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January 24th, 2012
05:37 PM ET

A look into the work of a sex surrogate

In a fascinating interview, Brooke speaks with Cheryl Cohen Greene, a sex surrogate and clinical sexologist whose life and work is the subject of an upcoming film.   Cheryl has worked with over 950 clients, including a quadriplegic whom she says was able to discover his sexuality for the first time as a direct result of her services.

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Filed under: Anchors • Brooke Baldwin
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. kandee

    Regarding Teen who killed herself #WeCanDoBetter-Assistant DA says case is still open-But no charges yet , right? Mother knew of Abuse and did nothing?
    Mother must have known who family member was that was sexually abusing her daughter. How can this NOT be a Criminal Case and who else Sexually Abused this beautiful girl. Her tweets obviously, was the only way she knew to "reach Out" 4 help. We as a society have the obligation to see that Justice is done in this case. The Perp. is still out there. Is Nancy Grace on this, I'd like to know ?

    Regarding Sex Surrogate Movie with Helen Hunt, I would like to see it especially since it involved a Quadrapalegic-and I like Helen Hunt. I find this Sex Surrogacy Business....strange, because someone has to "fake intimacy;"
    and fake it ...Often. Also, I wonder how a husband would deal with this Psychologically, Children and Grandchildren. Husband apparently OK with it as this is how he met her and married her.
    I can't deny that I would like to see the film with Helen Hunt regarding the Parapelagic-but don't quite know what to make of a 'sex surrogate.' I can see sex therapy for a couple, or sex therapy for an individual or therapy for an individual...but the surrogate thing is....strange, different, scary and far flung...to me. However, it is a Free Country and Therapy is helpful to many so who am I to Judge. I would like to see the film, but that's all.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  2. kandee

    sorry for errors it's late and night of State of the Union....."Her tweets obviously WERE the only way she knew how to reach out 4 help" regarding her sexual abuse by family member

    "Involves" a Quadrapalegic.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  3. Libturds!

    So, Progressive Liberals have created the word "Sex Surrogate" now to dance around illegal prostitution?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. jude

    i am struck by CHGs lack of self promotion. the human touch and our sexual connection is fundamental to who we are. she acknowledges the dark cold void experienced by some, and addresses our discomfort in facing the significance of this part of our lives. i applaud and admire her work.
    the body, soul and mind is touched, nurtured and healed in this way if the intention is with love and kindness.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  5. dennis

    Woman you are a prostitute plain and simple. It doesn't matter what you call yourself, there is no difference between you and a hooker walking the street or working ina brothel or for an escort service Prostitution is defined as sex for money or something of value. YOU ARE A PROSTITUTE.

    January 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  6. Andrew

    And this woman actually found a man to marry her. What a world.

    January 30, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  7. juxtapose

    the only difference I can see between a "sex surrogate" is that one has a college diploma. just sayin',

    January 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  8. David

    It's amazing how intolerant and judgmental people are willing to be. As Dennis so emphatically demonstrates, casting that first stone is the national pastime. In my experience those who decry the loudest are those with the sickest secrets. I pity you and your hangups and the fact that you are obviously in need of this woman's services. We resent anyone who is comfortable with sexuality and their own bodies. I would bet she and her husband have a relationship most of us can only wish for.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  9. lsgyrl

    @ David. You said exactly what I was thinking.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  10. lsgyrl

    juxtapose

    "the only difference I can see between a "sex surrogate" is that one has a college diploma. just sayin',"

    --------------------

    Then you see no differences. Both could have a college degree. It's irrelevant. Just sayin ...

    February 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  11. christa

    Um, how is she doing this "service" legally?

