fierce attachments

a mother-daughter blog about the fierce attachments in our lives… title inspired by Vivian Gornick's wonderful memoir

Category: movie review

they do it better in dutch: sex workers and the disabled

by caitlin meredith

painted wheelchair on dutch beachMy mom’s last two blog posts about sexual surrogacy and the movie “The Sessions” (see part 1 and part 2) reminded me of one of my old pieces of dinner party trivia. In Holland, the government pays sex workers to have sex with physically disabled people. I know – crazy, right? At least that was my first reaction.

At the time I learned about this little social service gem I was working in Sudan living with three Dutch colleagues. So many of the things they revealed about their quirky country astounded me that I became used to having daily conversations sprinkled with counter intuitive nuggets. None of them had ever tried drugs, including pot? What was the point of living in the Netherlands?? The government had public health campaigns encouraging people to snort their snot back into their noses instead of using a tissue?? This was deemed more hygienic? Their national cuisine is a bowl of mashed up everything called stamppot?

By the time someone casually mentioned the generous sexual services benefit I was a bit jaded and it almost escaped my “Wait, what??!!!” radar. Almost. Read the rest of this entry »

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the sessions the movie and more: part 2

by nikki meredith

The Intouchables

About 20 years ago, for a profile I planned, I interviewed Cheryl Cohen Greene, the sexual surrogate Helen Hunt plays in The Sessions.  (for part I of this post on The Sessions click here.) I found her irresistible. She had a way of talking about sex unlike anyone I’d ever met. She could be funny, very funny, though I can’t remember any specific examples, and while she could talk about sex explicitly, it seemed neither pornographic nor clinical. Her conversation about sex made sex seem like a part of life. A natural part of life. Imagine that. It seems remarkable that so few people can do that effectively. Even in the 21st century. Maybe especially in the 21st century. I squirm when I read Dan Savage, a syndicated columnist who writes an advice and sex column for both gays and straights. I love his writing, I love his politics but when he talks about sex, I want to dive under the table. When Cheryl talked about sex, I wanted to hear more. Read the rest of this entry »

sex, surrogacy and supper: the movie the sessions, part 1

by nikki meredith

coming homeLast week I was having dinner with six of my friends – all of them, to one degree or other, hip or at least hipish. I mentioned that I saw The Sessions, the recently released film starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes. I was fired-up about the film and I wanted to discuss it. Specifically, I wanted to talk about the following:

—  I know Cheryl Cohen Greene, the sexual surrogate on whom the Helen Hunt character is based in real life and as much as I love Helen Hunt, and as much as I admire her for tackling the role, I found her performance wanting. A characteristic that the real Cheryl Cohen Greene has, a characteristic that anyone who has ever met her will attest to, is her warmth. While Hunt portrays the quality all therapists must possess — unconditional positive regard — her version is crisp, clinical. Read the rest of this entry »

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