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.