CNN/Lisa Ling & Surrogate Partner Therapy!

SPT has been in the news off and on for it’s entire existence – sometimes in a positive light and sometimes not. This time – we have the amazing Lisa Ling and her documentary series ‘This is Life’ – she did an episode (Season 4 episode 1) about ‘Sexual Healing’.


This episode featured two types of healing; one of them being Surrogate Partner Therapy. One of my amazing colleagues, Emiko, and two of her clients are featured in the video.

This is moving – real – honest – and a wonderful peek into this amazing type of therapy.

I’ll be sending Lisa an email to thank her for showing this work in the light and respect it deserves.

You can find it by googling “this is life sexual healing” or through this LINK.

In Depth Look Into SPT – 3 Video Interviews

Two of my fabulous IPSA colleagues were interviewed for a three part series in Charlottesville, SC. I am so excited to share the links to this three part series – please watch ALL of them – I’m so proud of their representation and clarity of this life changing work.

You’ll hear from two therapists with their opposite views. And that’s OK!

Please note – there’s a great segment about Surrogate Partner Therapy and the stance of the law. Also note; there has never been any type of legal issue with SPT surrogates, therapists or clients.

What It’s Really Like To Have a Surrogate Partner

This is an article that was sent to me recently – it was published just last year by Moushumi Ghose on – here’s the direct link:

I found the article to be very positive and I love how she makes sure to acknowledge the importance of working with a therapist in conjunction with a surrogate partner……’s a re-post of the article…..

What It’s Really Like To Have a Surrogate Partner

This team approach to sex therapy does more than alter your sex life, it can change your life.

As a psychotherapist, working with and specializing in sex and sexuality, I have had the honor of working with and observing the highly effective and life changing therapeutic process known as Surrogate Partner Therapy.

What is Surrogate Partner Therapy, you ask? Well you may have seen the movie The Sessions, and perhaps the Showtime series Masters of Sex, and if so, you might have a basic idea already of what it is, but as TV and film can be limited, its important to know there’s a lot more to the ideas behind this therapy.

Surrogate Partner Therapy, or SPT, purports to help women and men who have had traumatic life or sexual experiences in their past, and/or people who have had trouble with sex, intercourse, or orgasm due to pain or other organic causes.

Surrogate Partner Therapy can help with painful intercourse for women, body image, and learning to become comfortable with your sexuality, body, and helps deal with specialties such as disabilities etc., but in my experience and observation surrogate partner therapy is so much more.

Often seen as strange, because the surrogate partner — who works in tandem with professionals like psychotherapists or psychologists — does get intimately involved with the client, and this, unfortunately, is seen as weird in our society, and in many cases downright unacceptable.

But if you were having intimacy issues and trouble getting off the ground in sexual relationships, wouldn’t you want to know about a solution that could really help? In a society where sexuality is already repressed, in the sense that we don’t quite feel comfortable talking about it, we’re constantly bombarded with sexy images, which leads to a nation of fetishizing, hiding, self shaming, and more, SPT can help society to shed some of this subtle repression, and in this way I do see that SPT is gaining more and more acceptance as people become more aware of it and it’s purpose.

If I could, I would have the clients that I have worked with write testimonials, but I can’t. As a therapist, I’m bound by confidentiality laws, of course, but what I’ve seen is that many frustrated, lonely, scared single and coupled people have gone on to live fully functioning and fulfilling adult lives full of sex, intimacy, and all the other joys (and pitfalls, too) that go along with having satisfying long term relationships.

Surrogate Partner Therapy is not just about sex, it’s a process in which individuals can learn to have successful long term relationships not just with other, but with sex, and most of all with themselves. 

What makes SPT more effective than sex therapy alone? Sex therapy is generally talk-therapy based, and though many people achieve a lot of succes via insight and have the ability to manifest and make changes on their own, some people find the limitations that brought them into therapy in the first place often prevent them from moving forward without some physical role modeling and practical experience.

Sex therapy via talk therapy focuses on theories, but putting them into practice is left solely up to the client. Another limitation of talk therapy is when individuals come into therapy alone. We as individuals are hard pressed to make changes by insight alone, coupled with the fact that often we may be blind to our own limitations.

