Features: Disability and Sex Myths

It has been my experience that, unfortunately, there are lots of able-bodied people out in the world with mixed up ideas about disabled people having sex lives. Sometimes these ideas are reinforced so strongly that disabled people themselves struggle to reconcile their own feelings and desires with what they perceive ‘society’ expects of them.

The truth is; all human beings have the same potential for arousal and for sexual fulfillment.

My personal belief is that all humans, regardless of ability, should be able to have the opportunity to experience sex. I don’t believe everyone is entitled to a relationship – whether disabled or not, finding someone
you love and who loves you back is a matter of good fortune – not a given – but being able to feel sexually satisfied (either alone or with your partner) and to be able to access sex workers (if you choose this route and do so legally) should be an equal entitlement for all humans, disabled or not. If being able to do these things requires support from another individual then I believe society should accept this and allow equality to exist in it’s true form.

I am a disabled man, who has a progressive condition. This has meant I have experienced in my time non ability-limited sexual encounters and have, through the years had to adjust physically and mentally to my
changing body and abilities sexually.

As I have made these adjustments I have at times been very aware of the myths floating around out there, the beliefs that can change how those around view you, how you view yourself and how you think and feel about your life and your future.

I am constantly growing into my new body and it’s new levels of ability, this means I am constantly challenging these myths and finding out my own truths.

One myth is that if sex can’t be spontaneous, it won’t be good. For me, a big discovery was that sex can actually be better when there are barriers in the way. Having to plan and think outside of the box has brought a whole new perspective on having sex – not being able to manage ‘missionary’ for example, has lead to all kinds of ingenious ideas, attempts and lots of laughs too. And the discussions you can have out and about in public about what you are going to try later can be fantastic foreplay.

When some things are not practically possible, I have found that arousal within the mind can more than make up for it – talking through fantasies with your partner can be a real thrill and can go on for hours – much better than the old ‘5 minute session then roll over’ scenarios I used to know as a younger more able man.

Some myths have arose around seeing a disabled person as someone ‘special’ and extra pure – and to think of having sex with someone so pure can be thought of as abusive – for me the truth is that some people are more sexually experimental and active than others, but whether you have an impairment does not change who you are inside – for me, the only ‘abuse’ I can see here is accepting a society that can deny a human being the chance for a happy sex life.

Below are some of the myths I have either witnessed for myself or read about. I would love to hear your opinions on these; whether you feel they are valid or not, and also I’d love to hear any other ‘beliefs’ you have encountered in your lives regarding disability and sex.

Myths in society:

  • Disabled people are asexual
  • If people don’t have sex they can excel in other abilities instead
  • Disability always affects our genital functioning and our ability to feel arousal
  • Only certain types of people find disabled people sexually interesting
  • A disabled person’s need for sex is not as important as their other needs.
  • If sex can’t be spontaneous it’s not worth doing.
  • If it’s physically impossible for someone to have a sex life without someone helping them, it means that they shouldn’t be having one.
  • Sexuality is not part of healthcare
  • Disabled people are either too innocent or too pure to have sex with.
  • Having sex with a disabled person is abusive.

By Les @ Accessible Sexuality
Copyright © 2012 Accessible Sexuality

If you would like to find out more about disability and sexuality, please visit Accessible Sexuality

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