In the Netherlands, citizens with disabilities receive money from the Government as part of the 'Hookers for the Handicapped' program, to pay for sexual services up to 12 times a year. This move has drastically reduced depression among the disabled, many of whom have never had a chance to explore their sexuality.

I ran into this one on Facebook, where people were talking about it as if it were true. I couldn't find it on Snopes.

Is this true?

  • 6
    Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland pay for «sexual therapists», who are sex workers trained to be therapist. And they're not allowed full intercourse.
    – vartec
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


The same story also occurs at The Guardian

One of her clients, Chris Fulton, 29, who has cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, has launched a campaign calling on the government to introduce a Netherlands-style grant scheme in which citizens with disabilities receive public money to pay for sexual services up to 12 times a year.

And here is a relevant story from 1992 on the New York Times.

In a preliminary decision last month, the Raad van State ruled that the municipality of Noordoostpolder must pay a monthly stipend of 65 guilders ($38) to a handicapped man who has reportedly suffered mental anguish from the absence of sexual contact.

The money is to be used to defray the cost of a once-a-month visit to a "sexual aid worker" who charges 150 guilders for a 90-minute session.


To provide some citations from academic papers rather than news articles:

The Rights and Wrongs of Prostitution 09 January 2009 Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

This division already exists in the Netherlands where “sex surrogates” who work with disabled people are legally and socially constructed as different from prostitutes who work with able‐bodied clients.

Sex rights for the disabled? Journal of Medical Ethics 2010;36:152-154.

Several European nations, including Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland, allow limited ‘touching’ services for the severely disabled through non-profit organisations.6 Nina de Vries, a Dutch-trained therapist based in Berlin, has been offering such services to patients with Down's syndrome, autism and severe brain damage since 1997, including to individuals incapable of speech or complex communication. (She describes herself as a sexual assistant, or Sexualbegleiterin, but does not reject the term prostitute.) Despite considerable demand for such ‘massages’, these services remain entirely privately funded.

This seems to be at odds with the news articles but I trust academic papers more.

The Guardian article cites another article that talks about a Holland "style" scheme but doesn't specifically point to a holland government source. As best I can tell that seems to be based on tabloid articles that interpret the monthly disability allowance (which you can spend on anything, including prostitutes) as monthly payments for prostitutes.

The Dutch government only legalized prostitution in 2000 so the 1992 New York Times article seems odd. I can't find any other details of the case and the origional article is no longer on the NYT site.

It seems plausible it could be a poor translation or something less dramatic like the municipality not being allowed to control what disabled people spend their stipend on if they were trying to refuse it because it was going to be spent on prostitutes.

The Surprising Way the Netherlands Is Helping Its Disabled Have Sex

While there is no direct "sex grant" per se, the benefits citizens with disabilities receive can be spent however they like. Some reports indicate that they can use these benefits to access sex services 12 times a year, but information on the specifics is elusive.

  • And the freedom of spending the money received by the disabled is not as free as it sounds. They have to submit requests for specific purposes and recipients of payment to be approved by their case workers. This after widespread reports of the funds being misappropriated.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 10:14

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