    February 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Just sayin

    For those comparing a sex surrogate to a prostitute keep in mind the average wife or girlfriend also trades sex for money and the man taking care of her. There is no difference. Marriage is just legal prostitution.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  13. Jim

    I couldn't agree with David more completely. The work that Cheryl does is a healing mission and she deserves a gold medal for what she does, not the condemnation of idiots like Dennis and the other slightly veiled bigots. Cheryl is up front and honest in her approach to life, not some snickering little school girls like Christa or lsgyrl.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:55 am |
  14. ash477

    So, who is the pimp?

    February 2, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  15. confused

    Legal prostitution. Plain and simple. If she is so adamant that she is helping them so much, why does she not just donate her services for the betterment of mankind? At the least she is taking advantage of people. There is more to relationships then sex.....many of your grandparents have a wonderful relationship with or without Viagra. And lets be honestly, if I were, which I would not, was going to pay some to have sex with me, it would be someone about 40 years younger then her.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  16. govspy

    As to those comparing sex surrogates to prostitution, ask yourself why prostitution is illegal in the first place. Is it because you find it morally "wrong"? Or is it because the government doesn't receive taxes from it? Consenting adults should have the right to choose for themselves. As long as the sex worker is not under any form of manipulation, like under a "pimp" and they use the appropriate protection, why is it anyone else's business? Some of you old folks need to go ahead and give up your outdated moral judgments, and get out of the way of a more open-minded generation.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  17. Robert

    Confused: So she should just donate her services because she says she is helping people? By that argument doctors and teachers should donate their time too. After all, they claim to be in the business to help people.

    February 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  18. James Allen

    I totally agree with those who say this woman is a prostitute. But seriously, there's nothing wrong with being a prostitute. My calling her that is in no way a condemnation, but it is calling a spade a spade.
    Having said that, if I had to do anything sexual with that woman, I think I'd be more screwed up after I was done working with her than before. How is someone who looks like that supposed to help people who can't get erections?

    February 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  19. Keep it real

    You naysayers and small minded people here: You clearly have no idea what a surrogate does, even after (supposedly) watching this. They hold a valid, valuable role as therapists for the millions of people who, for whatever reasons, deal with anxiety, physical challenges, abuse, and other issues around sexuality. Those of you who call this prostitution are both ignorant and judgmental. And you probably have no concept of what healthy sexuality is. Open your mind. You might get some education shoved into it.

    February 5, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  20. Guest

    So,is this covered by insurance?

    February 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  21. Will

    First of all, I strongly believe that prostitution is a completely victimless "crime" and is therefore not a crime at all. I believe laws prohibiting prostitution are absurdly idiotic and are kept in place by clueless idiots. But.... a prostitute is a prostitute, and this woman is ABSOLUTELY a prostitute!

    February 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  22. Sad

    I would like to draw a few mental pictures for the individuals that seem to be unable to see the clear difference between a "Sexual Surrogate" and a "Prostitute".
    No one calls a whore a therapist. A prostitute does not care if you are a better, more stable, person after their "session". A prostitute does not want to know, nor cares, if you were abused as a child. A prostitute wants you to have discontentment at home, the therapist wants you to gain peace and understanding that can allow you to interact with others in a way that is healthy not just physically, but mentally as well. A prostitute has a purely physical job description, no role in healing. A Surrogate has a job description that is focussed on the education and empowerment of a human to be all they can be, they can be a guide, a teacher, a confidant, one who will answer the stupid question and ask the hard questions, one who is not interested in themselves but does the job to be of service.
    In reference to Confused's comment; Do you donate your time to benefit mankind? I do. I am happy to, but for the bulk of my time I need to be paid for what I do. The woman has degrees that took years and much expense to achieve, she is clearly not motivated to take advantage of anyone. One last thought, Spellcheck.
    A long time ago a person that would cut into another human, to try to alleviate sickness or disease,was condemned as a blasphemous wretch and often killed for sacrilege after trying to heal. We slowly accepted these procedures and we now enjoy double the life span. It used to be accepted and even praised for a man to strike his woman if he wished to keep her under control, most have come to the realization that it was wrong and we can be better than that. We thought the world was flat... need I go on? Just as we would not dream of letting a person bleed to death in front of us today, we must not stand in the way of the progression of our ability to improve lives through unfamiliar new techniques.
    A lover that cannot be themselves, because they are uncomfortable with their bodies or cannot shake their past etc. etc. etc., is doomed to be unhappy in that aspect of their life. They have to be lead into a realization of what they need from others and, often more importantly, what others might need from them. This is not giving a moment in time for money, it is teaching how to deal successfully with those needs and desires with dignity, self respect, connection to others, feeling of well-being, confidence respect for others. We would not think that all pregnant mothers should "go it alone and figure it out as they go. But sex is another subject, purloined at all levels and shoved into the dark corners we do not allow a medical professional to intervene and set things right, just because we are narrow minded.