We cannot properly disclose issues we are unaware of. Couples, family, and group therapy therefore provide the therapist with a bigger picture of the dynamic the client has in social, family, work and other settings in which he or she reports having concerns. Surrogate Partner Therapy provides the client with a one-on-one personal guide and partner towards healing.

Consider a woman who has pain during intercourse, or painful intercourse.

This seemingly small yet significant fact prevents her from going on dates, it prevents her from even talking to men, it even prevents her in many cases from making eye contact or associating with men altogether. The fear is always there. She cannot close the deal because she’ll suffer in pain, and this brings a great deal of embarrassment, humilitaion and shame.

This, in turn, has a profound effect on her self esteem. She doesn’t feel like a whole woman. She’s missing out on life experiences. After working with a surrogate partner who provided her a safe space to explore, expand, grow, and develop her interpersonal skills, whether they be sexual, physical, or emotional, she now not only experiences wetness, pleasure and arousal during sex; she feels safe in her own skin. Surrogate Partner Therapy provided her with not only the corrective physical experience, but the corrective emotional experience as well.

Consider the man who suffers from erectile dysfunction or premature/rapid ejaculation.

He’s very much affected in the same way to his core. It affects every aspect of his life from dating to meeting women, to having succesful and satisfying relationships. It develops into low self esteem, depression, and low confidence. SPT can alleviate all these symptoms by dealing with some core issues.

Surrogate Partner Therapy is not for social or sexual outcasts either, just about everyone I know, no matter how liberated and open minded, could probably benefit from SPT, or at least exposure to some of the concepts.

SPT combines concepts found in sex research — think Masters and Johnson’s Sensate Focus — a set of specific sexual exercises for couples or for individuals aimed at increasing personal and interpersonal awareness of self and the other’s needs, and to focus on their own varied sense experience, rather than to see orgasm as the sole goal of sex.

This is combined with some more new age-styled and Eastern philosophies, such as mindfulness, meditation, and breathing, staying in the present moment, focusing on the breath and ultimately focusing on the body. The long term effects of Surrogate Partner Therapy are not just that it improves your sex life and intimate relationships, but can improve your dating life, your relationships with friends, and family, your relationship with your career, and so on. By learning to become truly connected to your sexuality, through your mind and body you open doors that you never even knew were closed.

Surrogate Partner Therapy is a team process facilitated by a certified Surrogate Partner in tandem with a licensed psychotherapist, such as myself. If you’re interested in more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discover the life changing process known as Surrogate Partner Therapy.


Thanks for the positive article!

Porn Addiction?

I recently came across this article in a friend’s facebook feed and thought it was fantastic! Many people are using the term ‘porn addiction’ too easily. Many studies are finding that this stigma can cause depression and anxiety in many people that use porn as a sexual fantasy aid.

Here’s the link to the article:

What Is Surrogate Partner Therapy? (An Interview)

I recently came across an interview with my IPSA mentor, Vena Blanchard that I thought was just amazing. I wish every potential client and therapist would read through it; it answers so many questions! Here’s the link to the interview. I didn’t want to re-post it here because it’s already written up nicely for you there.

Here are some of the interview questions (go to the link to read the responses):

How effective is surrogate partner therapy, in comparison to “pure talk” therapies involving only the client and his or her therapist?

What misconceptions do clients typically have about surrogate therapy, if any?

What misconceptions do therapists sometimes have?

How should the therapist respond if a client begins to focus on the surrogate’s body type as being relevant, before even meeting him or her?

Articles and interviews like this one make me so proud to be a Surrogate Partner Intern working with IPSA!

~ Tara

The Connection Between Drugs & Sexual Issues

When meeting with your therapist about any type of sexual issue; he/she will most likely ask you about any medications you take and any non-prescribed meds you take. The culprit for many issues is often times related to external complications; such as medicines. The article below was found on psychology today and was written by Michael Castleman. I’m re-posting here as it pertains to SPT in many ways; as these are some of the causes and issues we may be finding ourselves working on.

Three drugs are notorious for causing sex problems: alcohol, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Many widely used drugs might impair libido or sexual function—and few doctors or pharmacists mention the possibility.

