Surrogate Partner Therapy: Ethical Considerations in Sexual Medicine


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Abstract

Introduction.Surrogate partner therapy (SPT) is a controversial and often misunderstood practice.Aim.The aim of this study was to review the history and evidence-based literature regarding SPT, describe and provide a model for ethical SPT practice, and present two case examples illustrating ethical concerns.Methods.Literature review and report of clinical experience were the methods used.Main Outcome Measure.Results of literature review and clinical experience were assessed for this study.Results.Sex therapy pioneers Masters and Johnson introduced surrogacy in sex therapy; however, there is a lack of published evidence supporting treatment efficacy and ethico-legal questions have limited the practice from becoming a common intervention. SPT can be an effective intervention that may enhance sexual medicine practice. However, SPT must be offered according to legal, professional, and ethical standards.Conclusions.Sexual medicine practitioners should consider SPT based on the ethical paradigms offered, and sex therapy practices utilizing SPT should collect and publish outcome data.

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