    February 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  23. kevin

    What a collection of small minds America has become. :-(((

    February 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  24. American Since 1635

    Why must morons always bring Conservative or Liberal politics into everything near election time? :rolleyes:

    Sexual intimacy can be such a HUGE block for some people, so much that some people never manage to get past it and it severely limits the quality of their lives. This is why we have people in our society who would otherwise seem normal are still virgins into their 30's and 40's. They are not freaks or losers, many of these people have either diagnosed or undiagnosed, mental or physical ailments that impair their ability to go out and seek a healthy relationship with a companion.

    At first it might seem that the therapy that Mrs. Greene is providing is bizarre, but upon further contemplation, for many people it is essential. Get past the shock of "OMG She has had sex with 950 people!" and you see that she has improved the quality of their lives, perhaps even saving some.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  25. Andy in Oz

    As a person with a significant disability I am somewhat dismayed at the reaction to this story by so many in this forum thread. It might be a shock to many of my able bodied counterparts on this thread to discover that having a significant physical impairment does not automatically make you completely asexual and incapable of having the thoughts, feelings and desires that you all have. The difference of course for many in the position of the man in the film etc is that going down to some local pub or nightclub is impractical. Lets face it in those circumstances if you have a significant impairment you are not going to attract the "hottie in the red dress" as many of my red blooded able body friends here might hope to do. Yes this woman is offering a service, the chance to experience things that people in such a position as those with a significant impairment may not have a chance to experience. Does that mean that people such as myself should be restricted from that because you choose to place some derogatory label upon her. Get over yourselves you go to a Dr and pay a great deal of money "for a service" you pay your solicitor and accountant the same. If I require someone such as her for a specific service that reflects a perfectly normal aspect to the human condition, who is anyone to tell me or anyone else in such a position that they are to be denied.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  26. Rick

    Have you ever noticed that there are TWO kinds of people who absolutely DESPISE prostitutes...

    1) Religious kooks

    2) Serial killers

    Makes ya think eh?

    February 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  27. geogodley

    A supposedly free society shouldn’t need excuses (sob story, disability, diploma, therapy etc) for the biological, spiritual necessity & human right of sex whether its free or for a fee.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  28. rc

    Call her what she is: a prostitute.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  29. pat carr

    "Progressive Liberals have created the word "Sex Surrogate" "

    So what word can we create for stupid conservatives?

    February 10, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  30. pat carr

    "Does that mean that people such as myself should be restricted from that because you choose to place some derogatory label upon her. "

    no Andy it doesn't except to the usual collection of brainless, heartless keyboard commandos that infest these boards. They are very sad and don't have a life at all, so please don't be bothered by them

    February 10, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  31. pat carr

    "If she is so adamant that she is helping them so much, why does she not just donate her services for the betterment of mankind? At the least she is taking advantage of people"

    Why don't you donate your services to mankind too? Put your money where your mouth is. or is it just easier for you to sit here in judgement of her.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  32. Chris

    I have no problem with the concept. In answer to the question of what is the difference between prostitution and sex therapy, prostitutes gets paid for sex, sex therapists get paid for therapy (which may involve sex). Indeed much of the work that sex surrogates go through is "mind work" that you can only really do when a person in a sexual environment.

