Steph McGovern talks to disabled guest who paid for sex to lose virginity

Steph McGovern heard today from a guest who says that just because he's in a wheelchair, it doesn't mean he doesn't have sexual desire.

Astor Phillpot had his first sexual experience with a sex worker while on holiday.

Care workers are not allowed to help people with severe learning disabilities at the moment, when it comes to paying for sex.

However a landmark case has ruled that carers for a man with a form of autism and other physical disabilities are allowed to help him.

Steph asked Astor on the Channel 4 show how the idea first came about.

“I went to a school for people with physical disabilities, I had a best friend and he had muscular dystrophy. We always used to talk about sex and relationships and stuff,” recalled Asta.

“He says, ‘I'm not going to be around forever, so I think I’ll get an escort’ so I was like, yeah, go for it. He spoke to his caregivers, and there was some resistance and worry,” says Asta.

“I found out on my 18th birthday, that he passed away without ever having that experience. I made it my mission to never go without that, because it's not just the sex side, it's about the intimacy with another human being.”

It was an unconventional first experience for Asta, as it happened on holiday.

He recalls the first time: “We were told about this nightclub by an Irish bar owner, lo and behold, it was a brothel. There were security guards with guns, I was bricking it. I was with my mum, my dad and my auntie and uncle.”

“My Mum and my Aunt had to wait outside and they were getting propositioned by guys going in. I went in with my dad and uncle and I have never had so much attention from women in all my life. I lost my virginity, and I felt like a human being.”

He says it made a huge difference to his life: “You know what? I had a great time.”

Steph asked him about the stigma involved.

“Well there is the moral aspect,” he said. “But I'm still very good friends with a lot of escorts. At the end of the day, there are some people who actually like doing what they do… I think it needs to be looked at radically because something has gone wrong in this country.”

Steph also heard from a charity worker helps to connect disabled people with sex workers.

Fiona Soloman is from the TLC Trust.

Fiona explained: “We provide a platform where sexual service providers who want to offer their services to people with disabilities can advertise. They've been screened by us.

“Clients can approach them knowing that the answer to ‘do you see people with disabilities’ will be yes,” she says.

Fiona says it’s not just men using the service, either. “The year before lockdown, I actually supported two women to find providers, one of whom it was her first time and she was in her 30s.”

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It seems that she had a good experience too, says Fiona: “She said it was amazing.”

Viewers were impressed, too.

One tweeted: “Not afraid of the tricky subjects. Love how you can have a frank and honest discussion with good humour and make it clear that people with disabilities also have the same wants and needs as every other human. Sex doesn't need to be taboo.”

Another added: “Fair play to him his family and the sex workers!”

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