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Legalize Medically-Assisted Sex

Keep government out of bedrooms and wheelchairs.

Nine out of 10 doctors agree sex is good for you, or at least better for you than smoking. But what happens if you have a disability that makes it difficult to engage in sex, or find a sexual partner in the first place? Enter sex surrogates, professionals who help the disabled work through their sexual problems (in large part by having sex with them). Although there's a case to be made for the medical, if not psychological, benefits sex surrogates provide, they're operating in a legal gray area.

In the latest Mostly Weekly, host Andrew Heaton makes the case that we should all be adults about sex and not deprive the disabled of services from which they'd benefit.

Mostly Weekly is hosted by Andrew Heaton, with headwriter Sarah Rose Siskind.

Script by Sarah Rose Siskind with writing assistance from Andrew Heaton and Brian Sack.

Edited by Austin Bragg and Siskind.

Produced by Meredith and Austin Bragg.

Theme Song: Frozen by Surfer Blood.

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Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Eidde||

    The accompanying picture shows a man in a wheelchair with a hot chick, but we all know how "disability" will be defined to include the cognitively impaired, the "pathologically" shy, people who are too mentally ill to work, maybe even the ugly people.

    So if that's the road you want to go down - and it will of course include state subsidized "services" at least for the disabled poor - then just say so.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Imagine the impact on the VA budget for disabled veterans, old veterans, PTSD.

    There is an old joke about private insurance and blow jobs.

  • Eidde||

    You'd think Reason would be once bitten twice shy over allying with social liberals, what with the gay marriage thing.

    "Will you support our cool new tolerance-based love plan which only hating haters could oppose?"

    "Of course, sign us up, and we'll totally insult and abuse everyone who isn't on board. Of course, we have a couple libertarian-based reservations about freedom of association and free expression..."

    "Shut up, are you with us or not?"

    "We're with you. Hey, we just noticed that you're practicing violations of freedom of association and free speech! Hello, are you listening, where are you, my valued allies?"

  • Mcgoo95||

    You must be new around here...

  • Zeb||

    Partially agreeing with someone on an issue is not the same thing as allying with them.

    Are you saying that people should not express their views on subjects when political enemies might agree on some points? That's kind of a ridiculous position to take, don't you think?

  • Eric||

    And how has that alliance with the fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party served Libertarians?

  • Agammamon||

    Aaaaand how does legalizing - even partially - sex work have any tie in to the gay marriage fiasco?

  • arm||

    Simple. Libertarian view is to legalize sex work.... end of discussion with some small caveats. NOT legalize government sanctioned specific sex work chosen at random by whatever lobbying group has pull at the moment, then end up subsidizing it in unforeseen ways in perpetuity.

    Essentially the same thing with gay marriage... libertarian view is to get government OUT of the marriage business, freely express yourself and your defined marriage any way you choose, insure couples any way you choose, form binding contracts any way you choose.... again NOT legalize a government sanctioned version of gay marriage pushed by one lobbying group to then use it to thwart other's views/freedoms/beliefs and bring the full weight of the federal and state government against those that believe differently.

  • ||

    Imagine the impact on the VA budget for disabled veterans, old veterans, PTSD.

    Could you imagine sending soldiers to fight and die in war on the promise of sexual favors?

  • Mitsima||

    Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, Caesar, etc., are still trying to figure out how an army works with a 'spoils of war' prohibition.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    "mad.casual|11.17.17 @ 11:33AM|#

    Imagine the impact on the VA budget for disabled veterans, old veterans, PTSD.

    Could you imagine sending soldiers to fight and die in war on the promise of sexual favors?"

    The roman army once invaded a city just to rape the women. So yes it's been done and lot too in history.

  • Paloma||

    How about just give them copies of porn videos? I see no reason they or anyone else should be SUPPLIED with partners.

  • Agammamon||

    You're right. And while we're at it, let's just give them some pamphlets about medication also. After all, I see no reason why they or anyone else should be SUPPLIED with medicine.