    I guess my questions all have to do with how a therapist (any therapist, but most profoundly with sex therapy) manages to keep his or her private life and business separate.

    Emotional connection really needs to be a two way street.

    Yes, I'm sure there are therapists out there that are "faking" connection, but I have to guess they aren't very good ones.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  33. jean

    Not sure why this would be a liberal vs conservative issue. Considering how long prostitution has been around (think Mary Magdalen for example) it ought to be considered a long time honored tradition. Also not sure why Just Sayin thinks there is a correlation between wives and girlfriends and prostitutes either since most women work and even if they don't, the house work and other household services they provide are certainly things a person would have to pay for or do for themselves if they weren't around. Finally, what's wrong with prostitution in the first place? Why shouldn't a disabled, shy, whatever kind of person be allowed to experience just another one of the human conditions if they want to? If this woman is willing to take on the kind of people who can't just pick someone up at a bar and let them experience what it is like to be touched by a caring person who isn't going to give them grief or make them self conscious, she deserves to get compensated for her time and effort. Certainly are a lot of self righteous, judgmental haters completely lacking in empathy out there.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  34. Annaliesa

    Morally, I could care less what two (or one or three or five) consenting adults do – paid service or not.

    From a mental health standpoint, I do find this concerning. Sex therapy sans having sex with the therapist works quite well. I don't doubt there are plenty of people who can use her style as a learning experience only. But I can't help but wonder if there are others who have gotten attached to her and have not been able to deal with it. Or have needed follow-up therapy to deal with it. It's one thing to hire a prostitute, it's another to hire someone who learns about the intimate details of your life. In a therapeutic relationship, the therapist is in a position of power. It's easy to get into an emotional mess should the boundaries blur or cross.

    I do wonder how she does this legally. In any other mental health profession, you would be stripped of your license, would not be able to obtain a license from a different mental health discipline, and could face jail time for having sex with a client.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  35. Mike Z.

    I find it funny you guys are calling her a prostitute. I'm not sure if your too dense too see the difference (albeit a thin one) but there is one. She's not just helping anyone with the $ to get their rocks off, and she even limits how many sessions they can see her. Saying she's a hooker is like saying your soliciting sex for money when you take a new girl out to a nice dinner and a movie with the expectation of sleeping with her =/ let me guess your not too dense to see that difference right?

    February 12, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  36. Rob

    I wonder how many other prostitutes can get away with calling themselves a "sex surrogate"... Seriously people... All of the men who go out buying prostitiutes have some type of problem that they are obviously trying to deal with. It doesn't change the name of the game. Legalize it for all, or lock this woman up. I guess it's supposed to be something different just because one fo her Johns was a quadriplegic. $ for sex = definition of prostitution.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  37. just sad

    So...i don't know, but wouldn't it be better to help these folks develop a healthy romantic relationship with someone ELSE, and how to better communicate their sexual frustrations with THAT person RATHER than to have sex with the needy person straight out? You have sex with 'em and then teach them how to detach themselves emotionally? Hmmm. No wonder our values are going down the crapper. Pimpology becomes therapy. That's not liberal or conservative talking.. that's just not wise.
    If a person is still a virgin at 30 or 40, why is that a crime? If they have some real emotional hindrance to sex, then okay.. this is an issue, but you don't just have sex with these folks as a solution. I mean, even the 'johns' tell their $40 tricks things that they don't tell others, so you might say that prostitution is a kind of therapy, too... hell.

    February 13, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  38. Cowcharge

    Sure it's prostitution, just maybe with a 'happier ending". Some hookers just get paid to talk, etc., which is therapy as much as this woman's services. But if it's not in Nevada, how is it legal? Not that I care who bangs who or for how much.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  39. Dale

    What a gracious and courageous lady!

