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My local radio had a discussion this morning prompted by a disgruntled article in the Telegraph on the use of tax payer’s money by local councils to pay for the services of prostitutes for the disabled in their care. It is a scheme supported by the TLC trust and the Outsiders .
Aside from the usual outrage over the misuse of public funds and of course the now fashionable concerns over the status of the sex workers, ie were they working willingly, had they been trafficked etc I was genuinely dismayed at some of the naive views expressed by some on the panel and some of the public.
Although most calls were supportive; there were some very vocal opinions expressed that sex was not a necessity for anyone, and that disabled people should find a loving partner because, in their opinion, sex should only happen within a loving relationship.
I thought how patronising. Had any of these people actually sat down and spoke to a severely disabled person as a human being and talked to them about their sexual needs. I wonder if the people offering these opinions would ever consider offering sex, sorry; a loving relationship to someone who is severely disabled?
As a sex worker I have worked with many disabled people, some terminally ill and I become very angry when people make moral judgements on the needs of others regardless of disabilities or not.
The sexual libido of an individual is unique to that individual. Some people do live very happy celibate lives, others however need sex regularly. For those with a very low libido having no sex, or very little sex is easy but for those who have a high libido enforced celibacy can lead to physical and emotional stress and severe depression. Differences in libido in able bodied individuals can cause problems; even within loving relationships. So many people confuse sex and love with monogamous, fairy tale happy endings. The reality for many people however is that falling in love is often very different to having a happy, fulfilling sex life. For those who luckily do find the perfect combination of love and sex then life is easy but for others life and relationships can be very problematic and are often a complicated series of frustrations and compromises. Trying to control a high libido and remain faithful to a partner who you may love but who finds sexual contact a chore rather than a pleasure can be difficult. This can also be further complicated by confusions over sexual orientation.
Most of my able bodied clients for example are married men who struggle to control their bisexual tendencies and eventually decide, for their own mental health; that to pay for my company for a discreet hour is a better compromise than perhaps talking to a partner whom they love but who they feel, rightly or wrongly, would not understand their situation. People make compromises through out their lives, not least in how they deal with love and sex and I feel very strongly that it is not for anyone to judge how an individual or couple choose to deal with situations.
If this is the reality for able members of society imagine how life can be for those who suffer disabilities?
I have worked with disabled people who have no sensation except in certain, very limited parts of their bodies. Although these people may be severely disabled, even paralysed they still have active minds and imaginations. Some clients have been disabled since birth, others because of accidents or illness. These people have sexual desires just like anyone else and some have very high libidos but because of their disabilities are unable to act out their fantasies or even to seek physical release. For some even masturbation is impossible. Some disabled people who know that their condition is terminal are also unwilling even to look for a relationship, if they could realistically ever find such a thing.
Disabled people do become very angry and frustrated because of the limitations they suffer because of their physical or mental condition and this can lead to anger and depression. Yes they may want a loving relationship but they also just want sex for its own sake. Often for those so disabled to even perform sexually, just the intimate human touch of another person, or perhaps to watch a naked human being sexual becomes not just a necessity but a real human need. It is a need which most of us take for granted but which some within our society, often for moral, religious reasons, think should be denied to the disabled.
Many sex workers like my self; are happy to offer a sexual service to the disabled just as we do to able bodies individuals. If a disabled person wishes to spend a portion of their income, to which they are entitled; to pay for the services of a sex worker then that should, in a decent society be their right. Those who disapprove have a right to do so, but they do not have a right to tell someone who is angry, frustrated and lonely that they can’t have sex because for them to do so does not fit comfortably within their moral parameters of sexual normality.