Care workers told to help clients masturbate

Ok, now this is just disgusting if the allegations are true. Basically care workers allege that they were instructed to help mentally disabled clients masturbate if that was what they wanted, which they rightly refused to do, and they claim this is asking them to be prostitutes. I fully agree. But we can expect further cases like this in a country where prostitution is legal.

In addition to the entire case being ridiculous and disgusting:

None of the six women had masturbated any clients, including the one remaining employee, who is Maori and said she had been told she was exempt on cultural grounds.

So it is ok to expect white women to act as prostitutes, but not brown women?

The woman who allegedly told the workers they were to assist their clients to masturbate is Claire Ryan, whom I assume is the “Relationships and Sexuality Advisor” by the same name at IHC. If you are interested in the sort of stuff that IHC teaches about sexuality, download their September 05 Networker newsletter. This newsletter discusses disabled children growing up and becoming sexual. Not once does it mention whether it is appropriate for teenagers to become sexually active – it just assumes that they will and parents just have to let them do it.

Very worrying stuff, but not surprising at all – this is the exact same rubbish that Family Planning spouts to teenagers at school. In the few encounters I have had with Family Planning, I have found:

  • A school educator boasting to a 6th-form class about how she had managed to convince 12-year-old boys that if they didn’t masturbate their balls would explode, and thinking this was hillarious.
  • The same woman maintaining in front of the class that you could not catch HPV (virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer) while using a condom, even when challenged, but then admitting privately after the class that she knew full well this was incorrect.
  • A Family Planning nurse claiming that the morning after pill worked by stopping sperm working and preventing conception, not by allowing conception but preventing implantation (the truth, which I regard as an early abortion).
  • A GP who recommends all his patients to ignore everything Family Planning says because he is sick of fixing up all the messes their terrible advice has made for so many of his patients.

This is the state of sex education in NZ. You can walk into Family Planning and get a case of 144 taxpayer-funded condoms for a $3 prescription fee, while Pharmac struggles to fund medication that could potentially save lives. And no-one will even ask you whether you really think you should be having sex at 13 even though it is illegal.

This is why we need the Family Party to push abstinence first as the best option.

23 Responses to “Care workers told to help clients masturbate”

  1. Paul Says:

    Sam, you Christians really have ‘issues’ with masturbation, don’t ya? Repressing human sexuality has always been a part of mainstream religious teachings. Controlling these normal sexual urges is always high on Church agendas and no doubt is buried on page 521 of The Family Party’s manifesto. I’m sure you’ll reply along with the standard, approved by head-office line which is: sex is good & pure and created by God for both procreation and pleasure. Intimacy however can only be enjoyed by a husband and wife (Tui Billboard anyone?) and confined to intercourse (missionary, but not ‘that’ missionary) Other ‘pleasures of the flesh’ like masturbation are considered forms of abuse and a perversion all because of one paragraph in The Bible. One passage from an out-dated book can turn back millions of years of evolutionary biology. Sam, it’s time you accepted Masturbation is normal, it feels great, releases tension etc etc. Mentally ill, incapacitated patients included. We all do it. I’ll say it again. Medical conditions aside – all adults masturbate. The Pope masturbates (infrequently now he’s in his eighties) The Queen masturbates (or do they have a Royal consort who performs that task for them?) Ayatollahs masturbate (they know what’s under those burqas) Helen Clark masturbates (don’t get into any mental imagery on this one) And the only people who feel guilty about having a ‘jolly good wank’ are religious types like you, who have been cajoled & brainwashed into believing something normal, like masturbation, is in-fact dirty and a sin, thus reducing your chances of an after-life. It still won’t stop you ‘spilling your seed’ though, will it? Good-on the Care Workers who have a firm grasp of common-sense human biology & sexuality. It’s a dirty job but someones gotta do it! Got to go, looking at my diary it’s time ‘to beat the Bishop’. Paul.

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    I didn’t say anything about whether masturbation is right or wrong, that is an entirely separate issue.

