In many parts of the world, surrogate sex therapy is a controversial topic.
In Israel, however, that is not the case, and it’s widely available.
Thus, Israel is opening the curtains on surrogate sex therapy, and making it a government expense for soldiers who have been badly injured and in need of sexual rehabilitation.
Let’s meet Israeli sex therapist Ronit Aloni and her patient Mr A, as he wants to be known in the BBC article.
Mr A was an army reservist who had a devastating accident 30 years ago, leaving him paralysed from the waist down and unable to have sex the way he always knew how.
Mr A became the first soldier to gets his weekly sessions paid for by the state, as well as other parts of his rehabilitation.
The cost of a three-month treatment programme is not cheap, costing Israel’s Ministry of Defence $5 400 (around R76 000).
Dr Aloni and a surrogate have been working with him to help him reach his goals:
“When I was injured I made a list ‘To Do,'” Mr A says.
“I have to [be able to] do a shower by myself, I have to eat, dress by myself, to drive by myself and have sex independently.”
Aloni has worked with many different patients that have trouble creating intimacy with partners, from those who were sexually abused to those with mental and physical health conditions.
But her speciality is with disabled clients:
“People need to feel they can pleasure somebody else and that they can get pleasure from somebody else,” says Aloni, who has a doctorate in sexual rehabilitation.
To aid her cause, she hires surrogate partners to help teach some of her clients how to have intimate relationships, and ultimately, how to have sex.
“Sex therapy is, in many ways, couple therapy and if somebody doesn’t have a partner then you cannot complete the process,” she goes on. “The surrogate – she or he – they’re there to model the partner role in a couple.”
She has gained massive respect in her country since starting in the 1980s, winning the approval of leading rabbis, and over time the Israeli authorities, too.
I mean, they’re even paying her now.
Both Aloni and Mr A argue that critics likening this situation to prostitution are limited by Western biases and conservatism:
“People are coming for therapy. They’re not coming for pleasure. There is nothing similar to prostitution,” she adds firmly.
“Also, 85% of the sessions are [about] intimacy, touching, giving and receiving, communicating – it’s about learning to be a person and how you relate to other people. By the time you have a sexual relationship, that’s the end of the process.”
Here’s more of what she says about modern society’s unhealthy relationship with sexuality:
“We know how to joke about sexuality. We know how to humiliate people, we know to be very conservative or too extreme about sexuality,” she says.
“It’s never really balanced. It’s never weaved into our life in the way it’s supposed to be, and sexuality – it’s life. This is how we bring life. It’s nature!”
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