At the Love Lounge we often have emails from support staff and carers who work with disabled people about sex workers. Emails like this…
We have a resident who is 28 years old and is severely physically disabled, he doesn’t have a learning impairment. He really wants a loving relationship but has a lot of anxieties around sex and intimacy. He is unsure of whether he can physically engage in ‘traditional sex’ and is unable to masturbate himself. His anxieties over this have led to him being very depressed and reluctant to date or develop a relationship with someone. He has had counselling, however said he still doesn’t know about how his body will work or not during sex. He has decided he wants to employ the services of a sex worker to explore what he can and cannot do sexually. Can you please point us in the right direction of where we can find a sex worker who is experienced with working with disabled people?
Let’s look further…
Now let’s call the above person Chris. It may be that a sex worker would meet Chris’s needs and would be the best course of action. But sometimes, a person may ask for a sex worker because they are not aware of the other options available to them. We know that Chris has been feeling very anxious about sex which has had a really negative impact on him affecting his mental health. What happens if Chris doesn’t have a positive first sexual experience (through no fault of the sex worker)? This could leave Chris with inaccurate beliefs about what he can do sexually and also add to his emotional distress.
In this case, it may be useful for Chris to see a sex surrogate, who is working in partnership with a sex therapist. Sex surrogates spend time building an emotional connection with someone to help them become more comfortable. They talk about fears and take a step-by-step approach to intimacy with the focus very much on supporting the client to overcome any issues and difficulties. Sex therapists and surrogates will be able to support Chris’s emotional needs and help him through what can be a difficult process.
It’s not about making the decision for Chris, but as the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. When someone asks for a sex worker it is really important to have an honest and frank conversation. It’s worth giving all the information about different options and people who can support with sex and intimacy, allowing them to make an informed decision.
You can join our UndressingDisability Hub for more information like this. Our Hub is a platform for the disabled community, where we have professionals sharing their knowledge on all things, sex, relationships, and disability.