    What is inappropriate about this case is care workers being expected to perform sexual acts on their clients. Do you feel it is ok to expect a care worker to sexually pleasure a client?

  3. Sb Says:

    “You can walk into Family Planning and get a case of 144 taxpayer-funded condoms for a $3 prescription fee”

    Well you do have to pay for the prescription writing which is $22.50 but it is still good value at approx 1/10 of the of the shelf cost.

    From the cost benefit point of view its much cheaper to subsidise condoms rather than pay to fix up a dose of the clap!

    “Do you feel it is ok to expect a care worker to sexually pleasure a client”

    Not unless its in their job description when the signed the contract.

    The whole issue of sexual needs of disabled people is a real mine field.


  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    Unless you have a community services card, which would probably cover that fee.

    The most common STD, HPV (which causes genital warts and cervical cancer) is not protected against when using a condom as it is spread by skin contact from the entire genital area – a fact Family Planning neglects to mention for some reason. If subsidised condoms encourage sexual activity in teenagers, then they will actually increase the infection rate of this and other STDs that condoms do not protect against. So it is cheaper to encourage teens to abstain than to subsidise condoms.

  5. Sb Says:

    “Unless you have a community services card, which would probably cover that fee.”

    I think that it becomes $9.99 with a card, should have checked was in there at lunch time picking up 144 condoms for $25.50!

    I was reading their leaflets while I was waiting and spotted that they do actually say that condoms have a poor success rate against HPV. They stated that if you have more than 6 sexual partners in a year you have a %90 chance of contracting a HPV strain.

    But it is cheap and simple to treat as there is no treatment! you just wait for them to go away…..

    “If subsidised condoms encourage sexual activity in teenagers”

    When I was a teen we did not have subsidised condoms, if we had we might have used them rather than doing it natural!

    I don’t think it really makes any difference!

    “So it is cheaper to encourage teens to abstain than to subsidise condoms</i.

    Thats only true if it works! which of course it does not…………..


  6. Mr Dennis Says:

    Sb, the warts may go but the infection is still there. And many people who have it never show symptoms. It is strains that show no visual symptoms that cause cervical cancer, which kills many women every year. And the HPV vaccine that is being currently promoted is actually pretty ineffective at combating it by many accounts. For this reason I believe HPV is a far bigger killer than AIDS in the West, yet for some inexplicable reason Family Planning chooses to focus tonnes of time teaching about AIDS and virtually ignores HPV – or at least they did while I was at school. Glad to hear the brochures mention it.

    “That’s only true if it works!”
    Which is why we are proposing promoting abstinence first and alongside the current education on contraception.

  7. Alan Liefting Says:

    Samuel, advocating abstinence from sex is a bit like asking a priest not to bugger little boys or asking Jews to eat pork.

  8. Mr Dennis Says:

    I fail to see any correlation. Plenty of people do abstain from sex before marriage. There is nothing unreasonable about promoting it as the best option – it most certainly is. And always has been.

  9. libertyscott Says:

    It is a criminal act to perform sexual acts on someone who is in your care and mentally “subnormal” as far as I can recall. As someone who is quite open about sexuality and liberal about it, and who believes that people have the right to masturbate (obviously on their own property or property of someone who allows it), I am somewhat disturbed by this report.

    Oh and it is not illegal for 13yos to have sex, it is illegal for them to have sex with someone younger than themselves, and illegal for people older than themselves to have sex with them. Besides it would be monstrous to arrest any for doing so.

  10. Mr Dennis Says:

    “It is a criminal act to perform sexual acts on someone who is in your care and mentally “subnormal” as far as I can recall.”

    Thanks LibertyScott, good point. It is also one thing to say people can masturbate if they like, and another thing entirely to expect the taxpayer to pay for prostitutes to do it for them as is suggested in the article, especially when many of those taxpayers disagree with prostitution.

