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What prostitution can do for disabled people

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Katie Price, previously known as Jordan, has a well-established image as a model and is currently putting her mark on the world as a loving mother.

As for every mother, it is hard to figure out what the right thing to do for your children is, but for Price it has proven to be more difficult than for others as it has landed her in the middle of a heated debate.

Just over a week ago, Price confessed that she is considering hiring a prostitute for her son, Harvey, once he turns 18. Due to Harvey’s disabilities, Price is concerned that he will miss out on having sexual experiences and is thus, like many other disabled people, turning towards the sex industry to find a solution.

Katie Price isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last person to consider this. In fact, Price’s idea to do this came up in a discussion with bestselling author Kathy Lette, who hired a prostitute for her son when he was 21. A similar situation also came to light in Channel 4’s documentary Can Have Sex, Will Have Sex, in which a mother hired a sex worker for her 26-year-old son so he could lose his virginity.

While the idea that disabled people ‘need’ prostitutes in order to have sex may be demeaning, as it creates the assumption that they are not desired. The fear, however, of missing out on sex is an actual concern amongst some disabled people. 

This partly arises from how disabled people are portrayed in movies and series. They are, with a few exceptions, left out of any romantic scenes and are usually the object of pity or inspiration. Even though the latter characteristic is in no way harmful, the lack of a romantic interest for disabled characters in movies can be very discouraging for disabled people.  

Not only does it affect them, but it also adds to the general public’s perception of disabled people. In an interview with the BBC, Asta Philpot, a 25-year-old man who suffers from arthrogryposis, a condition which causes reduced joint mobility, even said that “people look at disabled people as not being able to have a relationship”.

Consequently, 70% of Britons would not consider having sex with someone who has a physical disability according to The Observer’s sex poll of 2008. It is thus understandable that many disabled people turn to prostitutes to fulfil that desire. 

Frankly, sex is an important part of our lives and it is how we reproduce and survive. Additionally, medical research has also shown the many positive aspects of sex and the negative consequences when it is missing.

The DSM-5, a diagnostic tool used by the American Psychiatric Association, even identifies two disorders that are a consequence of a lack of sex. The Female Sexual Interest Disorder and the Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder both recognise that sexual disinterest can result in psychological disorders, such as depression.

Having sex, on the other hand, can, according to some studies, improve people’s mental and physical health. While some of those effects may only be to a small extent, it can definitely build confidence.

Asta Philpot also finds this to be true as he had more self-esteem after he decided to lose his virginity in a licensed brothel in Spain: "I feel more confident with girls. I'm totally for it [prostitution]. Not one regret. Disabled people are so sheltered and protected, in an institutionalised force field."

Not only for people with a physical disability but also for people who suffer from a mental disability, turning to a prostitute might be freeing. For people who suffer from autism, for example, it is more challenging to develop social skills or effectively communicate and a boost in confidence may improve that. It will not cure autism, but the confidence they potentially gain could improve their communication skills. 

For disabled people, prostitution may just seem like the most accessible solution to get a sexual experience without feeling uncomfortable. Even though the idea of disabled people finding sexual experiences in other ways is plausible, the doubt that arises from their portrayal in movies and what people generally perceive of them adds to their lower self-esteem.

Katie Price probably just has the same concerns about her son and while her intentions are good, in the end, it is still Harvey’s decision to make. Whatever he decides though, sex is enjoyed by most of the world’s population, so why should it be any different for the disabled?




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