Masturbation services

There are a couple of organisations and businesses that have been set up to “lend a helping hand” and offer paid or volunteer masturbation services to people with disability. These include Handisex (Denmark) (2012), White Hands (Japan) (2008) and Hand Angels (Taiwan). Another lesser- known Japanese organisation called Sexual Volunteers (SV) Sakura no Kai describes itself as an organization “that helps people with disabilities masturbate (ji’i) .’’(Nakamura 2014).

Services offered

Only masturbation services are provided to the client and the touch is one-way only. In Japan, the services are carried out using a glove and the person masturbating the client remains fully clothed. Remarkably, Nakamura mentioned that, with the Sexual Volunteers organisation, “care services can be provided in the handicap-accessible bathroom of the train station if the client doesn’t have a private space at home” (2012). In Denmark, the person is only assisted to masturbate via the use of sex toys, and the worker/assistant only assists with masturbation by putting their hand over the client’s hand to help the client simulate the action other people are able to do independently. This organisation provides a range of other services where they can provide assistance with couples needing positioning, a referral to sensual massage service (though their website is a bit ambiguous as to what is actually included during that service (Persson 2014)), sexual guidance, sexual training and sexual education. In Taiwan, the service providers have spoken about sometimes being naked with the client, with media articles indicating that each service is always 90 minutes in duration.

Geographical location

HandiSex is based in Denmark, White Hands and Sexual Volunteers are in Japan and Hand Angels is located in Taiwan.

Pricing structure

For those in Denmark and Japan, the service is a set price which the organisation determines. Hand Angels in Taiwan only offered volunteers, so they masturbated the clients for free, as a type of benevolent “community service.”

Service aims and objectives and client motivation

The organisations facilitate individuals to provide sexual relief only to clients with disability. Media previously carried out by Hand Angels mentioned that “these volunteers use only their hands for second-base kind of stuff—hugging, caressing and kissing on the face are fine, but anything penetrative (fingering, oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex) is not” (Moura and Jie Zou 2015). Clients want to experience sexual expression and to engage these services either because they do not have the capacity to organise a sex worker or may not have a supportive care worker they trust to take them to a sex worker. The clients may not be aware that sex workers would be willing and able to provide a range of services (for example, COSWAS, a Taiwanese sex worker organisation, has done referrals to sex workers since 2010 (Kuo 2016)) or they may have previous negative experiences with either dating or with sex workers. Also, clients may not have sufficient funds to pay for the services of a sex worker.

Availability and eligibility of both the service provider and the client

In Japan, these services are only available to men with disability. The Japanese organisation stated, “White Hands is a welfare organisation that caters to the sexual needs of men with severe physical disabilities.’When asked about whether they provided services to women, they replied “We haven’t pursued this because we haven’t received any requests from them. At White Hands, the suggestions and criticisms we usually receive is in regards to the fact that we have no care services for women with disabilities. Our response to them though, is what kind of service would be appropriate?”

HandiSex, in Denmark, provides assisted masturbation services to both men and women but only if they are unable to masturbate:

If you are unable to use your hands, the option of using sex toys to masturbate is present. Assisted masturbation differs from prostitution in that the assistant does not participate in the act itself, but rather facilitates the possibility for bodily pleasure.

(HandiSex 2012)

The Taiwanese Hand Angels provided services to both men and women but, whereas the sessions ran for 90 minutes, the preparation time could be up to six months. One media article also indicated that some male applicants, requesting a female worker, were on the waiting list for up to two years before being provided with a service (Henderson, 2017). Services were offered to any person “recognised by the government as having a serious physical impairment but can’t be mentally disabled. Once they’re cleared, the service is totally free” (Moura and Jie Zou 2015). Successful applicants were entitled to three hand jobs in a lifetime, accompanied by caresses and kisses (strictly face only) (McHugh 2015).

Specific organisations who may facilitate training

One of the founders of Hand Angels explained in an interview that every volunteer needed to pass a two-month training programme in order to know and understand disabled people’s bodies and their thoughts (Queer Taiwan 2018). There is no mention of specific training given to staff on the HandiSex website. While the author has no specific references outlining the training for White Hands staff, it must be noted that the language barrier precluded the author from having detailed access to further information at this time.

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