  • chemjeff||

    So keeping some service illegal even for the unsubsidized customers is okay because of the fear that the service might be subsidized at some time in the future?

    Pot should stay illegal because its medical use might be subsidized by government-run health care plans?

  • chemjeff||

    No I don't think that's it. I am just skeptical of the argument that expanding liberty is bad if it means the welfare state *might* also expand. I mean, for every possible human action, it is possible to imagine some clever politician inventing a subsidy (or a penalty) for that action. Should we then stop expanding the sphere of liberty based on these fears?

  • chemjeff||

    Well then maybe that's it and he's just a prude.

  • Eric Bana||

    Yes.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know if I'd say prude. Eddie's an interesting character. More of a Catholic moralist. But he has his moments.

  • Zeb||

    Well, his second whale after abortion.

  • Agammamon||

    I don't think that's the same Eddie from before.

  • Paloma||

    Agree with Chemjeff. Everything that's not illegal doesn't need to be subsidized. Marriage is also beneficial to people, does the government need to find husbands and wives for people?

  • Bubba Jones||

    I would legalize sex for money. Then we don't have to medicalize it.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, that would seem to be the obvious liberty minded solution.

  • Qsl||

    I recall during the late 80s, "sex therapist" was a thing. While I imagine there were some credible ones out there, most seem to be flighty women convinced of the transformative healing powers of their crotch, complete with chakras and incense. That sort of thing. Essentially prostitution with more window dressing, or maybe a kinder, gentler dominatrix dressed in business casual instead of leather.

    But that was for the non-hideous. For the hideous, there were sex dolls.

    And apparently there was (is?) quite the trade of sex dolls for the maimed or otherwise unfuckable even by sex surrogates.

    Beyond the problems of distinguishing medical services from a trip to the Moonlite BunnyRanch and other problems, your objection falls in the same line as addiction treatment or other mental health. i.e. the clutching at pearls over needle exchanges.

    While the libertarian position on public health is at best vague (whaddya mean quarantine, slaver), I can't see VA administered brothels any time soon, especially when sex dolls are confiscated at the border for looking too young.

  • Agammamon||

    Gosh, you're right. We can't allow that. Because then, like 'medical' marijuana, once 'disabled' people get to partake and the rest of society see unequivocal evidence that its not, you know, actually harmful to society, they might not support the repression of sex workers in general anymore.

  • Eidde||

    "be adults" is a conversation-stopper which is not based on adulthood, but on high-school level insults and shaming.

  • H. Farnham||

    "Legalize medically-assisted sex"????

    Umm I think we learned our lesson with legalizing medical marijuana. It was obviously a gateway legislation to legal recreational marijuana. You're just trying to turn the whole U.S. into whore island, HEATON!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    HEATOOOOOOOON

  • H. Farnham||

    Hm?... Sorry, I was picturing whore island.

    (that's what I imagine Heaton saying if he was answering your despairing cry of consternation)
    (my joke is funny because I have to explain it... it's also an 'Archer' reference)

  • Mitsima||

    Next, beer fountains and stripper factories.

    We been spending most our lives working towards a Pastafarian paradise.

  • Aloysious||

    I laughed.

    Andrew Heaton, the next Casanova.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Will ugly people be considered "disabled" for this therapy? Asking for a friend.

  • Hicks||

    "Severe appearance deficit" to be included in DSM XX

  • WC Varones||

    I want Obamacare to mandate coverage.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    What's the difference between this and prostitution? Other than that people may be more sympathetic to this.

  • Mitsima||

    What's the difference between prostitution and a hookup after dinner?

  • Bubba Jones||

    You don't have to ask the prostitute to leave?

  • Tom Bombadil||

    This should be the definition of 'sexual harassment': Any time some asswipe sticks their nose in anybody else's consensual sex life. We desperately need a new constitutional amendment: The STFU Amendment.

  • ||

    I would add that there needs to be some manner of exclusivity and/or sunset clause around the statute of limitations as well.

