It is one of the most unusual, and rarest, jobs in the country: Larry Villarin is a certified male sex surrogate, one of only 10 in the US sanctioned by the International Professional Surrogates Association. But as a profile at Broadly makes clear, the 62-year-old Villarin is not to be confused with a male gigolo. His role is to help clients "cope with their fears and anxieties about physical intimacy," writes Natalie O'Neill, and sex is just one component of that. The story uses the example of a 35-year-old woman who had shied away from intimacy her entire adult life because a car accident as a teenager left her blind in one eye. She'd never even been kissed until her sessions with Villarin. "She needed to believe I wouldn't laugh at her or run away," he says. "It was beautiful to see her open up."
On its website, IPSA says "it is committed to promoting healthy attitudes toward sexuality and intimacy in our clients and in the community," and the story explains that it gets around prostitution laws "because it doesn't acknowledge intercourse is part of the practice." Villarin says his clients range in age from 22 to 75, with milestone birthdays seemingly one of the big triggers. Most are referred to him from a psychologist, with survivors of abuse and women with disabilities among those reaching out. One of the tricky parts is setting boundaries so the clients don't confuse the physical intimacy with romantic feelings for Villarin. "It's just growth—what humans are capable of," he says. "Gosh, it's intimate stuff." Click for the full story. (This study has concluded how often happy couples have sex.)