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?
58 thoughts on “Sexual Surrogate or Prostitute? Movie and Memoir Raises Renewed Questions Over The Definition of Prostitution”
Let’s see if Suzy’s charged with a crime and she committed a number of them.
Back to the question. I believe that intent matters. Prostitution satisfies immediate goals. Sexual surrogacy ostensibly satisfies long term goals. If a prostitute argues that s/he is working toward the same goal as a sex surrogate then wouldn’t s/he seek similar credentials? Only if we legalize prostitution will we know. If it’s legal then there would be no reason to continue a charade of credibility. Why waste time and money? I believe both are legitimate and should be legal.
@Barking: In a pre-industrial world of hunter-gatherers without any effective means of birth control, I can see a social interest in outlawing pay for sex, or even sex outside of marriage, on the grounds that a disparity exists between short-term interests and long-term interests.
A woman might trade sex for money with an itinerant man, and both seem to benefit in the short term, but the man wanders on while the woman has risked pregnancy. In cases where that risk is realized, the money was spent, and the tribe is left with a single mother and child without a father to provide for it or train it. Thus the short term gain was consumed by the two that had sex, but the long term loss of raising the child to adulthood is partially borne by the society.
Many of the rules of society subjugating women are basically worries about paternity, and issues of cuckolding or free-riders (men fathering children they do not have to provide for, or wives getting pregnant by men other than their husband). For example, the requirement of (female) virginity before marriage can be viewed as insurance that a woman is not already pregnant at marriage, and the groom is not about to raise somebody else’s child believing it is his own. (Of course a woman can get pregnant with an intact hymen…)
Birth control, accurate paternity tests, the recognition of women having all the rights of men, and the decline in influence over policy by the various churches will eventually make those concerns negligible.
I imagine prostitution will become legal if the world continues to modernize, just as in modern countries the taboo against sex before marriage, the taboo against having children out of wedlock, and the taboos against females appearing sexually attractive have all been greatly diminished.
Not much discussion about the Reasons for outlawing pay for sex. How about monopoly? How about Faust? A Faustian Bargain. Lets say you have a religious monopoly in a place like England. The Church of England. They control the flock by controlling things like marriage, legitimizing children, letting you into heaven for having done good deeds and not doing bad deeds. The Male head of the Flock cuts a Faustian bargain with the women of the human flock. The Church of England will give you a monopoly on the conduct, the attention, the proceeds from the sheep that the husband fleeces less tenpercent to the Church, in exchange for Rules that outlaw non married woman from selling sex to these male schmucks. So, the men can only get laid at home with wifey poo, the wifey poo can trade her favors for the work that hubby does out in the fields, the Church gets its Ten percent, and all go to heaven except the hooker on the corner who is sneeking around with hubby at odd hours.
SWM, It’s on my list. They must have done a limited initial release because it’s not playing here yet. Thanks for the review.
Id, I was not offended at all.
Experimenting is part of the learning curve….
Nick, I like Argo a lot. I am going to recommend “Silver Linings”. I could see it again. You will love it… Italians, Philly.
As adult,consensual incest is sex, why the fuss?
Yes, Seamus, but idealist is right also!
To change the subject, as adult ,consensual sex is sex, why the ban?
sexual surrogate = the hooker with a heart of gold
In the 2009 thread here on “John School” I wrote:
Re “learnkng curves” is outside my knowledge of English. This was unclear, and perhaps important. Pertinent in what way, please?
I did not even name you, so as to avoid you feeling attacked. If you do, then I humbly apologize.
My comment has mislead others into thinking I am some sort of sexual athlete or Casanova. I am neither. Having discovered orgasms, I went on at 13 to read the Kinsey book, standing in the stacks. Certainly not the best way to learn.
Getting in touch with yourself is difficult for some of us. I never did but for one time. So I know what I missed sexually, and emotionally.
Some of us regard our value in what we provide for others as a measure. That is incorrect I feel.
Hope it has been better for others.
It is ridiculous that prostitution is still illegal in today’s secular world. 80% of the harm/danger of prostitution could be greatly reduced if not eliminated by simply making it legal.
Besides it is so silly. Having sex for money = illegal. Having sex on camera for money = legal. Having sex for money = illegal. Selling training = legal, selling your time = legal, etc, etc etc.
If it is bought then it does not work (paraphrase). Depemds on both the buyer and the seller, not us.~Id
yes, I was speaking of my own preference, but I don’t have the right to tel others what to do….and learning curves are important….
Thanks for the link, shano. All captured by dash-mounted cameras…
From the RT article, “Texas troopers subject women to roadside cavity searches after routine traffic stop.”
“The troopers, as well as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven McCraw, will now be forced to attend court to settle the incident. McCraw said he was aware of complaints about “unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like”, but did not do anything to address the issue.
Scott H. Palmer, an attorney for the woman, told the Dallas Morning News that this is a case of public sexual assault and that “no one’s ever seen the likes of this”.
“We can’t let them get away with it,” he said.
The case is currently under investigation by the Dallas County Attorney’s Office and will go before a grand jury in January.”
Comments are closed.