What is a Sexual Surrogate? Surrogate Partner Therapy

Photo by Dainis Graveris from Pexels

There is so much confusion about Sexual Surrogates that I want to clarify some of the myths.  Some people think that Sex Therapists, Sexologists, and Sex Counselors are Surrogates, but they are not.  However, they can refer their patients to Sexual Surrogates if they believe that it will be therapeutically beneficial.  Then the surrogate works closely with therapist and patient in a “triangular” arrangement that focuses on specific goals.

What is Surrogate Partner Therapy?

“Surrogate Partner Therapy is a form of therapy based on the successful methods of Masters and Johnson. In this therapy, a client, a therapist, and a surrogate partner form a three-person therapeutic team who together work to understand and resolve difficulties that a client is experiencing in their lives. The surrogate participates with the client in structured and unstructured experiences that are designed to build client self-awareness and skills in the areas of physical and emotional intimacy. These therapeutic experiences include partner work in relaxation, effective communication, sensual and sexual touching, and social skills training. Each program is designed to increase the client’s knowledge, skills, and comfort.

As the days pass, clients find themselves becoming more relaxed, more open to feelings, and more comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy. The involvement of the team therapist, a licensed and/or certified professional with an advanced degree, is a cornerstone of this therapy process. Clients often experience apprehension as they begin therapy and when they begin to experience changes. The team therapist assists the client with these and other emotional issues. Sessions with the therapist are interwoven with the surrogate partner sessions in order to facilitate understanding and change. Open, honest, consistent communication between all team members is a fundamental ingredient of successful surrogate partner therapy.”–From: https://www.surrogatetherapy.org/what-is-surrogate-partner-therapy

Who Needs Surrogate Partner Therapy?

“The problems that motivate clients to seek Surrogate Partner Therapy range from general anxiety in social situations to specific sexual dysfunctions.

Concerns for any gender might result from one of the following:

  • Negative body image or physical disfigurement
  • Medical conditions
  • Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and/or trauma (rape or incest, for instance)
  • Intimacy issues
  • Phobias and anxieties
  • Unresolved relationship trauma
  • Confusion about sexual orientation
  • Lack of social or sexual self-confidence.

Sexual concerns may include:

  • Orgasmic inhibition
  • Genital or pelvic pain
  • Avoidance of physical and/or emotional intimacy
  • Lack of experience due to anxious avoidance.

Common sexual issues for male clients include:

  • Erection difficulties (ED)
  • Rapid ejaculation (PE)
  • Ejaculatory inhibition.

Female clients’ sexual issues might include:

  • Vaginismus (involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles resulting in painful penetration)
  • Vulvodynia
  • Limited or non-existent orgasms

Clients of any gender may seek therapy to address problems relating to:

  • Fear and avoidance of sexual and emotional intimacy
  • Lack of relationship experience
  • Shame or anxiety regarding sex
  • Low arousal or lack of sexual desire”

From: https://www.surrogatetherapy.org/what-is-surrogate-partner-therapy

There are two primary plans for this Sex Surrogate Therapy:

  1. Open-ended Therapy:

The patient sees the surrogate on average once a week, in one to two hour sessions, until the surrogate, therapist, and patient decides that the therapy is completed. An average length of surrogate partner therapy seems to cover thirty to fifty hours.

2. Intensive Therapy:

Structured to help patients who are from out of town, have a deadline such as an upcoming nuptial, or simply do not have a local therapist and surrogate team.  The patient sees their therapist and surrogate on a daily basis for a prearranged length of time, which can be anywhere from one week to one month.

Qualities of a Sexual Surrogate

To become a Sexual Surrogate, experience in nursing, psychology, social work, or alternative therapy are useful, but more importantly, people who possess “mature sexuality” and “emotional stability” make the best candidates.

The IPSA is a non-profit education corporation that offers training for individuals wishing to become surrogate partners and for therapists wishing to learn to work with surrogates.  IPSA offers referrals for therapists seeking trained, ethical, professional surrogate partners, and for clients seeking therapists who have experience and skill in working with surrogate partners.  IPSA also offers continuing education opportunities for surrogate partners and therapists.


Photo by Dainis Graveris from Pexels


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