    This crap about the NYT hearing that someone kissed someone inappropriately at an Xmas party 30+ yrs. ago has got to stop. If the people assaulting and assaulted are largely at peace with it and you bring up their sexual indiscretions in an attempt to discredit them I'd say that's harassment.

  • Longtobefree||

    kissed someone inappropriately at an Xmas

    Like, no mistletoe?

  • chemjeff||

    Medically Assisted Sex? Sounds like every weekend at Crusty's house.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    +1 Sounding

  • NoVaNick||

    So, if deemed medically necessary and covered by insurance, a $50 BJ will cost $5000...

  • creech||

    During the recent "sex trafficking crisis" (I assume we've moved on to opioids?) a puritan scold was brought in to enlighten a church group on the evils of paid sex. During q&a I asked that question: "Why don't you want the disabled gay man (the church had recently decided to permit gays to marry in the church), or the painfully shy and combat disfigured guy, or the socially inept and obese woman, to experience the joy of sex?" Basically the answer was "well we can't condone pre-marital or extra marital sex, but especially not for money." I said, "But would you prosecute a woman who provided sex for a trip to Cancun and a diamond bracelet?" Answer: "Those are private transactions but sex for money is public and creates all sorts of hazards and exploitation of women. Next question?"

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You hit on a very common distinction made in the public space. Money versus goods being exchanged. Money is deemed special and suspect, while barter is considered more... natural perhaps? Regardless, they are divorced from one another and that is probably not correct.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Barter is not really seen as commerce. And more than that, without an explicit agreement between the two, I think people view it more as gift-giving than as barter or an exchange. That's what feels more 'natural,' as it's something we do in our own lives with people we know. You can be an economist and point out that it's functionally similar to paying a prostitute, but to people it still feels like a more personal interaction, which will always trounce impersonal commercial interactions. Even if a prostitute and john know each other better and have a deeper rapport than a dude with some arm candy.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yes, I understand that it derives from feeling. Money is often viewed as special, some aspect of our fall from grace. That's probably no small part the appeal of Socialism, is that commerce is viewed, and is emotionally felt, as unseemly to many people.

  • Zeb||

    Well, it's also that when you are paying money for sex, there is an explicit agreement about what the deal is. And even if money isn't exchanged, I believe that direct barter for sex is considered illegal prostitution as well. And if you are dating someone and just give them cash gifts and they fuck you, it's not prositution. I think it come more down to the immediacy and explicitness of the transaction that is happening. You buy the person you are dating gifts with some expectation that they will have sex with you at some point. You give a prostitute money and you know you are going to have sex right now.

    Of course none of it should be illegal and it's nuts that two consenting adults can't make any arrangement they want.

  • ace_m82||

    Worst of all worlds:

    A "church" that denies all things the Bible says about those who practice homosexual acts. Denies validity of Scripture, ergo not "Christian" (by any useful meaning).

    A (let's call it a) "religious organization" that still holds that non-marital sex is wrong, but you'd need to recognize the validity of Scripture in order to do so. Ergo, logical inconsistency.

    A religious organization that insists that one must use men-with-weapons against unbelievers for failing to obey God's commands, which is NOT found anywhere in Scripture. And, if you'll notice, they already aren't believers for selectively denying the validity of Scripture! So you have unbelievers trying to use violence to force other unbelievers act like believers ...according to their application of non-existent Scripture!

    That's so jacked up, I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other ways this is terrible, but I sincerely don't want to think about them right now!

  • Brandybuck||

    Why is everyone here assuming that this means that the taxpayer has to subsidize sex work. Why is everyone assuming Reason is advocating subsidies for sex? Jeepers Cripes peeple, get a clue.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    My only question is the one I gave above. How is this different from prostitution other than people might be more sympathetic to this?

  • Longtobefree||

    The same way opiods from the pharmacy are legal, and the ones from the street outside the pharmacy are not.
    It has to do with who gets the revenue, and who gets the power.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I wouldn't say that Reason is advocating such a thing. I would say that some posters might be expecting the worst overall, just because of some of the arguments that are commonly advanced on similar topics, e.g. if the government doesn't pay for or force some third party to pay for women's birth control, that's "denying access" to birth control. I don't know that you have to be too cynical to expect that someone would try to apply it to sex work as well.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, I don't know. Eddie started it because it's one of his hobby horses.

