‘I’m disabled and paying for sex’-A BBC documentary

Strolling through the internet can and mostly likely will lead down a spiral of weird google searches but this one… well, came to me as a huge surprise.

Alex Squire is a young disabled man from the UK who has resorted to using escorts because he claims if he did not pay for sex, he’d never experience the things he has. He is wheelchair bound and blogs his life, exploring his disability and sharing his own story with others, which is where his openness to talk about his sex life bloomed. Alex has had girlfriends in the past but claims that there is always problems; that they loose interest, cannot deal with his medical issues or just grow bored. However, he has also used escorts to fulfil his sexual needs. The documentary explores how he has to be hoisted into the bed as he cannot physically pull himself up, then Alex states that once he is on the bed and undressed, the escort can do as she pleases… or he pleases.

One of the female escorts who comments throughout the video on her relationship between sex and disabled partners claims that she escorts gentlemen who have never even been cuddled before, that most of the time it is not a sexual interaction these men desire, just affection. This blew my mind and certainly pulled on the heart strings- that someone has to pay a total stranger for a service that they should receive freely from family or friends. The female sex worker explains that sometimes she is paid for simply spending time with someone, just watching TV with them or chatting to them which she believes is due to the fact she does not treat these men as disabled, purely as payment. She specialises in disabled clients as she was previously a care worker, commenting on how a disabled persons body is ‘very exposed’ to other people but in a non-sexual physical way, they are touched constantly throughout the day, in their intimate reigns in a non-sexual way, she knows this from her own care work. In the video she claims that these individuals loose that sexual connection as they become so numb to being handled by others, which is why she is so passionate about working predominately with disabled clients.

Emily Yates, a charity worker, states that sex work should most certainly be an option for disabled people but should not be the ONLY option. The issue she brings up is that disabled people are expressing that they want to be sexual but all they receive as a reply is, ‘go pay for it then’. Her podcast ‘The Love Lounge’ helps break the taboo of sex workers and disabled clients.

Alex states that if he was on his last £300 (which is the price of one evening with an escort) he would not pay for it, stating that it is a luxury more than a necessity for him. This brings the question of should disabled people pay for sex workers or should there be a discounted price for those with physical and medical needs? But then does this discriminate against those disabled clients further? Alex claims that he only pays for sex when he finically can but is this moral? And of course the issue of disability benefits is brought into the picture, that money is completely theirs to use as they please but of course, people find issue with using that money for sex rather than living cost and bills.

Alex finishes the documentary by explaining how he would want love a long-term relationship but of course there are issues with maintain one as a disabled man. ‘In the meantime escorts are a solution but not a long-term one.’

Interestingly, it is not illegal for care workers to provide their patients with sex workers. They have a legal obligation to care and provide for their patient, to have access to a full healthy life which includes relationships and sex. That even is written in the Equality Act! As explored in the documentary, it is a fundamental human right and if care workers do not give access to pleasures that ‘ordinary’ people have, then they are not providing for their patient.

Graham, sex therapist for disabled individuals; ‘You don’t die from lack of sex like you do with food and water. But really? There are parts that do die.’

Graham states that this is the perfect time for a sex revolution. Society should cooperate with those with needs and help them live a somewhat normal life to their best ability. Graham states that he will not be surprised if a law for sex in relation to escorts and disabled individuals will be national health and mandatory. However, when two thirds of society feel uncomfortable talking to disabled individuals then how can that bridge be created between sex, sex workers and the disabled? How will we get sexual equality?… EDUCATION!

I think we must remind ourselves that those who are disabled are just like us! They have sexual needs but unlike us cannot explore them freely or engage in relationships, we must remember that we are all human and sadly, I think we sometimes forget that. This documentary opened my eyes and reminded me of that fact. The disabled are entitled to the lives that we have and we must provide for them in the best way we can.

 

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