Savage Love: Is surrogate partner therapy legit?

Im in a pickle. All I want is to experience touch, intimacy and sexual pleasure but without freaking out..

Im in a pickle. All I want is to experience touch, intimacy and sexual pleasure but without freaking out. I grew up with a lot of negative messages from men due to developing early, as well as having some other physical/sexual trauma (no rape or abuse), but the combination has me seriously fucked up. Whenever I get close to physical intimacy with someone, I run away. I actually faked an emergency once and physically ran away because I knew sex was a possibility that night. Im not a virgin but in those instances, Ive been really drunk (and experienced no emotional/physical pleasure). This is not what I want for my life. I want a relationship and love, and to be open and comfortable with someone expressing their care for me in a physical way without panicked thoughts flooding my brain. Ive done lots of therapy, which has helped, but not enough. I recently heard of something called a sexual surrogate. From what I understand, its somebody who is trained to therapeutically provide physical touch and intimacy in a controlled and safe environment. Are they legit?

She Cant Adequately Release Extreme Dread

Sexual surrogates are legit, SCARED, but please dont call them sexual surrogates.

Wed like to see the language shift back to surrogate partner, which was the original term, said Vena Blanchard, president of the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA). Masters and Johnson originated the concept, and their treatment program was based on the theory that many people had problems that required the help of a cooperative partner, and some people didnt have partners. So they trained people to work as partner surrogates. The media took the term partner surrogate and changed it to sexual surrogate because it sounded sexier. But sexual surrogate implies that the work is all about sex.

So if surrogate partner therapy is not about sex or not all about sex then what is it primarily about?

Surrogate partner therapy is a therapeutic treatment that combines psychotherapy with experiential learning, said Blanchard. Its a program designed for people like SCARED, for people who struggle with anxiety, panic and past trauma things that can distort a persons experience in the moment.

Surrogate partner therapy happens in stages, with each progressive stage representing another teeny, tiny baby step, as Blanchard put it.

The client first works with a legitimate therapist until the therapist thinks the client is ready to work with a surrogate partner, said Blanchard. You may start by sitting in opposite chairs and just talking. At some point, they might sit and hold hands, practice relaxation techniques and focus on simple sensations. In the next session, they might touch each others faces with their hands.

Sex can and does sometimes occur in the later stages of surrogate partner therapy, SCARED, but it doesnt always and its not the goal healing is.

By having these repeated safe experiences, in a context where theres no pressure, and consent is emphasized, and the patient is in control, said Blanchard, someone liked SCARED can learn to manage her anxiety, and her prior negative experiences are replaced with positive new experiences.

While I had her on the phone, I asked Blanchard the first question many people have about surrogate partners: Are surrogate partners sex workers?

A sex worker offers a sexual experience that is the primary intention of what is a business transaction, said Blanchard. What a surrogate partner offers are healing and education. And while healing and education might also take place in a sex-work environment, and while some form of sexual contact might take place in surrogate partner therapy, the primary intention is different. A patient working with a surrogate partner is there to heal old injuries or break out of bad patterns so they can have a relationship in the future. People go to sex workers for an immediate experience the agenda is sexual and about right now, not therapeutic and about the future.

Then I asked Blanchard the second question many people have about surrogate partner therapy: Is it legal?

Theres no place that its illegal, said Blanchard. Theres never been a court case challenging it. In California, where surrogate partner therapy is most common, no one has ever in 50 years challenged it.

If youre interested in working with a surrogate partner, SCARED, you can contact the referrals coordinator at IPSAs website:

Finally, SCARED, the number of trained and qualified surrogate partners is relatively small IPSA has just 70 members so you might need to go where most of those trained and qualified surrogates partners are in order to work with one. (The part of California that isnt on fire is lovely this time of year.)

Since there arent many qualified surrogate partners available, said Blanchard, people sometimes need to travel to another location and work intensively. People will come for two weeks and work every single day with a therapist and a surrogate partner.

My partner and I have been together for 11 years and have always had a great sex life. I love his cock, we have similar appetites and, until recently, everything was great. But he has always had an aversion to blood. He is a pacifist, a vegetarian and a recovering Muslim, so as much as I dont understand his fear, I would never push him to have sex during my period. The problem is now I bleed whenever we have sex just a tiny bit, but thats enough to kill it for him, and the sex is immediately over. We already have enough constraints with differing schedules, kids, lack of privacy, periods. This is a big deal for me, and I dont know how to deal with it. Any ideas?

Afraid To Bleed

Turn off the lights, draw the curtains, have sex in the dark, get him a blindfold and insist he see a therapist who specializes in helping people overcome their irrational phobias.

Im a 35-year-old gay man and Ive been single for 10 years. Id kind of given up, but suddenly Ive got a real sweet guy in my life. Hes 24, so well see how the age thing works out. I used to be pretty adventurous with sex, but I feel extremely nervous now. I feel like a virgin all over again except Im not turned on. On our first date, we ended up in a public bathroom, where I gave him a handjob (his idea). Last night, we messed around at my place. We kissed and got naked, but I couldnt get hard. We watched porn. That always works, but not this time. Finally, he played with my nipples and presto chango there was a happy ending at last! (Plus, it was a learning experience. I found out I like having my nipples licked, a lot!) Im worried this will continue to happen. Its like Im thinking too much. I deal with anxiety and depression every day, and this is part of why Ive been single for so long. Im not feeling the urge to end the relationship yet, but Ive been a wreck since we started dating. Im attracted to this guy, but I cant get turned on. Is this like not having the urge to eat when youre nervous? Do I just need to wait it out until Im comfortable with this guy, and hope he sticks around long enough to stick it in me?

Lacking In My Pants

Youre attracted to this guy, LIMP, and youre turned on by him, and youre capable of getting hard. When he played with your tits when he licked your nipples it took the focus off your cock, and your cock instantly got hard. Do that more, LIMP: more dates with this guy, more rolling around with him, more exploring other erogenous zones. And itll help if you can tell him the truth: youre a little nervous because its been a while since you dated anyone. Once youre more comfortable with him once youre more comfortable seeing someone your boners will come.

On the Lovecast, better sex through mindfulness:

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