Our next challenge was to train our first surrogate partners. But before we could train them we had to find them. In 1994, surrogate partner therapy was virtually unheard of in the UK and there were no surrogate partners anywhere in the country. Websites were few and far between and even email was used only by the technically initiated. It was as though we stood on a cliff-edge: with a chasm between us—and the first trainee sexual surrogate partners in the UK. What type of people are we looking for? Where will they come from? What will motivate them? What qualifications or attributes do they need? These questions and many more had to be answered before we could proceed.
Naively, but with single-minded confidence in the outcome, we placed a discrete notice in the personal columns of a fringe weekly advertising paper. Time passed with deafening silence in response. Weeks later, the telephone rang, and a woman’s voice nervously asked questions about the role. This extraordinary young woman was to become the first sexual surrogate partner trained by ICASA in the UK. We watched in amazement as one client after another discovered their sexual confidence and left behind their sexual dysfunction as they were led, step by step, through our steadily evolving programme of sexual healing which included the intimacy practices with a surrogate partner. I will always be indebted to her and, ultimately, so will the therapeutic community if and when they eventually embrace the model of sex therapy that she helped us to develop in this country.