    February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  40. Doug

    What other people do with their bodies is none of your business.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  41. Douglass

    Isn't this just Prostitution? But since it involves rich, white people it's not a crime, huh?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  42. Roger

    It's all semantics. Even the best definitions of a word or phrase can't cover all of the possible nuances and must be understandable by all. It has to be simplified to be useful to everyone, including those who have small minds. The final answer to those who can't see beyond the simple definition is "I refuse to argue with an uninformed, uneducated, and/or misguided person. It would be unfair. There is evidence of this above.

    February 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  43. jax

    Then there are those men who fall in love with their "surrogate" when the intention is to work through sexual problems a husband and his wife are having.
    *Sexual surrogacy is prostitution plain and simple.
    *When a woman who doesnt love a man has sex said man in order to get goodies such as a car, apartment, house, jewels etc that's prostitution too.

    know with that being said i think that prostitution should be allowed for medicinal purposes only.
    Case in point, an unmarried man who'se in a wheelchair.
    Or someone deformed who is not accepted by the opposite sex.

    Married men or women who hire prostitutes should be prosecuted and receive jail time.

    February 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  44. tj

    Some folks much prefer to define things in black and white terms. It's either right or it's wrong. It's ether prostitution or it isn't.

    Shades of grey are harder to deal with. To me the ultimate question is does this sort of therapy actually help people? How many go on to have a healthier sex life (with other people), or is it pretty much a dead end? They have sex with a surrogate a few times, but that's about it. That might lead to more frustration than healing.

    On some level treatment like this makes sense. You don't learn to play basketball by reading about it in a book or listening to instruction. There are some things you can do yourself but ultimately it's a team sport and you need to get on the court with somebody else to truly learn it. For all sorts of reasons what most of us manage through the course of normal relationships may not be possible for some people, -not without some help.

    There are occupational therapists that help people, especially those with disabilities, learn to do everyday tasks. What makes this more complicated are the emotional aspects.

    February 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  45. Grace

    A lot of the commentors appear to have an opninion of herapy as a taboo subject for themselves. I f only more people sought therapy regardlesss of wheter it involved sex thereapy, the world would be a lot kinder and understandable. Nobody is perfect, we are brought into this world flawed and hopefully we go out of this world a better person. Minor and major things happen to all of us. People need help and we all deserve compassion and empathy – not judgement and ridicule from those who think they are a cut above the rest or trying to ignore their own personal demons. The emotional effect of a small trauma repeats itself emotioanlly through your life until you deal with it or you seek help to deal with it.
    Remember from the beginnng of time – "fear of the unknown" has caused humans to be judgemental to the point of killing each other. Who said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself".

    By the way – Legalized prostiitution in Holland, has done more to protect people, health checks for stds and aids, eliminated the pimps and provided a safer working enviroment for what was the first "business" transaction of mankind. Notice the word mankind – man & kind – AHEM !

    February 19, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  46. Greg

    Right on Roger!

    February 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  47. joey

    1) mary magdelan was one of the closest disciples of jesus according to scripture. she was not a prostitute. the story of the prostitute runs next to the story of mary. was it done purposefully to diminish mary of magdela?? no. a male dominated church would never do that.
    2) why is it seemingly always men who make these value judgements about what women can do with their own bodies. the anonymity of the internet seems to make senitivity and respect for others an item of antiquity.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  48. ohsnap

    Ohhhhhhhhh. So that's what we're calling hookers now?

    February 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  49. Scott from NH

    Hmmm, this service sounds completely legal and socially acceptable in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, most of Asia. But in socially conservative countries where prostitution is looked at as sleazy and repulsive, like Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia or the United States, I would have to think this is quite illegal.

    February 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  50. holdem

    there are way more girls giving it away for free yet you act like getting paid for it is less noble than handing it out.

    February 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  51. ThrashnBurn

    I long for the day when this is seen as a better, healthier, and more ethical way to learn about one's own sexuality than watching pornography that fantasizes rape and female degradation.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

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