The key word here is “might.” The drugs discussed below might have sexual side effects, but users are not fated to experience them. Sexual side effects are highly individual. Some people notice no problems while taking, for example, the antidepressant, Paxil, while others take it and lose their libido or can’t raise erections or have orgasms.

Sexual side effects are dose-related. As the dose increases, so does the risk of impairment.

Furthermore, when people develop sex problems, especially when they develop suddenly or for no apparent reason, people may not suspect that the problem is a drug side effect. Sexual drug side effects are common and any medication might cause them.

If you suspect sexual side effects from any drug, first search the Internet. If you find a connection, consult your physician and/or pharmacist. It’s possible that another drug might be substituted that’s less likely to cause sexual impairment.



In Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote that alcohol “provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.” How true. The first drink is disinhibiting, so prospective lovers are easier to coax into bed. But if people of average weight drink more than two beers, cocktails, or glasses of wine in an hour, alcohol becomes a powerful central nervous system depressant that interferes with erection in men and sexual responsiveness in women.


Smoking narrows the blood vessels, including the arteries that carry blood into the genitals. Many studies show that male smokers face a substantial risk of erectile dysfunction. In women, smoking limits blood flow into the vaginal wall, decreasing vaginal lubrication.

In addition, the following over the counter medications have been linked to sex problems:

• Aleve. Erection problems, no ejaculation in men.

• Antihistamines (Benadryl, Dramamine). Erection problems.

• Tagamet. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Zantac. Libido loss, erection problems.


Blood Pressure Medications (antihypertensives)

An enormous number of drugs are prescribed to reduce blood pressure. The bad news is that many have been linked to sexual side effects. The good news is that some are more likely to cause sexual impairment than others. If you experience problems while taking one antihypertensive medication, it’s possible that you can be switched to another drug less likely to cause problems.

Here are the more problematic blood pressure drugs and their most common sexual effects:

• Aldactone. Libido loss, erection problems, decreased vaginal lubrication.

• Aldomet. Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, delayed or no orgasm in women.

• Dibenzyline. Delayed or no ejaculation in men, ejaculation with no release of semen.

• Esidrix. Erection problems.

• Hydro-Diuril. Erection problems.

• Hygroton. Libido loss, erection problems.

• Hylorel. Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men.

• Inderal. Erection problems.

• Ismelin. Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men.

• Normodyne. Erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, with some reports of libido loss and priapism (painful, persistent erection).

• Oretic. Erection problems.

• Propranolol. Erection problems.

• Tenormin. Erection problems.

• Thalitone. Libido loss, erection problems.

• Wytensin. Erection problems.


The most popular antidepressants are the selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), among them: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Luvox. Unfortunately, they are among those most likely to cause sexual side effects.

The more sexually problematic antidepressants include:

• Celexa. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

• Desyrel. Priapism, with possible delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Effexor. Delayed or no ejaculation in men, with possible erection problems.

• Lexapro. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems. (

• Luvox. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

• Nardil. Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Paxil. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

* Pexeva. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

• Prozac. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

• Sarafem. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

• Tofranil. Erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Zoloft. Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible erection problems.

If you experience sexual side effects from antidepressants, ask your doctor if you can switch you to Wellbutrin or Remeron. These antidepressants have occasionally been associated with sexual side effects (libido loss and erection problems), but in general, they are the least problematic.

Anti-Anxiety and Psychiatric Medications

Like alcohol, when drugs alter mood, they often impair sexuality:

• Anafranil. Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Eskalith. Erection problems.

• Lithonate. Erection problems.

• Mellaril. Erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Orap. Erection problems.

• Permitil. Libido loss, erection problems.

• Prolixin. Libido loss, erection problems.

• Sulpitil. Erection problems.

• Supril. Erection problems.

• Thorazine. Erection problems, with possible priapism, libido loss, and delayed or no ejaculation in men and no orgasm in women.

• Trilafon. Delayed or no ejaculation in men.

• Xanax. Delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women, with possible libido loss.

