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Barrier-Free Brothels

The situation for men with disabilities is better than it is for either able-bodied or disabled women who want sexual satisfaction. There are several health clubs and delivery health clubs that specifically target people with disabilities, and they openly advertise their services on the internet.3 For example, one “barrier-free delivery health club,” La Mer, has a price list on its web site for a basic course for beginners that includes “hand service” and “lotion service” for sixty or ninety minutes (around $150 and $230 respectively). For a bit more money, there is a special course that includes “all nude; soft-touch; six-nine; kissing; and raw fellatio,” with paid options for “lotion play; bare skin; vibrator play; ejaculation in the mouth; and holy water.”4 these prices seem approximately in line with those of regular health clubs, but many people with disabilities in Japan are on social welfare and might have difficulty paying regularly for these services.

Accessible health clubs that i found on the web include the following: the aforementioned La Mer in Kumamoto City, tokimeki in Hiroshima, and Delikea in Okayama. Judging from the web sites, all focus only on providing female services to male clients. There is no mention of male providers to female clients with disabilities or of any gay or lesbian services. Furthermore, all three are in small, regional cities and not in central tokyo or Osaka. One theory is that perhaps they are located in areas where the police or foreign media will not bring too much attention to them. I think a more convincing argument is that residents of tokyo and Osaka are more able to request that their personal care attendants take them to regular soaplands and health clubs or that they use regular delivery health services in their own homes or hotels.

Figure 8.1

La Mer Web site price list

In 2005, Ōmori Miyuki published a tell-all book titled I Was a Health Delivery Girl for People with Disabilities. This was a best-selling biography that chronicled the author's own experiences in the trade. Ōmori had worked in the regular sex trade (soaplands) when she came across an article by the founders of a call-girl service that specialized in people with disabilities that explained why they had created their company. Ōmori's reaction was as follows:

The article read something like this: “Like the need for food and sleep, everyone has sexual needs but for people with disabilities the reality is that the last item is seen as taboo. Because of this, there are numerous problems in the world of home-helpers [i.e., personal care attendants and home health-care workers] such as clients who touch the breasts or buttocks of the helpers, hug them, or talk incessantly about sexual topics. We created this organization for these types of customers.”

At the time that i read this, i thought that my six months of Experience at a brothel [fūzokuten] in tokyo might actually be able to be put to use helping other people. It was perhaps at this point that i decided to work there.

But to be honest, there was another reason why i was attracted to the notion of [catering to] only people with disabilities and that ultimately led to my making up my mind. with able-bodied people, there is always the danger of them using physical force to coerce you to go all the way raw (i.e., without using a condom or other prophylactic). Not only that, but sometimes it even leads to murder. In reality there have been several cases of delivery-health girls that have been killed at hotels.

But in the case of people with disabilities, although there might be some variation, i thought that there was a lower possibility of a person with disabilities violating me by force. In my calculations, i thought that it would be easier for me to run away [from the client] in the event of something happening.

There was another reason why i chose the health delivery industry even though my previous experience in soaplands had been that i didn't have the confidence to get people off unless they penetrated me. I had been hesitant to go into health delivery for able-bodied people for that reason. But i had this feeling that customers with disabilities, in comparison, weren't that experienced with women,

So perhaps someone like me, who didn't have really good technique, might still be able to get customers off with just my mouth and hands. That i would be useful to other people [yaku ni tatsu] was the second reason, to be honest with you. The primary reasons were that the hourly pay was good and there was less danger of being violated. Although i had never studied nursing care or social welfare—or even expressed any interest in those topics previously or had any occasion to be concerned with them—there was the possibility that i would

Be able to do something that a normal home-helper couldn't. The thought that i could do something that was of use to others was like a breath of fresh air. (Ōmori 2005, 37–39)

As is clear, Ōmori did not go into the business knowing much about disability issues. Through interactions with her clients, she gained a better understanding of what it meant to have a disability. The timing of the book, however, suggests that Ōmori was simply riding the crest of a booming interest in Sexuality and disability that had been spurred by a book that had come out a few months earlier.

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