Sex,Relationships and Disability
At Devilishly Disabled we have a, ‘sort of’, unofficial researcher who scours the internet looking for the more captivating stories involving disability for me to write about. To my surprise he found an article about the world’s first disabled orgy… http://www.unilad.co.uk/articles/canada-to-host-worlds-first-orgy-for-disabled-people/. Apparently its organiser, Stella Palikarova became increasingly frustrated when people inquired as to whether she could have an active sex life and evidently able bodied orgies don’t cater for disabled people- who knew?
Stella is not the only disabled person to face this question and its overall perception. However, doesn’t her method depict disabled people as sex deprived looney tunes? Still at least we’ll fit in with 90% of the world’s population.
Now I have no idea about the legitimacy of the event which apparently takes place in Toronto on August 14th, it does however, raise some interesting questions. Questions I feel obliged to answer in this article entitled Sex,Relationships and Disability.
Above are the answers to the four questions I am most commonly asked in relation to sex:
Can you have sex?
Yes, disabled people can have sex, I know a lot of them and from a disabled perspective we are often baffled that this question is asked.
Will it hurt you?
No, sex is a form of exercise and muscles relax during and after exercise, therefore, I will actually feel more comfortable than I am in my everyday life. I may not be the best company once the muscles tighten again but I’ve never claimed to be the best company anyway.
Have you/would you ever have sex in your wheelchair.
No and there are three reasons for this:
- As a disabled person I don’t particularly like my wheelchair and wouldn’t want to do something so intimate in it.
- As a friend of mine once said ‘my wheelchair is expensive, I don’t want to damage it
- Wheelchairs are actually incredibly unstable; I have to work ridiculously hard to keep it on the floor during day to day usage and there is nothing sexual about getting dropped on your head.
Can you only sleep with disabled people?
If you are able bodied you will not get arrested for sleeping with a disabled person, if it’s consensual is okay. Oh and unless there are stairs involved then most disabled people will manage just fine.
There is still such a taboo surrounding disability, even today, that this subject in particular rarely gets mentioned and it should because without sex none of us would exist. Enhance the UK have a brilliant article on this subject. http://enhancetheuk.org/enhance/sex-and-disability/
Relationships and Disability
This is an area that deserves a mention, because, this is an area where I’ll admit I struggle both from a friendship and romantic view point.
There are a number of reasons for this. The first is I have huge character flaws and a distinct lack of tolerance for other people. The second is that disabled people, like everybody else, have aspects of themselves that they don’t like and finally, perhaps most importantly there is a distinct lack of understanding regarding disability.
Now I don’t wake up every morning wishing I was different, richer yes, different no. In fact perversely I quite like being disabled, for it is only part of who I am, it doesn’t define me but it is part of me. There are days however, when I’d prefer not to have 2.5k’s worth of metal attached to me. There are also days when I’m in discomfort and I simply want to shut the door to the outside world. That last statement means that any relationship is always on shaky ground. For you see, people that love you don’t care if you’re in pain, they simply want to be with you. However, it takes an awful lot of courage from a partner or family member’s perspective to see you in your worst days. It also takes a lot of trust from our perspective too. This is why disabled people are less likely to cheat, A, it’s a lot of effort and B, if we’re with you then we trust you.
But I have known people; myself included, destroy perfectly good relationships through the fear that their partner may see the good, the bad and at times the ugly and simply walk away.
A final thought is that if people’s perceptions on disabilities were changed at a younger age, then these friendships, relationships and the uncertainties within, would be a lot clearer for all. Scheme’s like Sainsbury’s 1million kids are perfect for creating a deeper appreciation and understanding. As indeed do this truly brilliant video and this exceptional animation. We live in a multicultural society where we rightly have to learn about other people’s religion and culture; perhaps we should also spend time learning about everyone’s abilities.