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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » State-funded prostitution...

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Author Topic: State-funded prostitution...
Dzuunmod
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...it happens in the Netherlands, but it's not necessarily what you think.

Last night I watched a segment on TV about the SAR, a group of sex workers in Holland who are paid by the state-run medical system to provide disabled people with sexual services. This is done because they say the sexuality of severely disabled people is discounted by much of society. It's an interesting idea, but the bit on television left me with many questions - some medical, some political and some ethical (which is good, because ethical matters don't come up as often as they should in this forum). Perhaps we can discuss.

At the top is the question of whether sex is a need, or a want - and as you'll see, when I say sex, I'm referring to masturbation, as well.

Next, I wonder how it is that the Dutch system can support this. In Canada, the state-run health care system can barely afford to take care of things like diseases and necessary surgery. Where are they finding the money for this? If treasuries were flush with money here, I might be in favour of this, however, when people are waiting in the emergency room for twelve hours before they see a doctor (this only happens here during flu season, but it happens) I can't support it.

The part that I saw focused on a man who appeared to be paralyzed from the waist down. He talked about enjoying real sex, which he explained referred to intercourse and oral sex. Now, forgive my ignorance, but how does someone who cannot feel anything from the waist down feel intercourse, or feel oral sex? It's a genuine question I had.

One of the sex workers interviewed for the story said at one point that sex is a necessity. She said that "it's like if you're hungry, you want to eat." Is that so? No one's ever died from a lack of sexual stimulation, to my knowledge. It's tough to do without sex and masturbation, but many people do. I'm not sure how I feel about classifying sex in this way. Yes, sex is important to many of us, but it's not on the same level as eating. For those of you who've studied it in school, where do you think sex falls in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Is it a body need, or a social need?

Finally, where would the line be drawn for such a program, in terms of who is eligible, and who is not? Would it only apply to those who cannot mastrubate, say, and do not have a partner? In other words, those who have no sexual outlet whatsoever? Could it potentially include those whose sexualities have also been marginalized by much of society - like the mentally challenged?

So many questions... I'm looking forward to some responses.

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"Isn't it amazing what you can accomplish/when the little sensation gets in your way/no ambition whisperin' over your shoulder/oh, isn't it amazing you can do anything"
-The Tragically Hip, Fireworks


Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
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quote:
The part that I saw focused on a man who appeared to be paralyzed from the waist down. He talked about enjoying real sex, which he explained referred to intercourse and oral sex. Now, forgive my ignorance, but how does someone who cannot feel anything from the waist down feel intercourse, or feel oral sex? It's a genuine question I had.

Well, as a practical point, feeling and movement don't always go together. So someone who has spinal cord injuries, for example, may still have sensation in areas which are paralyzed.

And of course sex isn't just about sensation - even if someone has no sensation in their genitals at all, they may still enjoy watching something sexual being done to them, or sharing the experience with their partner.

(It's also very possible that by "oral sex" he was referring to giving as well as receiving).

Personal, I have a number of reservations about schemes such as the ones you are describing, although I respect their intentions. They seem to be based on the assumption that people with disabilities can't possibly find partners without money changing hands.

I totally agree that the sexuality of people with disabilities is ignored by society, and people with disabilities have to put up with a huge amount of prejudice when it comes to finding partners.

But I think I'd rather see the effort and money going into changing those attitudes, rather than reinforcing the the assumption that no-one would have sex with someone with a disability unless they were paid.


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KandyKorn17
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Psychologists say that in humans, sex is NOT a physical need... in all other animals, it is.

As far as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs goes, sex would definitely not be part of "physiological needs". You would find safety (shelter) before you would look for sex.... I think sex would be somewhere between Safety Needs and Belonging Needs

I think Logic is right-- if i could absolutely not feel anything between my legs, I would still enjoy sexual activities with partners.... now, masturbation probably wouldn't work...

It IS true that people don't think of disabled people as sexual beings, and that is a real shame! But the answer isn't prostitutes- it's education.


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logic_grrl
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quote:
I think Logic is right-- if i could absolutely not feel anything between my legs, I would still enjoy sexual activities with partners.... now, masturbation probably wouldn't work...

And of course, "sex" doesn't just have to be between the legs - even if someone has no genital sensations, there are still plenty of fun things that can be done to and with the parts of their body that do have sensation .

I was just answering Dzuunmod's specific question about how intercourse and oral sex might still be enjoyable.


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Dzuunmod
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And about that, I can't remember the exact quote, but the man in question seemed to indicate that having oral sex performed on him, or having intercourse, was the biggest part of his pleasure. Yes, he also indicated that he enjoyed doing what he could to the woman that he was coupled with (say, licking her breasts for example), but that it was the two things above which were sort of most important to him.

That's the impression I was left with, anyway.

Still, though, I'm wondering, are there a great many people who, when they lose use of everything below the waist or neck, also lose feeling, including in their genitals? Does it happen, is it common?

------------------
"Isn't it amazing what you can accomplish/when the little sensation gets in your way/no ambition whisperin' over your shoulder/oh, isn't it amazing you can do anything"
-The Tragically Hip, Fireworks


Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
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quote:
Still, though, I'm wondering, are there a great many people who, when they lose use of everything below the waist or neck, also lose feeling, including in their genitals? Does it happen, is it common?

Certainly does happen, and some degree of loss of sensation is a pretty common outcome of spinal cord injuries (for example, my current sexual partner, who's paraplegic, has minimal sensation below his ribcage).

But spinal cord injuries affect people in very different ways, depending on exactly where the injury is and whether the spinal cord is completely severed/damaged at that point or not. So some people may have sensation in areas they can't voluntarily control, or be able to experience some types of sensations but not others. Some people find that loss of sensation in some areas leads to other areas becoming extra-sensitive.

And of course lots of conditions other than spinal cord injuries can lead to someone needing to use a wheelchair. So trying to guess exactly what someone's sexual functioning is or isn't like (unless you know them very well ) is pretty much a waste of time.

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 10-02-2002).]


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Maharet
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OK, this may require later editing for coherence, we'll see....

I read an article several months ago about a woman who was quadraplegic. (no movement possible from the neck down). It was discovered that there are two sorts of systems (?) in the body. One that dectects physical sensations in the body, another that creates the emotional feelings that go with the sentation.

When someone massaged or cuddled the woman, even tho she couldn't physically feel it, the second 'system' sent messages to the brain saying "pleasureable feeling, feeling of comfort" etc.

Reading that back, it sounds strange, but that's what I remember the article saying.

------------------
"If you don't like gays, then they're everywhere, coming out of the woodwork to corrupt little children... but if you are gay, especially if you're in high school, you're the only one in the universe..."


Posts: 66 | From: Perth, Australia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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