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The Sessions – Movie | Mare Simone

The Sessions – Movie

And What’s it’s Really Like To See a Sex Surrogate

I was certified and began my practice as a Sex Surrogate in 1987. It was a parting gift from my former husband to pay for my training. I now utilize a combination of traditional sex surrogate sensate focus type exercises with techniques which I draw from tantra which raises orgasmic energy to a full-body event.

While auditioning for a sequel to the documentary, The Virgin School, I was informed that “The Sessions“, formerly called “The Surrogate” was soon to be released.  It was already getting rave reviews at the film festivals and I’m sure it will be nominated for Academy awards. I watched the trailers with eager anticipation, I couldn’t wait to see it.  I was already in love with this movie before it hit the theaters!

At the first opportunity I saw it with 2 of my best girlfriends who also provide sex and relationship coaching via tantra and other tools.

We were all moved to tears throughout watching this documentary especially knowing that it’s based on a true and heartwarming story from the autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet, Mark O’Brien, who was disabled from polio when he was a child. In his 30’s he yearned to experience sex with a woman. The involuntary emissions he experienced when bathed by his caretaker; did nothing more than humiliate him due to his lack of control. He couldn’t even physically masturbate to satisfy himself. Can you imagine the frustration of being unable to touch your self to relieve an itch let alone a sexual desire! Upon asking his priest for advice he saw a sex therapist who referred him to see a Sex Surrogate.

The movie revealed deep sentiments, emotions, challenges and the complications that come with being physically handicapped. Plus it
gave us an exhilarating glimpse of the triumphs that can occur with such a powerful therapeutic support system as in a Sex Surrogate  therapy model. This profession was developed by Masters and Johnson – sex therapists and researchers, to help their patients develop sexual confidence and skills as well as transform sexual trauma; by practicing with a skilled, compassionate and supportive partner. Traditionally there are 12 or more sessions needed, or an intensive weekend depending upon the needs of the client. The first half is about building a safe foundation with good communication and intimacy skills.  The second half are more focused on sexual practices and explorations which sometimes though not always, culminate in sexual intercourse.

The final session is traditionally a completion ceremony which is a celebration with gift-giving, acknowledgments and appreciation.

In the film only 6 sessions were allowed, I suppose It’s to avoid emotional attachments to one another, but they did become rather fond of one another that she suggested that they end it abruptly after just 4 sessions.

Mission accomplished. He was no longer a virgin. And he did come to know a women in “the biblical sense” and he was certainly better equipped to experience love with another woman, which apparently happened for the last years of his life.  I’d like to read his journals which he typed holding a stick with his teeth to press upon the keys. Amazing, determination to be self expressed!

What I learned from being a sex surrogate is invaluable and I would recommend this service [and profession] to anyone who wants to learn and practice love and intimacy skills in order to become a better lover with greater confidence and knowledge. I have seen many men and women transform their lives for the better by learning how to express their love physically and emotionally. Being their partner in this process and to hold and support them while they heal and awaken is such an honor for me; and a blessing for all. The process naturally creates a deep intimate and safe foundation for powerful shifts and growth opportunities. And although it can get messy in the midst of emotional release and rebirthing, I believe it’s the quickest and most effective way to heal the emotional and sexual wounding caused by abuse, rape, incest, shame and other violations that interfere developing a healthy sexual life.

Knowing the profession as I do, I wish they portrayed a more conscious model of ending the relationship rather than the drama of the surrogate running away to hide her emotions.To me that’s the most pinnacle part of the relationship is learning to and while maintaining conscious love connection. But that’s Hollywood’s version of the story.

In my surrogate practice our last session was a celebration of gratitude for the intimate times we shared. Our last meeting would be often dinner together to close the ties gracefully and wish each other well. Parting tears was a natural side of a healthy process of breaking up. Working so intimately with a sex surrogate, opens many doors and in some cases wounds from the past much like in a real love relationship will surface in order to be healed.

I am often asked the question about what happens if a client falls in love with me or in the event that a mutual love connection occurs between myself and clients. Traditional therapy refers to this as transference and to be avoided. But from my experience it’s part of the process of learning to love and practicing with someone who’s willing to open their heart as well as their body and soul to access the transformational power of intimate love. As long as they don’t ‘fall’ too deep, it can be a valuable part of the process of opening to love. This process which can trigger mutual feelings of vulnerability so it must be treated with extra sensitivity. I have tasted the bitter sweetness of bonding deeply with someone who’s life transformed before my eyes. And have been on both side of the journey so I know how important it is to be treated with care and grounded, supportive love so that profound growth is the outcome.

“Leave them better than you found them…” is a quote my mentor Charles Muir has often said to me and others he trains to be love coaches in his Source School of Tantra. which I am also an advocate of is very similar in many ways to the practice of Sex Surrogacy. They both deal with improving one’s intimate and sexual skills and help people better express their love. I feel blessed to be adept in both areas and am so happy that this service is finally coming out into the light with dignity and respect.,


Ben Lewin


Ben Lewin (screenplay)


John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy | See full cast and crew

The Sessions, a film by an Australian film-maker husband and wife duo, has taken $267,000 at the box office in its opening weekend.

Written and directed by Ben Lewin and produced by his wife Judi Levine, The Sessions is inspired by a true story and and follows man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity to a professional sex surrogate.

The Fox-distributed film was awarded winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year.


Sound and Pleasure

Hear Mare discuss the role sound plays in pleasure. (2:04)

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