Whoa nelly, you better believe people with disabilities have sex. We’re all the same when our mobility aids are left by the bedside, and even though we’re well into the 21st century, two-thirds of people have no idea what really goes on behind our bedroom doors. They think they do, but most have it wrong. Dead wrong.
From orgasms to the logistics, here are the top 10 misconceptions about sex and disability.
1. We’re asexual.
Our desire to fully embrace our sexuality does not diminish in the face of disability. We’re still very interested in sex. We’re straight, gay, bi or possibly confused, just like the rest of humanity; but asexual we are not. And if you do run into someone with a disability who’s asexual, ten-to-one it was the parents doing.
2. We can’t be sexy.
A disability does not inherently make someone unsexy by default. The sad thing is a lot of people think this. Why? They’ve never known a sexy person with a disability before. Does a disability hack away at pretty genes? Of course not. We can tap into our sexy-side as much as anyone else (and have overflowing lingerie drawers just as much as the next girl).
3. We don’t like being touched where we can’t feel.
When dealing with a person with paralysis, a big misconception is that we don’t like to be touched where we can’t feel. They think it weirds us out, or reminds us of what we’ve lost. But this is not true. Our eyes can be pleasure-givers too, and many of us can still feel a slight something. The lightest touch can be a huge pleasure source. Go on, love every inch of us.
4. We don’t enjoy it.
“If you’re paralyzed, you must get absolutely nothing out of sex, so why bother?” This is a common misconception thought by many. But the truth is that the human body is capable of profound, deeper layers of sexual pleasure that don’t all reside in the sub-cuticle nerve level. It may not feel exactly the same, but we still love every minute of being intimate.
5. Sex makes us sad.
Oh the silly notion that sex makes us sad. People worry sex will remind of us our inabilities rather than our abilities, or that the lack of sensation we experience during the act is too much too bear. But you’d be surprised. The human body wants to move on, to procreate; disability does not replace sex with sadness.
6. We’re boring in bed.
We may not be gymnasts in bed, but we have more tricks and gadgets to help us get our groove on than you’d think. We’re definitely no vanilla ninnies in bed. From the Intimate Rider for men (helping them get into positions that put them in control) to people using their Hoyer lift to come up with some awesome positions, whatever you do, please don’t call us boring.
7. Men in chairs can’t get an erection (or be a biological dad).
Men with disabilities may experience erection problems, but it doesn’t mean they can’t get an erection. Viagra and a slew of other drugs in recent years have opened up the floodgates for men with disabilities. And if they have enough money, having children via a surgical semen extraction is possible too. Also, many men can still ejaculate and avoid this route.
8. Women in chairs can’t have a baby.
Women in wheelchairs more often times than not can be just as fertile as Myrtle down the street. But when they do get pregnant, there may be a few differences. Women with spinal cord injuries may need to deliver via C-Section (although this isn’t always necessary either; the human body can actually push a baby out without the mom’s help). Make sure to always use birth control, my friends.
9. We can’t achieve orgasm.
Orgasms are definitely possible for people with disabilities. If anything, a lack of sensation only forces us to come up of new ways to seek out physical pleasure. From a man with quadriplegia who orgasms when his thumb gets sucked to a woman with cerebral palsy who can still feel everything—everyone of us is different. Mental orgasms are another facet of the orgasm too that people with disabilities tap into.
10. We’re sex deprived.
And probably one of the most offensive – every person with a disability must struggle to find a willing partner. People think we’re turned down left and right, and left again. That 90% of the population would never consider us. While that percentage isn’t as healthy as it would be if we could walk, geesh, it’s not that high. There are still a lot of people in this world who have no qualms about dating us. Believe it.
So there you go, people with disabilities are having sex right under your nose and you had no idea. Hopefully you’ll get used to the idea soon enough. And in the meantime, if you’re disabled and have an active sex life, chime in. Let us know which misconceptions bug you most.