    I get annoyed with the notion that if you support something that progressives/the left/whatever also supports you are allying with them and want exactly the same outcome as they do.

    Of course there is no contradiction in saying that this should be legal and not subsidized by taxpayers and that all consenting adult sex work should also be legal.

  • Eidde||

    I'd like to comment a bit more on this.

    Of course, the pure libertarian position would be that single persons have the right to have sex with each other, even for pay. And there's a *practical* argument for allowing married persons to utilize prostitutes, even if this is contrary to the marriage relation - so it's not a question of libertarian purism, as I love to antagonize people by pointing out.

    But I'm simply suggesting that to be taken seriously, when calling for the legalization of prostitution, Reason should make clear that they're not jumping on board some progressive cause - they failed to make this particularly clear with gay marriage, denouncing the people who tried to protect free association and individual conscience and then belatedly posting amicus briefs and brickbats defending free association and individual conscience.

    So here's the same script again - jumping on board the prog train and disclaiming any responsibility for what their allies do, until much later.

    If they start early distinguishing themselves from the progs, if they put forward a specifically libertarian program, and if they specifically ally themselves tactically with whoever happens to support this or that part of the program, then their credibility would be better.

  • Eidde||

    So they can start early denouncing the idea of state-subsidized "sex therapists" - or they can believe the initial protestations of the progs that of course they're not endorsing any such thing...well OK they are and anyone who doesn't agree is a horrible person.

    With gay marriage, they sometimes added a few to be sures about how "marriage equality" shouldn't mean forced association, but whenever some icky person on the right tried to take measures to clarify this point, the priority was to attack the mean right-wingers - even going so far as to ignore local gay-rights ordinances in Arizona and focus on the lack of a statewide law, to "prove" that no protection of religious freedom and free association was necessary.

  • Eidde||

    I'll believe Reason is actively opposing the progs on this when I hear the shrieks on the left about how those awful Koch-funded libertarians won't let poor people have hookers because you need money for that!

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    The Progs jumped off the hooker legalization train when feminism went Marxist. Now it's all commodification and patriarchy and sex is rape and the fear that, somewhere, a cis gendered male with money might be enjoying himself. We can't allow something like that now, can we?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nobody can be everybody without me. But I can imagine how wishful thinking might get the better of the usual sockpuppets, who prolly haven't had a date since the state legislature banned glory holes at AL-Anon meeting houses.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    We could eliminate government spending on food stamps overnight if only we outlawed the buying and selling of food. So obvious.

  • TGoodchild||

    Good work, Andrew.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Didn't docs routinely to stimulate women to orgasm as part of standard practice treatment for hysteria or some such?

    Uh, yup.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    10/10

  • John C. Randolph||

    Is this going to be like medical marijuana cards?

    -jcr

  • Longtobefree||

    Just use the same card, maybe?
    Or a carry permit?
    Anything to show that the cops know what you are up to, and can grab some tax revenue.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    This is only the first step. In a Progressive paradise, those few that own most of a desired commodity are to be forced into redistribution to the needy majority.

    So hot chicks will have to get used to sharing the wealth.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I think there is more than enough precedent for hot chicks having to share the wealth. I mean, nazi baker homo cakes and all...

  • Hank Phillips||

    Like... when Soviet troops rolled into Berlin in 1945?

  • Longtobefree||

    Is no one going to point out that sex is generally a clothes free zone?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Now you're pushing the envelope. Next you'll be saying we can have our eyes open...

  • ||

    My favorite bad law in this regard is Minnesota's statute which makes having sex with a vulnerable adult to be a form of statutory rape. There is no exception for a married couple.

  • Mark22||

    Remember: it's not truly "legalized" until taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab under Obamacare.

  • Hank Phillips||

    But... I thought prosciutto was already legal here.

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