  11. vigila Says:

    Mr Dennis, creating sexually repressed societies is not a good idea. Humans need some sort of connection and love. and sex(like what happens in marriage) is actually how people get them. healthy people have libido(with no sex) that reduces their performance in school/work.

    teaching monogamy is a better idea.

  12. Dan Says:


    Abstinance is a concept only effectual when combined with negative reinforcement; the threat of hell, social stigma or judgement by ones peers.

    As religion has receded as a method of controlling the population, and the idea that we are sophisticated animals and not children of a divine creator has prospered, so sexual repression wanes.

    Unless we impose sanctions on sex and revert to the medieval period, we must accept that abstinence for the secular population will most often fail in the face of the hormonal tumult that is adolescence.

    Subsidized condoms are vastly preferable to children born of children, as a means of garnering housing and welfare, or born because the religious faith of the parents succeeds where their entreaties of abstinance failed. Pregnant school girls are NOT God’s wish.

    Incidentally, masturbation is the best chance you have of getting a teenager to abstain from full sex; think about it.

    Ones faith should be personal, not a stick with which to beat others,


  13. Mr Dennis Says:

    Most commenters (including vigila and Dan) have entirely missed the point of this post (which is not about the morality of masturbation or abstinence or anything like that) and just gone off on their own rants about their own pet peeves with Christians.

    This post is entirely about health care workers being required to provide sex services (ie work as prostitutes). I contend that that requirement is an unjust variance in the terms of their contract, and therefore immoral.

    To address the thoughts of the above posters: Personally I don’t see anything in the Bible that says masturbation is a sin. However LUST can be, and lust is generally involved in masturbation… The most relevant comment is where Christ states that if you lust after a woman in your heart you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. As the term “adultery” is only applied to sex with a married woman, not an unmarried one, this would preclude masturbation over a married woman who is not your own wife, but not masturbation while thinking about your own wife, or a single woman you intend to marry, or just masturbation for the sake of it. That’s a strictly is-it-sin-or-not perspective, not advice for what is best. An individual may find it best to apply further limitations in their own life, however you cannot argue that such further limitations are an absolute requirement of scripture, which does not ban masturbation.

    So back to the point:
    Is it moral to expect a health care worker, who never saw anything about this in their original contract, to provide sex services to patients (regardless of whether it would be moral for those patients to do it on their own were they able to)?

  14. steven mogg Says:

    i think your all wrong actually if the nurse or a female worker is willing to masturbate the male person than it is ok as masturbation is normal your all against disabled men if you all think this way do u all expect all disasablity men to commit suicide because they cant be with a real female how are they meant to feel good about themselves if they cant get the help they need there isnt a female that ive known they always laugh at disabled men they dont like people like us so how do we feel good australian females and australian people are so wrong in the head if they cant help disabled men masturbate i should go to new zealand or the united kingdom where nurses do help disabled men and they masturbate them aswell id like to hear from any females in australia that are willing to help or girls my email is

  15. coco Says:

    . I also think that the best solution is to have some kind of machine. This machine would have a simulated vagina and a motor to thrust.

  16. Bibiana Says:

    I feel that asking people to do this is not only violating their boundaries ,but showing no respect for their professional ethics. Masturbating someone is NOT a part of caregiving.

  17. Bibiana Says:

    This IS ridiculous and disgusting. Those teachers were not only inappropriate and vulgar- they were giving false, potentially harmful information to children. And don’t get me started on the jackass who included masturbating disabled patients ad part of those nurses’ job description. A healthcare worker is just that. They ate NOT. sex workers.Expecting them to do that is abusive.

  18. Andy Says:

    Trust me, disabled people do not need to be jerked up.. They ejaculate ALL the time without any hands needed.. I should know I am a caregiver. They absolutely do not need prostitutes to come and jerk them off. And thats what it is, prostitution. Our tax dollars are paying for sex for disabled people (Altho I dont really wanna bring politics into this because there is plenty wrong with our country). This is simply a vice and a way to make money for people. In my opinion it is taking advantage of the disabled and the system. I mean seriously, what heterosexual male, disabled or not, is going to turn down a free handjob that is legal!?!?! Yeah, no one. Us caregivers caring for their every whim is not enough and now we have to masturbate them!?!?!.. Yeah, Im cool. My clients are perfectly happy and at ease most of the time without a handjob. And like I said before, they ejaculate all the time anyway without any help. This just sounds like a money scheme to me.

