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Guest Post: Sex and Disability shouldn't be a taboo

NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
edited September 13 in Guest blogs

Nicola Golding is a 26 year-old blogger, vlogger and aspiring writer with cerebral palsy. She lives in West Yorkshire and can usually be found drinking tea and ranting on social media. You can find her blog View From A Walking Frame here. She talks to us today about sex, relationships and the perceptions of others.

THIS POST HAS THEMES OF AN ADULT NATURE AND MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR YOUNGER MEMBERS.

As a person with such a visible disability, I get asked a lot of questions about my cerebral palsy. Usually, I’m up for answering questions on anything and everything, until it comes to thing that people want to know about the most: sex. I find myself torn between wanting to break the stigma and not wanting to share my sex-life with the world, but I’m not sure how I can achieve the former without doing the latter.

Why I want to talk about sex

I’m sure I’m not only only one who gets irritated when a news article pops up on my Twitter feed talking about the taboo/stigma/mystery/secrets of having sex with a disability. It used to make me angry, but these days it just makes me sad.

Every time I see one it makes feel me less of a human being. Sex is such a natural thing, but seeing articles such as these makes me feel like I’m doing something disgusting or wrong by having a sex life. I want this to stop, not just for me, but for every disabled person out there.

I’m no prude. I come from a family where everything and anything is talked about openly and without judgement. For the most part, this spills over into my online life as a disability blogger and vlogger too (I once wrote a post about how my cerebral palsy impacts on my menstrual cycle) but sex is different for me.

man and woman sat together

Why I am reluctant to talk about sex 

I guess my reluctance to talk about sex comes from a few different places, the main one being that my boyfriend and I have been together for nine years. I’m open about the fact that he’s the only sexual partner I’ve ever had, and so talking about my sex life means talking about his too, and that doesn’t seem fair. 

That said, he is sick of being asked my total strangers if he can have sex with his girlfriend (the answer is yes, if you’re still wondering) and he’s walked into a room before to find two people we both know really well debating whether or not I’d be physically capable doing it, without actually bothering to ask either of us. He walked back out before they noticed he was there.

Is there an easy answer? 

The more I get asked about this stuff, the less it seems like there’s no easy answer. Most of the disabled people I know hate answering the question because they don’t see why they should, and I have to say that I agree. 

Non-disabled people are never questioned about such things, or met with surprise when they tell someone they don’t want to talk about what they get up to in the bedroom, like I have been in the past. 

female wheelchair user smiling

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m only ever asked these things by strangers. My disabled friends know sex is possible, my able-bodied friends don’t care, and neither my family or mates want to know what my boyfriend and I do in private, anymore than I want know what they get up to.

I remember being 17 and sitting with my BF googling ‘can people with cerebral palsy have sex?’ I know I’m not the only person. Honestly, I used to stay awake worrying about it which feels silly now.

It seems so unfair that the world around us treats having sex as a disabled person like something that needs to be second-guessed, and it seems even more unfair that society doesn’t just accept that disabled people do it like anyone else without wantig details to back it up.

 

What do you think about this? Are you happy to discuss sex with anyone and any time, or would you rather keep the details between you and your partner? 

Replies

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 2,994Administrator admin
    Thanks so much for sharing this @NicolaGolding :)
  • Wonky61Wonky61 Posts: 5Member Listener
    Having tremors and a nutty sense of humour, I have a laugh about giving a fella a hand shandy but without any effort. As the way my hands shake and held in a certain position it has the same outcome as without having to concentrate on what I'm doing!
  • NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
    Sam_Scope said:
    Thanks so much for sharing this @NicolaGolding :)

    Thank you for reading!
  • cdm1979cdm1979 Posts: 1Member Listener
    I'll talk about it with people because I figure that, as a represetive of the disabled community, I just need to act a certain way.
  • NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
    Wonky61 said:
    Having tremors and a nutty sense of humour, I have a laugh about giving a fella a hand shandy but without any effort. As the way my hands shake and held in a certain position it has the same outcome as without having to concentrate on what I'm doing!
    Humor is definitely on of the ways I like to talk about things too. I love that you feel comfortable enough to joke about sex
  • NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
    cdm1979 said:
    I'll talk about it with people because I figure that, as a represetive of the disabled community, I just need to act a certain way.
    I can relate to that a lot. I think if I'd had more than one sexual partner talking about it more openly wouldn't bother me as much, you know?
  • CatmanCatman Posts: 31Member Whisperer
    My Fibro affects affects me in that I'm not always able to sustain a full errection at times due to the fatigue and chronic pain, so I fall back on 'other' ways to satisfy my partner when this happens. We've been together now coming up to two years, we adapt to the limitations of our conditions, she also suffers from a chronic pain condition so we have an understanding. We have a very active and satisfying sex life which should be possible in every loving relationship. 

