“First off, I need to say that, like other surrogate partners, I don’t always have penetration with my clients. Some clients don’t need that. Some clients need to focus on confidence, body image, trust building, et cetera. I work with many women who experience pain during penetration; the ultimate goal for a client with this issue is to have pain-free contact. When that is the ultimate goal, I would say it takes around 12 to 15 sessions before any penetration takes place.
“There is always a condom in SPT. In our center, surrogate partners are being tested for STDs/STIs regularly. All clients are tested at the beginning of the process. Testing and the use of condoms are actually part of the sexual education in the process. We also teach our clients how to talk about these things when dating after they graduate the process.
“Therapy takes, on average, about 40 hours. It’s a means to an end. Again, it depends on why they are coming for therapy. The process may be a bit longer for a person who had sexual trauma during childhood versus someone who is just a shy person, maybe a virgin.
“We know that relationships are very powerful in life. And someone who is referred to surrogate partner therapy is likely a person who has trouble forming healthy relationships. They need a corrective experience with someone they can trust. They need to experience a healthy relationship in order to heal. The major healing component is that relationship with the surrogate partner. Emotions and feelings are part of the process. It’s unavoidable, and it’s required for the healing process itself. They need that. And this relationship can become a future model of how to create a healthy relationship with another person.
“We simulate relationship dynamics in a safe space, with a beginning, middle, and an end. The relationship with a client is sterile. Couples clean the house together, they do errands together, they pay the bills, they celebrate holidays, et cetera. So the relationship between the surrogate partner and the client is sterilized of all these things. There’s not as much emotional weight. We don’t fight—we create safe space for deep healing.
“The sexual climate is changing. We’re in the midst of an important era for empowering women. For many generations, women were forced to be inferior, to take care of the house, to take care of the kids, to be sex slaves to their husband. In 2015, many women still believe that sex is only for men’s pleasure, because they don’t enjoy it. They’ve never enjoyed it. That’s starting to change. More and more women are becoming financially independent, choosing to become single mothers. And they are starting to examine their sexuality. Up until 15 years ago, the field of sex therapy was controlled by men. They thought that female sexuality was just a replica of male sexuality. More and more female researchers have joined the discussion, and we are aware that female sexuality is different. In this era, I see more and more women claiming their sexual freedom. More and more women now know they have full potential for sexual pleasure in their body.