Sex Therapist vs. Surrogate: BIG Difference

2014-01-28 20:28

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced as a sex therapist and seen a lascivious raise of an eyebrow as the person mistakes my profession for a sex surrogate. To set the record straight, a sex therapist is very different from a sex surrogate, who actually gets “hands-on” with people who have sexual problems. While some therapists advocate the services of a sex surrogate as a supplement to therapy, I personally believe that crossing the professional boundary is never a good idea.

In fact, many people feel that sex surrogacy is akin to prostitution. While I don’t always agree with that, I do think it’s best for every person to work out their sexual issues with a partner or alone, rather than with the physical touch of a person outside the relationship. Sex therapy — as opposed to sex surrogacy — guides a patient through his or her sexual obstacles, and forces him or her to conquer them with behavioural changes and new opportunities for genuine intimacy. There is quite a bit more involved than simple sexual technique.

Sex therapy focuses on intimacy essentials like communication, emotional support, confidence-boosting, relaxation techniques, and self-awareness training. A licensed, clinical sex therapist has generally gone through specialized academic training, as well as actual therapy experiences as part of her licensure requirements.

Like any type of therapy, sex therapy is only as good as the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. A significant part of being a good therapist is keeping your own issues in check. I think turning a professional relationship into a sexual relationship — no matter what the intention — crosses over into dangerous territory.

So, yes, there really are people who use both body and mind to help others with their sexual function issues. However, as you might imagine there are not many of them. The International Sexual Surrogates Association (IPSA) trains and refers surrogates, even offering a two-week intensive program. While illegal in some countries, IPSA is allowed to function in places like California and most definitely NOT in South Africa.

For couples, it is absolutely necessarily to confront sexual breakdowns without the presence of a third party in your bedroom. For singles, the goal is to put your energy into real, potential mates instead of a “surrogate.” There is also something to be said for spending time alone, getting to know your mind and body outside of sex with another person.

Helping people take the road toward relationship health and sexual wellness is what a trained sex therapist does through talking and educating only.

So, the next time you see me at a party, don’t give me that funny look. OK?

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