    If my penis fails me, my tongue is always able to step in. All we have to do is use our imagination. 
  • NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
    Catman said:
    My Fibro affects affects me in that I'm not always able to sustain a full errection at times due to the fatigue and chronic pain, so I fall back on 'other' ways to satisfy my partner when this happens. We've been together now coming up to two years, we adapt to the limitations of our conditions, she also suffers from a chronic pain condition so we have an understanding. We have a very active and satisfying sex life which should be possible in every loving relationship. 

    If my penis fails me, my tongue is always able to step in. All we have to do is use our imagination. 

    I feel like sometimes society puts far too much emphasis on penetrative sex being the only way to have a fulfilling sexual relationship for both partners....
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 80Member Whisperer
    Penetrative sex is mostly the viewpoint of young men who see little beyond it. I was always a little odd in that respect. Despite being a teenager in the 70's I didn't "put it about" like my mates. Always wanted it to be meaningful for both. Unfortunately that also made me fairly inexperienced generally. Until I experimented more recently one night stands were not really fulfilling, not that I had many.

    Having spent the majority of my life healthy I miss the social contact as much as the sexual but also find it harder to relate to disability sex. I haven't had a disabled lover because I am frankly concerned about appearing to not relate or cope with their disability. Plus, I feel it is a man's role to look after a relationship partner and I can barely look after myself.

    A couple of years ago I was pursued by a very young lady suffering CP and other related issues simply because I acted as a gentleman and a friend. Having been in abusive relationships she misunderstood this as love. I don't suppose I dealt with it very well because, as I said, I don't handle others disabilities well. I was also, quite frankly, scared.

    As far as GP's are concerned I have never bothered to bring the subject up. They don't even bother to treat my condition well let alone the additional problems it causes.

    A few years ago I was paying for therapy and did discuss the subject with my therapist. I was, at the time, considering paying for sex. I was very surprised to be encouraged as in my generation it was taboo. I have thought of having therapy again as I am currently over using the option simply to feel better about myself and to gain the experience I never gained when I was young. I'm also very aware that my time for doing this is limited as the damage grows.

    Sorry, I may have strayed off topic. Difficult at times to stay on point.

    TK
  • AlexAlex Posts: 875Administrator admin
    edited September 20
    Great blog, thanks for sharing @NicolaGolding.

    I've heard many times about how strangers ask disabled people if they can have sex. I just don't understand why people think that is appropriate! I think the best response is to ask an intimate question right back at them!

    If you've not seen it, Scope did a little campaign about sex and disability a couple of years ago. Lots of great stories, well worth having a read.
  • Wonky61Wonky61 Posts: 5Member Listener
    Catman said:
    My Fibro affects affects me in that I'm not always able to sustain a full errection at times due to the fatigue and chronic pain, so I fall back on 'other' ways to satisfy my partner when this happens. We've been together now coming up to two years, we adapt to the limitations of our conditions, she also suffers from a chronic pain condition so we have an understanding. We have a very active and satisfying sex life which should be possible in every loving relationship. 

    If my penis fails me, my tongue is always able to step in. All we have to do is use our imagination. 

  • Wonky61Wonky61 Posts: 5Member Listener
    The tongue a versatile muscle. My only problem there is weirdly I  get cramp in my tongue! Very inconvenient! I get cramp in many odd places such as the left side of my neck, that causes me a little concern that MOtP's may get the misapprehension that when I am holding my neck that it may be something more serious than it really is.                                                                                  [ MOtP] members of the public.
  • NicolaGoldingNicolaGolding Posts: 6Member Whisperer
    Alex said:
    Great blog, thanks for sharing @NicolaGolding.

    I've heard many times about how strangers ask disabled people if they can have sex. I just don't understand why people think that is appropriate! I think the best response is to ask an intimate question right back at them!

    If you've not seen it, Scope did a little campaign about sex and disability a couple of years ago. Lots of great stories, well worth having a read.
    Thanks! I'll definitely check it out!
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