"Sex surrogacy", a controversial practice not commonly prescribed by therapists, is reportedly on the rise among women whose physical or mental health problems prevent them from enjoying a healthy sex life, say experts.
A surrogate sex partner works with the patients to build their communication skills and self-confidence, and help them become more comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy, which may include eye contact, hand-holding or even sexual intercourse.
"More and more women are now claiming their birth right to either have an orgasm, or healthy relationship or have sexual satisfaction," CBS News quoted Shai Rotem, a surrogate partner who is based in Los Angeles but practices internationally, as saying.
In his 14 years as a surrogate partner, Rotem has worked with women who have a condition called vaginismus, which makes sex painful, women in their 40s or 50s who are virgins and women who have experienced sexual trauma.
While no laws technically prohibit sex surrogacy, many therapists do not endorse the practice and even consider it to be dangerous.
However, many experts say surrogate partner therapy has its place in sex therapy, and can be useful to the right patients.
Vena Blanchard, president of the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA), claims requests for sex surrogates for female patients have steadily increased in recent times.
"There's been a steady increase in women taking ownership of their sexuality," Blanchard told MyHealthNewsDaily.
"They don't just want sex therapy to please their partner. "They want to make their own lives better for themselves," she said.
Surrogate sex partner therapy was first reported in the 1970s and mostly used by men, but has not been commonly used since.