We have previously discussed the curious definition of prostitution in this country. Many libertarians and others believe that consenting adults should be able to consent to such arrangements. My long-standing interest is the legal definition (and fairness) of the criminal code in defining prostitution. If someone agrees to have sex for money, they are arrested as a prostitute. However, if you accept money to have sex with multiple people in a porn movie, you are an actress. Now, Cheryl Cohen Greene, a 68-year-old grandmother and cancer survivor, adds another possible exception. She is a “sexual surrogate” who works with men who are sick or disabled in ‘sexual therapy.’
Greene is happily married and going on her 34th anniversary. However, she regularly sleeps with men for $300 an hour — an occupation featured in a movie with Helen Hunt about her work with journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, who was disabled by polio.
O’Brien was paralyzed and connected to an iron lung. He was also a 38-year-old virgin. The case is detailed in Greene’s memoir An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner, published in November.
She says that she has slept with over 900 people for money in her home near UC Berkeley. Her husband, Bob Greene, a retired postal worker, met her as one of her clients.
There is even an international certifying body for such workers, the International Professional Surrogates Association. Notably, the president of the association says that more than half of the clients are middle-aged virgins. That would seem the same clientele for prostitutes in many cases. The association president insists that “[t]hese people are socially handicapped. They need encouragement in a safe, gentle environment.” Again, I am not particularly opposed to this work. I just do not understand why prostitutes cannot make the same argument.
What do you think?