Over that 11 years, 13 women have been accepted from a total of 31 volunteers for assignment as partner surrogates. Their ages ranged from 24 to 43 years when they joined the research program. Although all but two of the women had been previously married, none of the volunteers were married when living their role as a partner surrogate.
The levels of formal education for the partner surrogates were high-school graduate, additional formal secretarial training, college matriculation, college graduates, and postgraduate degrees in biological and behavioural sciences. Nine of the 13 women had a child or children before joining the program.
Ten of these women also were committed to full-time employment outside of their role as partner surrogate; one did part time volunteer work and the remaining two were caring for very young children.
Every effort has been made to screen from this section of the total research population women with whom the cotherapist did not feel totally secure attitudinally or socially, and approximately 60 percent of those women volunteering for roles as partner surrogate were not accepted.
Of the 13 women accepted, 6 had previously served as members of the study-subject population during the physiological investigative phase of the research program, and 7 volunteered their services for this specific Clinical function.
The reasons expressed for such voluntary cooperation were varied but of real significance. During the screening process, each woman was interrogated in depth while the interviewers were acquiring medical, social, and sexual histories from which to evaluate the individual’s potential as a partner surrogate.
The investigation was conducted by male and female interrogators both singly and in teams. If interrogation indicated potential as a substitute partner, the three involved individuals (volunteer and interrogators) discussed this concept in detail, examining both the positive and the negative aspects of such a service.
No attempt ever was made to persuade any woman to serve as a partner surrogate. Volunteers who showed hesitancy or evidence of personal concern were eliminated from this potential role in the research program.
Of major interest was the fact that 9 of the 13 volunteers were interested in contributing their services on the basis of personal knowledge of sexual dysfunction or sex-oriented distress within their immediate family. Three women previously had contended with sexually inadequate husbands.
One man committed suicide, one died in the armed services, and the third, unable to face the psychosocial pressures of his sexual dysfunction, became an alcoholic. This man’s loss of security in his male role led to divorce, following which the woman volunteered as a partner surrogate.
In five instances there was positive history of sexually oriented trauma within the immediate family. The traumatic episodes varied from teenage gang rape of a younger sister to failure of a brother’s marriage due to his overt homosexual orientation. Of the remaining four volunteers, three women had more prosaic reasons for essaying the role of a partner surrogate.
The expressed needs were unresolved sexual tensions, a need for opportunity of social exchange, and an honest interest in helping dysfunctional men repair their ego strengths as sexually adequate males.
Finally, a physician, frankly quite curious about the partner-surrogate role, offered her services to evaluate the potentials (if any) of the role. When convinced of the desperate need for such a partner in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in the unmarried male, she continued as a partner surrogate, contributing both personal and professional experiences to develop the role to a peak of effectiveness.
The therapists are indeed more than indebted to this intelligent woman. Many of her suggestions as to personal approaches and psychosocially supportive techniques are original contributions to therapeutic process. They are solidly incorporated in the total investigative effort directed toward relief of male sexual inadequacy.
Her contributions to the treatment program range far beyond substantiating the basic contribution inherent in the role of partner surrogate.