DID YOU SEE: Out Magazine on sex work as health care

The latest issue of Out magazine contains an honest, open essay by Andrew Gurza called “Price of Intimacy” in which the author describes his quest for nurturing erotic contact and his nourishing experience with a sacred intimate practitioner.

price of intimacy illo                                                              Illustration by Emiliano Ponzi

“I’d never considered the price of intimacy until I hired a sex worker,” Gurza begins. “Though I’d been learning to embrace my life in a wheelchair—a result of cerebral palsy—going without touch, or even access to my own body, was taking a toll. Even so, I didn’t come to my decision lightly. I was worried about shame, stigma, and fear, and concerned I’d pay for time and still not get what I needed. I spent weeks quieting the voices in my head telling me that using the services of a sex worker was not a good idea. Would this be the only way I could find intimacy? Would someone even want to do this with me, or would he only view it as a charitable opportunity to help a cripple? Despite all these questions, I sat in my apartment reflecting on my nearly year-long celibacy. It was time to take care of myself.”

The encounter he describes sound moving and hot. It reminded me of the movie The Sessions, based on a similar article by Mark O’Brien, a man living with cystic fibrosis who engages the services of a sexual surrogate partner.

It takes a lot of courage for anybody — whether well-bodied or differently abled — to see sexual healing from a professional. And although sex workers come in many sizes and shapes, skills and motivations, there are practitioners who know what they’re doing and can facilitate transformative pleasurable encounters.

Check out Gurza’s article here and let me know what you think. You can also check out the article I wrote on “Sex Work as Health Care,” adapted from a talk I gave at one of several Gay Men’s Health Summits in Boulder, Colorado.

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