In a decision that can only be described as touchy, a Brazilian judge has reportedly ruled that a 36-year-old female accountant can legally masturbate at work and watch porn on her work computer.
Ana Catarian Bezerra successfully argued that she suffers from a chemical imbalance that triggers severe anxiety and hypersexuality, according to a viral news story.
Her work situation began to suffer because the only way she can relieve her anxiety is by masturbating frequently, according to Guanabee.com.
"I got so bad I would to masturbate up to 47 times a day," she said. "That's when I asked for help, I knew it wasn't normal."
After winning a court battle and seeking professional help, Bezerra is legally entitled to combine work with pleasure.
Her doctor has also given her a medical cocktail of tranquilizers that has reduced her need to masturbate to about 18 times a day.
As might be expected, Bezerra's case raises all sorts of eyebrows (among other things) by various experts such as Dr. Carol Queen, resident sexologist for Good Vibrations, a San Francisco-based sex toy shop.
"This case is interesting because it shows the difference between Brazilian culture and the U.S.," Queen told AOL Weird News. "It's unlikely a workplace here would allow her the time to do that, even though practically everyone who has masturbated knows that it relieves tension."
Although Queen admitted Bezerra's condition is not common at all, she said she found it interesting that the ruling came in the middle of "National Masturbation Month," an event she helped organize back in 1995 and is now celebrated in pockets all over the world.
"We started it to honor then-surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who was forced to resign after she made some sensible comments that perhaps teens should be taught about masturbation in sex ed classes," Queen said.
Nothing like Bezerra's particular case seems to show up in medical textbooks, including her doctor's diagnosis of "hypersexuality," according to psychotherapist Dr. Julie Elledge.
"Hypersexuality is not listed as an accepted diagnosis in the Diagnostic Statistical Menu," she said. "It's possible there could be a co-diagnosis of bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder as well. When sex addiction is the diagnosis, it's usually not because of the sex, but the behaviors surrounding it."
Elledge said she'd need to have more information about Bezzera's case to be able to make a diagnosis, but she does concede the case -- and Bezerra's doctor's recommendation -- both seem extreme.
"This is definitely an unusual way to address her issues," she said.
Bezzera's case may set a precedent in the Brazilian court, but legal experts who deal in workplace issues are skeptical it could pass the test stateside.
Lawyer Virginia Keeney said that while workplace laws are meant to protect people with disabilities and provide them with reasonable accommodations, she's never heard of a similar decision in U.S. law.
"There have been cases where employees have been allowed multiple rest periods or bathroom breaks," Keeney said. "In theory, I suppose a case could be made to allow her to go to the bathroom as well without stating exactly why. However, my issue is that her needs could be difficult to accommodate."
Suzy Moore, who also specializes in workplace law, offered a similar argument.
"Really, it's hard to make a case for reasonable accommodation in this example because you'd have to take into account the other employees' privacy rights -- and the risk for sexual harassment," she said.
Etiquette expert Jason Tesauro, author of "The Modern Gentleman," believes good manners are a better solution than legal rulings.
"She can't go ankles up on the desk and, honestly, she shouldn't dress provocatively in fishnets or show off her decolletage," Tesauro said.
Of course, Bezerra's coworkers have a duty to keep everything aboveboard as well.
"Anytime you have a coworker, friend or family member with a medical anomaly, the proper response is to avert attention, and don't call attention to it," Tesauro said. "This is no excuse for Bezzera's coworkers to presume intimacy with her. The social boundaries haven't moved for them, just her."
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