Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lawsuit over...sex?!

A couple in Nice, France got divorced, and the woman cited her reasoning as being lack of sex in their 21 years of matrimonial 'bliss.' The husband said he was tired and had health problems, therefore not wanting to engage in sex. The judge in their divorce proceedings obviously didn't think this was a legitimate reason--he fined the now ex-husband 8,500 pounds (over $13, 600!!). The judge claims that marriage binds you to your spouse physically and by abstaining from sex, you are not fully involved in your marriage. Apparently there's a French civil code and in article 215 of that, it states that married couples have to have a "shared communal life." Even the Bible says in Ephesians 5:31-'31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."' But is it fair to fine a man for abstaining?!

He doesn't want it
The woman is getting her divorce, and it's not like the man just ignored her because he didn't like her (as far as we know). He did say he had health problems, and depending on the what they were, it is entirely possible he didn't have much of a sex drive. There are a lot of questions here though. Did they ever have a sex life? How was it? How long has it been since they had sex? And at what point in a relationship does simply loving someone and enjoying their companionship take over a person's physical needs, if ever?

Surrogate Sex Partners

This is less of an educational post and more of an explanation/opinion post. A friend of mine sent me a link to this article from FoxNews about surrogate sex partners. What is it? Well, basically, when a person is in therapy for sexual/intimacy problems, a secondary form of therapy could be to have a surrogate to 'teach' the patient how to become intimate with someone else and how to have sex in a healthy way. This means a woman can learn how to relax and have an orgasm, a man can try and help his erectile dysfunction, and someone who is socially inept can learn how to be physical with someone. It's not like these people go in and just have sex with someone. These surrogates are employed by the IPSA (International Professional Surrogates Association). It is a non-profit organization and it is $1,500 for the training. I'm assuming these people have background checks and STD testings. Therapists and surrogates work together to fully help the client. The therapist holds sessions with the patient like any normal therapy meeting, and then the surrogate comes in and slowly adds physicality. They start with things like eye contact, holding hands and just touching, and maybe eventually finish the sessions by having sex. They spend about 30-35 hours with the patient.

Now, one thing I thought of that is also brought up in the article is the issue of attachment. What happens if the client becomes attached to the surrogate, or vice versa? This is kind of like a friends with benefits situation, but in a professional manner. Shai Rotem, a surrogate from California, answers this, ""That is great, it's awesome because the client never allowed herself to open her heart and fall in love with someone before," Rotem said. "Being able to fall in love is a skill, it's something we learn." Rotem said. "No one can take this skill from [the patient]."
Is she learning?
Whereas that makes sense, it is still worrisome. Human emotions are real strong, and for already unstable person to be thrown into a situation where s/he has a temporary physical relationship that ends suddenly, that could end badly. When these surrogacy partnerships began in the 70's, it was almost 100% by men. Men wanted the help that a fake sex partner could provide, but now, a large amount of women have entered into this unusual therapy.

I have to say, it is pretty awesome and genius. There are plenty of people out there who want practice, but have no one to practice with. Maybe a woman is able to make herself orgasm alone, but can't do it with a partner because she gets too nervous. The surrogate is a low-pressure way to show her how to relax. Because these partners are not someone the patients are close with and hoping to impress, they should be able to be themselves.

The therapy is also beneficial to women with vaginismus. Vaginismus is painful sex, and lots of times there are mental reasons for it. Vulvodynia is another disorder where sex could benefit those suffering from it.

The question that arises is if it is moral, and if so, is it legal? Or is it considered prostitution? I think that if it is moral or not depends on the person, and like many things, should only be for those okay with it and those who aren't should ignore it. As far as the issue of prostitution, I think this is a little different. It's not like you're paying for sex specifically. You are paying for therapy and to learn how to be physical and intimate with another person. You are not paying for pure pleasure. You are in a professional situation with clean, educated people who will not rob you or hurt you. But I guess it can be argued that it is like prostitution.

So, what do you think? Is this form of therapy a good idea, or is it a morally-wrong, expensive euphemism for prostitution?