Sexual healing in the Israeli military

The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

Sexual healing in the Israeli military

Thursday, 15 April

Soldiers returning from the line of duty with injuries affecting sexual performance are universal to all militaries around the world, but Israeli psychologist Dr Ronit Aloni set about making hers the only nation that offers a unique therapeutic approach to restoring the sexuality of their troops as a matter of course: surrogate partner therapy (SPT), or sexual surrogacy. After studying the niche treatment in the US in the early nineties, Dr Aloni conducted studies, lobbied the government and met with religious leaders in order to make this therapy, considered fringe and often taboo in other nations, available to those who need it via Ministry of Defense funding. But why is Israel alone in this? The therapy is best described as traditional psychotherapy combined with intimate sexual therapy with a surrogate lover, in every form that can mean, and it was Dr Aloni’s dogged belief in its life-changing benefits for her clients that caused her to pursue provision for the troops. For Assignment, Yolande Knell tells the story of that policy through Dr Aloni’s work and her Tel Aviv clinic, the work of surrogate partner Seraphina, and two military veterans who have accessed the service: one of the first to be offered it on the Defense Ministry’s time in the late nineties, and one a conscripted young man paralysed by his injuries who after years of begging for death, says the therapy “restored his humanity.” Producer: Philip Marzouk Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Hand being held in a gesture of comfort. Credit: PeopleImages via Getty)
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