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How I Learned to Navigate Sex and Intimacy With a Disability

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Slow jams talk about it, and there are countless commercials about it, but why isn’t the disability community included in it? I’m talking about sex. The amount of discussions around sex today is astronomical compared to what it was decades ago. The most I knew about sex when I was younger was from the information I got from sex education at school and the old-fashioned “birds and the bees” talk from my mom and dad. Both were informational and helpful, but things changed when I became sexually active as a teenager with multiple sclerosis.

Many teens and pre-teens are sexually active in one way or another. Conversations about sex among the able-bodied community are frequent and considered normal. But as I began to look into sex as a disabled teenager I found very little information that I considered helpful. Most of the stuff I read involved things that were based on fetishes, while others focused on the medical side discussing difficulties a disabled person may have during sex. This was everything I didn’t need to hear about sex or intimacy, and it only made me feel worse about my disability.

Sometime after the age of 25, I returned to the topic of sexual intimacy and disability with a new plan. I reached out to the group of disability bloggers and YouTubers I was following and was determined to get some positive, factual information. I researched a lot of their videos and social media posts and learned that intimacy and sex are still a part of life even when you have a disability… and no disability can actually change that. You can be beautiful, handsome, sexy, attractive and have sexual intimacy, even if you are disabled. Whatever that means to you and however you choose to express or define sexual intimacy is up to you as an individual. I am not trying to fetishize or campaign for the sexualization of myself or anyone else with a disability. Instead, this is my way of saying that despite having a disability you can still feel that you’re sexually desirable. Even though society hasn’t really gotten to it yet, it’s OK to have or want a sex life as a disabled person. For some people, it may require research or adjustments that are different, but that’s OK. Don’t be defeated by the lack of encouraging information available about sex and intimacy and your disability. It may still be considered taboo, but I can tell you it’s perfectly normal to crave sex and intimacy while being disabled.

Photo credit: Napadon Srisawang/Getty Images

Originally published: November 27, 2018
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