Israel has unveiled a unique program under which the government funds sexual therapy for disabled veterans to help them lead a happy life, according to reports.
Sex surrogate therapy is a method of rehabilitation in which a person is hired to become a patient’s sexual partner. Sex surrogacy is controversial and is not widely practiced due to societal taboos.
But Israel decided to break the stigma attached to it in the larger interest of wounded soldiers, who otherwise would have been deprived of intimacy and sexual pleasure.
In an interview with BBC, Tel Aviv-based sex therapist Ronit Aloni explained in detail how this sex surrogate therapy works for disabled patients.
“People need to feel they can give pleasure to somebody else and that they can get pleasure from somebody else,” says Aloni, who has a doctorate in sexual rehabilitation.
The expert, however, makes a clear distinction between this therapy and prostitution. “People are coming for therapy. They’re not coming for pleasure. There is nothing similar to prostitution,” Aloni adds.
Aloni says 85 percent of these sessions are about intimacy, touching, giving and receiving, communicating, and relating to other people. “By the time you have a sexual relationship, that’s the end of the process.”
This therapy has become widely accepted in Israel, so much so that the state covers the cost of this expensive therapy for the soldiers with injuries that affect their ability to have sex.
One such veteran, who wished to remain anonymous and asked the BBC journalist to be called ‘Mr. A’, had undergone this therapy. The lower half of his body was paralyzed after falling from a great height and he was not able to have sex as before.
Describing his experience, Mr. A said: “You start from the beginning: you’re touching this, you’re touching there, and then it’s building step-by-step until the last stage of getting an orgasm.”
However, having a surrogate sex partner didn’t affect his family life. He has a wife with children, who herself encouraged him to seek help from Aloni.
Israel’s family system and the people’s love for the army may have influenced the government’s decision to extend assistance to the disabled soldiers. Most Israeli youths, after they complete 18 years, join the military and then either continue to serve in the army or later as reserve soldiers.
Given its history, Israel is constantly at war and injuries are part and parcel of a soldier’s life. Normalizing this therapy in Israel has made the world more knowledgeable about disabilities and associated life problems.
If there can be facilities to ease the lives of such disabled people, like interpreters for the deaf and mute, it’s equally important to allow them to have a healthy intimate relationship with their partners.