Seizure Medications

Many drugs used to treat seizures and convulsions cause sex problems. Here are the ones most frequently cited:

• Diamox. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Atretol. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Carbatrol. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Dilantin. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Epitol. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Mysoline. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Primidone. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Tegretaol. Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

Miscellaneous Prescription Drugs

Dozens of other medications have been linked to sexual impairment:

• Atromid (cholesterol-lowering). Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Danocrine (endometriosis). Libido loss, sometimes libido boost.

• Digitek. (congestive heart failure). Libido loss, erection problems, with possible breast enlargement in men.

• Digoxin. (congestive heart failure). Libido loss, erection problems, with possible breast enlargement in men.

• Estrogen (hormone replacement therapy). Libido loss.

• Ketoconazole. (antifungal) Libido loss, erection problems.

• Lanoxin. (congestive heart failure). Libido loss, erection problems, with possible breast enlargement in men.

• Methadone (drug addiction). Libido loss, erection problems, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.

• Mintezol (antiparasitic). Erection problems.

• Niacin (high-dose for cholesterol-lowering). Libido loss.

• Niacor ((antifungal) Libido loss, erection problems.

• Nizoral. (antifungal) Libido loss, erection problems.

• Phenobarbitol (sedative). Erection problems, with possible libido loss.

• Valium (anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant). Libido loss, delayed or no ejaculation in men, no orgasm in women.


There’s a good reason why narcotics and tranquilizers are called “downers.” That’s what happens to users’ sexual interest. But “uppers” are no better. Amphetamines and cocaine stimulate sexual desire, but impair orgasm,. With regular use, desire fades as well.

The most sexually unpredictable drug is marijuana. In some, it enhances lovemaking. In others, it’s a sex-killer. And some say its erotic effects depend on the strain, the setting, and their mood.

6 Reasons You Need To Be Touched

freehugsDo you ever feel like you’re living in a bubble, surrounded by people but never touched?

We live in such a busy, crowded world, yet it’s so easy for many of us to go days, even weeks or months without touching or being touched by others.

While you might not notice the effects of not being touched right away, it can negatively affect your mood, your confidence  and your health. We are only beginning to understand the holistic way our bodies work and the relationship between our emotional well being and our physical health.

Here are 6 reasons why you need to be touched on a regular basis.

1. Feel connected to others. We are social beings, and although we all fall in different places on the introversion – extroversion scale, we all need to have that sense of connection to other members of our tribe. While some of that connection can come from having conversations with others, touch also plays an important role in human communication.

2. Reduce anxiety. Simply touching another person can make us feel more secure and less anxious. It can make us feel grounded and safe and not so all alone. It’s not just children who could use a warm, reassuring hug to make things a little better, so if you’re feeling like a bundle of nerves, go ahead and ask for a hug.

3. Bonding. Touch is one of the ways romantic partners bond with each other and parents bond with their children. When partners and families get busy and let touch go out the window, they’ll often find that they don’t feel as close and relationships suffer. Regular touch is one of the ways that we continually renew our bonds with those we love.

4. Lowers your blood pressure. Studies have shown that those that get regular touch often have lower blood pressure than those that don’t. Even having a pet can have beneficial effects! Touch can also slow the heart rate and help speed recovery times from illness and surgery.

5. Improve your outlook. It’s harder to get into a pessimistic funk when you feel the confidence of being connected to others. Touch can make people feel more optimistic and positive and less cynical and suspicious. A positive, trusting attitude towards others can reduce tension in our daily lives and improve our relationships.

6. Give us the sensory input that we crave. Scientists are just discovering how truly important it is to exercise all our physical senses for proper brain and emotional development. All the various kinds of touch from butterfly kisses to deep tissue massage send our brains the physical inputs it needs to make sense of the world. So, along with touching other people and pets, make time to explore different textures and touch sensations such as letting cool sand run through your fingers or taking a warm relaxing bath.

Don’t let yourself get too busy that you starve yourself of touch. It’s important for your physical, mental and emotional well being to touch others and let others touch you.

Learn More About Surrogate Partner Therapy (SPT)

Welcome and thank you for visiting 20130913_185848

You’re here to learn more about Surrogate Partner Therapy and it is my sincere hope to provide you with that information.

Please use the links provided above to learn more about SPT and myself.

I also encourage you to reach out and contact me so that we can talk about SPT one on one. I welcome hearing from therapists and potential clients as well.