 8, 2021 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv slide out roof repair

    After looking at a number of the blog posts on your blog, I really appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and tell me what you think.

    https://www.chiefarchitect.com/go?resource=redirect&url=https://ocrv.info/rv-repair-near-me

    June 8, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. national interstate rv insurance

    You are so awesome! I do not think I've truly read through a single thing like that before. So nice to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    http://clubs.london.edu/click?r=http://my-mallorca-property.com/forum/viewtopic.php?lang=es&p=166247

    June 8, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Shades Riverside

    https://slack-redir.net/link?url=http://hootnholler.net/girls-girls-girls/

    June 8, 2021 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mercedes Sprinter Repair

    May I just say what a relief to discover somebody that genuinely understands what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people must read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

    https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/lalaport/iwata/redirect.html?url=https://theocrv.com/rv-shades-repair-near-me

    June 9, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Awning Riverside

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

    https://www.marcellusmatters.psu.edu/?URL=informacionparaservir.com.mx/2019/03/ayuntamiento-de-mugica-y-la-js07-establecen-alianza-por-la-salud/

    June 9, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv furniture outlet store near me

    Right here is the right blog for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    http://azlan.techdata.com/InTouch/GUIBnrT3/BnrTrackerPublic.aspx?CountryCode=18&BannerLangCulture=nl-nl&URL=http://ocrvshop.com/rv-repair-shop-yucca-valley-california

    June 9, 2021 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv repair center

    http://sherlock.scribblelive.com/r?u=hootnholler.net/open-season-for-2020/

    June 9, 2021 at 05:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Local Marketing Business

    http://wtk.db.com/777554543598768/optout?redirect=http://makemoneymommas.com/

    June 9, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Olevia Beaird

    Good article. I will be experiencing many of these issues as well..

    http://griffing69k7.blogdal.com/5943475/relevance-of-appointed-day-efficient-date-in-restructuring

    June 9, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Eldridge Cailler

    Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    https://www.bing.com/news/apiclick.aspx?ref=FexRss&aid=&url=https://elliotta85r4.blogstival.com/24046195/vinyl-signs-near-me-an-overview

    June 9, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Kala Miracle

    https://tieba.baidu.com/mo/q/checkurl?url=https://cruzk82y3.blogzet.com/the-fact-about-2018-maserati-ghibli-that-no-one-is-suggesting-15318969

    June 9, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Irene Moceri

    https://bitly.com/a/warning?hash=3nUs1YL&url=https://arthurt14y2.yomoblog.com/5884767/the-greatest-guide-to-repair-shop

    June 9, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Firms

    I like it when people come together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!

    http://www.bam.ssru.ac.th/setlanguage.php?setlang=eng&action=setlanguage&&url=http://spokanevalleywebdesign.com/

    June 9, 2021 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. superslot

    If some one needs to be updated with most recent technologies afterward he must be visit this
    web page and be up to date everyday.

    June 9, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Ezequiel Gambrell

    http://andren81r9.blogdigy.com/little-known-facts-about-smoke-shop-14792665

    June 9, 2021 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Zenaida Testolin

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return yet again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    June 10, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. rv repair shops

    I love it when people come together and share opinions. Great blog, continue the good work!

    https://www.raincoast.com/?URL=dallas9i8q1.activoblog.com/3491221/little-known-facts-about-rv-service-near-me

    June 10, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Eulah Lantagne

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 10, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.