Patients With Benefits
Meet the real sex surrogate from "The Sessions"
- Fox Searchlight Pictures/Photofest
So this is it, I think as I'm led into what looks like a guest room. Three windows, shutters partially closed, face the backyard; a queen-size bed sits center stage. It's pretty unremarkable as beds go, with white-and-beige plaid sheets, a pair of pale blankets, and a dream catcher hanging overhead. It isn't exactly what I'd expected, but then, I really didn't know what to expect. This is the bedroom that Cheryl Cohen Greene shares with her husband—and hundreds of other men. Call it her home office.
Cohen Greene isn't a prostitute. She's a sexual surrogate, someone paid to teach men—late-in-life virgins, the disabled, abuse or trauma victims, and those with erectile dysfunction, Asperger's syndrome, self-esteem issues, phobias, or crippling performance anxiety—to get it up and get it on, first with her and then, in theory, in relationships with real partners. Cohen Greene is a certified sexologist with a doctorate in human sexuality (DHS) from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco; for 19 years, she was a member of the San Francisco Sex Information training staff, which provides sex info free of charge through its website and hotline. As a surrogate, her technique is more show than tell: Part lover, part wife, part shrink, part confidante, she guides men through relaxation techniques and eventually through their and her erogenous zones, teaching them how to communicate, how to touch, how to be touched.
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