  19. Andy Says:

    Also…. I SOOOO agree with what coco said above… There are plenty of better ways to accomplish this. Just make some kind of tool or machine for them to use. With all of our technological advances, this should be cake.

  20. Carol White Says:

    Different country but same issue. Here in the UK where I work this topic is current too. I was advised to assist my clients obtain suitable sextoys and to help them position themselves and or their partner and then to leave them alone to finish before returning to clean up and help them dress again. At first I was angry but then I thought the alternative for them is likely a life without intimacy or orgasms and that is just plain cruel. True we could get into the ‘arrange a sex worker for them’ debate but my job normally involves taking care of all other bodily functions and improving their happiness by helping them with tasks, talking to them like people rather than cases, arranging things like trips out or shopping for them and the like. was assisting them to have sexual relief and intimacy so different on one level? Yes it triggered a reaction in me because it is a private thing and its a taboo in society to discuss masturbation or to get involved in it with others but what others think should not control our actions. It came down to was helping the stimulation of a vulva any different to putting it over a toilet, washing it and putting cream on it when sore? I concluded it wasn’t and have been happily assisting 3 of my clients position themselves on their wand massagers and to switch these on and off as needed to give the desired orgasms. With one of these clients I have had to hold the massager for her throughout her session due to her handicap and did thing not with distain or in any way with voyeuristic feelings but as a human being helping another have a more tolerable life. She remains extremely grateful to me for my ongoing help, as are my other clients but to me now its just like any other care task. I have wondered if I would do more if asked, not because I want to but to work out my moral and mental position on the process. I have decided that I would help in any way that did not involve me contacting genitals for the purpose of causing stimulation. This means I would work a dildo, hold a vibrator, insert a toy, etc but not finger or rub my clients ever. why? well then we get into being a participant rather then an enabler and that crosses my line. Can I finish by saying I am an atheist and would challenge the Christians reading this blog in this way: If God is so great and loving why does he torture soles by breaking and crippling their bodies and is it also his will that, our brothers and sisters, should suffer the endless torture of unrelenting sexual desire because their hands or other parts of their bodies do not work? Sounds more like a sadist than a god to me.

  21. Mr Dennis Says:

    Carol, thankyou for your first-hand perspective. I appreciate the careful thought you have put into this, and do like the philosophical line you have drawn for yourself also. Eight years ago when I wrote this blog post, the thing that I was most frustrated about was the fact that people were being forced to do this, and that is what I considered immoral. I have less problem with consensual activity, as this is a morally grey area, as you have outlined.

    If you were being required to do this against your will, you would be being violated, and I would support you in opposing it. As it is, you have found a line you believe is acceptable and are not being forced to do anything against your will, as what you are being asked to do is within the limits of what you find acceptable. You’re just caring for your patients in the way you and they mutually agree is best, and that is nothing to do with me.

  22. Nathan Charles Says:

    thanks for sharing this

  23. Val Broad Says:

    I am an atheist so not constrained by religious matters with regards to masturbating clients but I do agree that forcing a person do a sex act on someone or lose their job is basically forced prostitution and in many countries illegal and for many people plain wrong. That said some people, sexworkers rather than carers, its not an issue and if the client is able to request the service and consent, and is of age then what is the issue?. As I see it there are people that would be condemned to never having sexual pleasure if this is not done as they are extremely unlikely to find a mate socially rather then commercially. It cannot be fair or humane to say a person can never have sexual release and experience orgasm because of your morals? So I would say, have compassion, let people do as they wish if it hurts nobody and let the free market take care of matters.

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