Normally, we hear the word surrogate with regards to babies or surrogate mothers but there is also a concept known as surrogate partner therapy or sex therapy. The aim of this type of therapy is to help people overcome their past traumas related to sexual intimacy. It is important to note that this medical process of surrogacy is not related to the process of surrogacy pregnancy. The proper definition of surrogate partner therapy is defined by the International Professional Surrogate Association (IPSA) as a three-way relationship between the surrogate partner therapist who is a licensed therapist, a partner surrogate, and the client. The aim of this type of therapy is to help people become comfortable with their body, sexuality, intimacy, sensuality, and sex.
If you have been asking yourself, “Is surrogate partner therapy legal?”, then this is easily the most obvious question that may run across your mind. There is no straight answer to this question because there are no laws that make this kind of therapy legal. However, no laws make them illegal either. So, surrogate partner therapy is one of those things that fall under the gray area.
Let us check out more about female surrogate partner therapy to help you understand its intricacies better!
What Does Surrogate Partner Therapy Entail & Who Is It For?
The course of the treatment may vary depending on the case but it usually entails having a professional work with the client on touch, mindfulness, breathwork, social skills, relaxation, etc. to help them achieve their objectives. In some cases, the surrogate partner therapy may even involve intercourse but it depends on the comfort level of the client. Both genders can avail themselves of this kind of therapy if they face issues related to intimacy. Female surrogate partner therapy is similar to therapy for men as it is the licensed therapist who decides the course of treatment depending on a particular case.
People who have suffered some kind of trauma or abuse usually need this therapy to get better. Apart from that, people with no past sexual experience, or with erectile dysfunction or early ejaculation also find this kind of therapy helpful. Also, women who have problems in their pelvic area leading to painful intercourse also go for such therapy options. Surrogate partner therapy has also helped people who have problems accepting their bodies, or have anxiety or fear that revolves around intimacy, sex, and touch.
However, if you are planning to go for surrogate partner therapy, you must note that most insurance plans don’t cover it. So, you will have to cover the surrogate partner therapy cost on your own. The cost of one session may range between $200 to $400.
How To Become A Surrogate Partner?
A surrogate partner has an integral role for clients who need their help but they do not require any clinical training or academic qualifications in psychology to become surrogate partners. Does that mean any person can become a surrogate partner? No, it does not. People who work in surrogacy must go through a certifying body like IPSA and an ethical program in order to become surrogate partners. The entire process of becoming a surrogate partner can be called “fairly involving.”
The process of becoming a surrogate partner includes multi-week training sessions, an internship process in which one works under a surrogate partner who has been certified, and then if they are deemed fit to go off on their own, they can start their own practice as a surrogate therapist. It is noteworthy that the certifying body of IPSA says that being comfortable with one’s own sexuality and body, compassion, intelligence, warmth, non-judgmental behavior towards the lifestyle choices of others, empathy, sexual orientation, and consensual sexual activities are all prerequisites to become a surrogate partner.
How Does Surrogate Partner Therapy Work?
Once the therapist and the client have decided to go ahead with surrogate partner therapy for the client’s benefit, the sex therapist reaches out to their own network of partner surrogates in order to find them the right match. It is important to note here that the sex therapist might also get in touch with the IPSA Referrals Coordinator for help in finding a well-trained, compassionate, and certified surrogate partner to best fit the requirements of a specific client.
In the present times, several surrogate partners have social media platforms and websites. Therefore, if you ever stumble on one such platform and you think a specific partner surrogate can be the perfect match for you, you can always mention it to your sex therapist. That said, in order to actually work with that specific surrogate partner, both the surrogate partner and your sex therapist must sign off on it. After that, the surrogate partner and the client usually meet to see whether or not they are a good fit.
It is pertinent to mention here that the first meeting usually takes place in the office of the sex therapist but after that, the meetings happen elsewhere. They can take place in the office of the surrogate partner or even the client’s home. The sex therapist and the surrogate partner tend to work together to create a treatment plan according to the specific goals of each client. Once that is done, the surrogate partner and the client work to achieve those goals.
The treatment plan may incorporate the following things:
Making eye contact
Intercourse that is guided by safe-sex practices
One-way or two-way touch (below or above clothing)
Mutual or one-way nudity
For people who struggle with their bodies, touch, sexuality, and intimacy, generating stress, fear, or anxiety in their day-to-day lives, working with a partner surrogate and a sex therapist can be a great way of healing. To know more about surrogacy, you can check out our blogs.