The Sessions (2012)
- Summaries (5)
At the age of 38, Mark O'Brien, a man who uses an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and his priest, he contacts Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate and a typical soccer mom with a house, a mortgage and a husband. Inspired by a true story, The Sessions, follows the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood.
The aspirant writer Mark O'Brien uses an iron lung since the day he had poliomyelitis. Mark was raised by his religious family and when he is a thirty-eight year-old man, he confesses to his priest Brendan that he needs to have sex since he cannot control his erections. His therapist contact the "professional sex surrogate" Cheryl Cohen Greene that starts a sexual relationship with Mark, who grows after the experience.
In the late 1980s, Mark O'Brien is a reporter for Pacific News Service and a poet. Since polio at age 6, he's in an iron lung hours each day. At 38, this devote Catholic faces his sexual nature after falling in love with an attendant (his marriage proposal ends the relationship) and taking an assignment to write about the sex lives of persons with disabilities. He asks his priest if it would be a sin for him to hire a sex surrogate. With the priest's blessing, Mark hires Cheryl for up to six sessions with the goal of intercourse. Sex and intimacy lead to emotional nuance and deep feelings for Mark and Cheryl. Father Brendan and two of Mark's attendants provide sounding boards for this journey.
Berkeley, 1988. Thirty-eight year old Mark O'Brien has required the use of an iron lung since age six due to a bout of polio. Beyond the multitude of physical issues he has, including having a form of paralysis from the neck down (he not having use of the muscles but having the feelings of them) and thus being bedridden, he has total capacity of his mental facilities, has obtained a degree in English Literature from UC-Berkeley, and is a poet and journalist. He doesn't like it when others, especially his around-the-clock attendants, feel like he needs them more than they need him. He is a devout Catholic, which makes it difficult for his compassionate new priest, Father Brendan, to counsel Mark when, following falling in love for the first time, with the woman in question not returning the feeling of love toward him in the same way, Mark tells him that he wants to feel all that is associated with love, including sex, probably outside of marriage. To this point, Mark, who is able to have an erection but who cannot masturbate, has only associated his natural ejaculations with a feeling of guilt. As such, Mark, following discussions with a sex therapist, contemplates losing his virginity with the help of a sex surrogate, who, from her own professional perspective, is to provide him with the tools to enter into a loving sexual relationship down the road with someone else. The surrogate the therapist recommends is Cheryl Cohen Greene, who has never had a patient like Mark before. As Mark and Cheryl begin to have discussions about what surrogacy means, they enter into a multi-person relationship, which also includes his many attendants, Father Brennan and Catholicism, and Cheryl's own family of a husband and son. A question that may arise is if both Cheryl and especially Mark can keep their relationship purely professional with a finite life as it is intended.
A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.
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