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  • Dr. Tanginika

Surrogate Partner Therapy: How Can It Help You?

Surrogate Partner Therapy (formerly known as sex surrogacy and practitioners formerly known as sex surrogates), is based on the successful methods of Masters and Johnson.

In this therapy, a client, a therapist or other professional and a surrogate partner form a three-person therapeutic team (the Triadic Model). According to the International Professional Surrogates Association, 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 and sexual skills training. Each program is designed to increase the client’s knowledge, skills, and comfort in mastering his own sexuality. The involvement of the team therapist-a licensed and/or certified professional with an advanced degree-is a cornerstone of this therapy process. Open, honest, and consistent communication between all team members is a fundamental ingredient of successful surrogate partner therapy.

Who needs SPT? The problems that lead clients to need Surrogate Partner Therapy range from general social anxiety to specific sexual dysfunctions. Some of the problems addressed by surrogate partner therapy are:

  1. How to have a healthy sexuality in spite of chronic medical conditions.

  2. How to overcome negative body image that gets in the way of intimacy and self-love.

  3. How to have a healthy sex life in spite of physical disfigurement from birth, accidents, surgeries (i.e. mastectomies), or disabilities.

  4. How to overcome sexual, physical or emotional abuse and/or trauma (rape or incest, for instance).

  5. How to overcome lack of social-, sexual- or self-confidence.

  6. Some common sexual concerns for male clients involve performance anxiety, dissatisfaction with orgasm, delayed or difficulty with ejaculation, premature ejaculation, and/or erection difficulties.

  7. Female clients’ sexual issues might involve difficulties with orgasmic release, lack of sexual desire, dyspareunia (painful sex) and vaginismus.

  8. Fear of intimacy, shame or anxiety regarding sex.

  9. How to learn to give and receive pleasure.

  10. To recover sexual functioning and pleasure after childbirth, trauma or illness.

  11. To gain sexual confidence after sexual reassignment/reaffirming surgery.

  12. Referred by a therapist, physician, social worker, massage or physical therapist.

Can SPT help you? Surrogate partner therapy can help women and men from any sex orientation or identity in overcoming their body or sexual issues with a practical approach. I say it is the most specialized modality of sex therapy and one that has tremendous transformative power. In the words of sex therapist Moushumi Ghose, who works with SPT: “As a therapist, what I've seen is that many frustrated, lonely, scared single and coupled people have gone on to live fully functioning and fulfilling adult lives full of sex, intimacy, and all the other joys (and pitfalls, too) that go along with having satisfying long term relationships.” That would be my wish for all. I would encourage anyone experiencing sexual or intimacy concerns to strongly consider SPT as a viable therapeutic option. The results will be worth it.

SPT may be an effective way to resolve a variety of intimacy concerns. Maybe it can help you too!

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