Sexual surrogate

Sexual surrogates, sometimes called surrogate partners, are hired by individuals experiencing sexual dysfunction to provide direct sexual activity, with the goal of improving the quality of the client's future sexual experiences.[1][2]


Masters and Johnson introduced the practice in their book Human Sexual Inadequacy, published in 1970. They believed that people could only learn about sexual intimacy by experiencing it. They promoted a model where the surrogate worked under the direction of a trained therapist and acted as a form of mentor for the client. In their research, all of the surrogates were women who were assigned to work with single men. Today, most surrogates are women, but a few are men.[1]


Sometimes called surrogate partner therapy (SPT) or facilitated sex, sexual surrogacy is a controversial practice[3] that raises ethical and safety concerns and is illegal in many jurisdictions.[1][3][4]

Training and certifications are available, but anyone can call themselves a surrogate without credentials.[5][6] The International Professional Surrogates Association, founded in 1971, establishes professional and ethical standards for its members and advertises itself as a resource for traditional therapists looking for potential surrogates for their clients.[7]

Typical problems

Patients frequently present with these specific problems:

  • Trouble with intimacy
  • Lack of confidence
  • Communication problems
  • Dating anxiety
  • Sexual inhibitions

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.


Some couples attend sexual surrogacy sessions together, while some people (either single or in a couple) attend them alone.[8] The surrogate engages in education and often intimate physical contact and/or sexual activity with clients to achieve a therapeutic goal.[8] Some surrogates work at counseling centers, while others have their own offices.[9]

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.[6] Sex surrogate and tantra sex educator Mare Simone says that physical intimacy is a rare occurrence between her and her patients, and she will not engage in intercourse with those in committed relationships.[10]


The 2003 article "I was a middle-aged virgin", by Michael Castleman, discusses a middle-aged American virgin (Roger Andrews) and his therapy with the sex surrogate Vena Blanchard.[11]


In popular culture



  1. 1 2 3 Freckelton, Ian (2013), "Sexual Surrogate Partner Therapy: Legal and Ethical Issues", Psychiatry, Psychology & Law, 20 (5): 643, doi:10.1080/13218719.2013.831725
  2. De Boer, Tracy (2015), "Disability and Sexual Inclusion", Hypatia, 30 (1): 66, doi:10.1111/hypa.12118, ISSN 0887-5367
  3. 1 2 Rosenbaum; et al. (2014), "Surrogate Partner Therapy: Ethical Considerations in Sexual Medicine", Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11 (2): 321, doi:10.1111/jsm.12402, PMID 24261932
  4. Kelly, Glenn; Simpson, Grahame (2011), "Remediating Serious Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in a Male with Severe Acquired Brain Injury", Sexuality & Disability, 29 (4): 313–327, doi:10.1007/s11195-011-9213-9
  5. "Sex surrogates: an alternative type of therapy". Retrieved 2014-03-03. External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. 1 2 International Professional Surrogates Association. "Surrogate Partner Therapy". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  7. Muller, Robert (2013-05-27). "Sexual Surrogates Help Many Who Suffer Alone". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  8. 1 2 "Better-Sex Secrets from a Sex Surrogate | Women's Health Magazine". 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  9. "Certified Sex Surrogate Partners". Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  10. Burford, Michelle (September 2009). "Is a Sex Surrogate Right for You?". AOL Health. Archived from the original on February 12, 2010.
  12. "Taboo: Forbidden Love". National Geographic Channel.
  14. List of Anger Management episodes

External links

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