We currently hear a lot about sex workers for people with disabilities. Several of you have come to ask me about this, so I thought it was important that I talk to you about it here.
However, I’m not sure I’m the best person to cover this subject — having recovered all feeling and a reasonable motor function, I’m not the example of distress that this bill addresses. Sex work is still quite badly received by many people, but let’s put things in context.
Fact or fiction
Most people have seen the film Untouchables (also known as The Intouchables), haven’t they? At one point they mention that the only place where the main character — a severe quadriplegic — experiences pleasure is in his earlobes. His personal assistant played by Omar Cy then calls upon sex professionals to offer him an evening of pleasure. But this professional thus has to touch only his ears as he would not feel anything anywhere else.
The term ‘sex worker’ is often shocking because it is confused with many taboo things related to professional sexual practices. However, the aim here is not to respond to a simple desire, but to meet a complex need. And it doesn’t always include an act that one would classify as “sex”. Is playing with someone’s ears considered a sexual act?
Using common sense
Now, wouldn’t it be better to make it all official rather than hiding in the shadows as it does currently? Wouldn’t it be healthier to create a practice or even a profession in its own right in a structured, regulated, and protected way than to allow things to happen in any manner at all?
Who has the right to forbid a man or woman to experience even the slightest pleasure for the rest of their life because they have a disability? Should a person give up everything because they aren’t lucky enough to have or find a partner?
Some people are reluctant because they equate sexual assistance work with prostitution, but in 2020 are there still people who are shocked by the oldest profession in the world? Do they believe that it doesn’t or no longer exists? If both parties consent, what right do we have to judge this practice (I repeat and emphasise — if both parties consent)?
Today in France and certain other countries, if an organisation offers to put people with disabilities and sexual companions in contact with each other, it can be denounced for sexual procurement. The relationship with one’s own body, which is difficult when it is no longer 100% functional, involves sexuality and knowledge of yourself and what gives you pleasure. Thus, to deprive a person of sexual assistance would be to stop them reconnecting with themselves; in my opinion, this is just as bad.
And what’s more, many people close their eyes to this… deliberately!