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What I'd tell my younger self about sex
Vix is a disability activist, public speaker and writer with Cerebral Palsy who spends her time between London and Los Angeles. Today she has written a letter to her younger self about having sex as a disabled person.
I see you there. Sitting on the edge of your new double bed, jacket still on, smile on your face. I see you looking down at your hands, as if to make sure that they’re still the same hands, the ones that have grown with you. You’ve done it. Isn’t that wild? Less than two hours ago, there you both were, avoiding the bed for fear of squeaking springs and just going for the floor instead. He asked you gently over and over again if this was okay, if you felt ready. There was no music and no candles - just a tangled, unsure mess of limbs and kisses that tasted familiar. It hurt more than you were expecting but you didn’t really have time to wonder if that was just you. You felt safe, and, really that’s what mattered. That night, your body felt your own.
The months before had felt filled with long, long nights of sitting by the blue insomniac light of your computer asking the internet if you even could, if your disabled body was worthy of knowing the shape of someone else’s spine. If it would hurt more, less, if you would feel anything at all. What to do if it didn’t work or if your muscles seized up. How to apologize.
You asked the internet about the things that they didn’t even think to cover at school, because sex ed didn’t include people like you. You tried to find answers to the questions you brushed off from the girls in your class, the ones who said: “You have a boyfriend, but will you be able to...?” Somehow, they never finished their sentences.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s been ten years since then. The internet never gave you those answers, no matter how hard you looked. So, you found them inside yourself, starting that night, in your jacket, playing with your fingernails, and every single day since.
Now, you know. You know you’re allowed to do this - that it’s not just reserved for the people whose bodies are on the cover of the magazines you sometimes still read. That it’s just as much your right to feel your back arching and the tug behind your bellybutton. That you’ll have bad sex, and good sex, and makeup sex and break up sex just like everyone else. You know you don’t need to apologize for saying no, that you don’t need to feel less than for not being able to bend in certain ways, or for getting tired too quickly, because there is no one way to do this. You know you are not required to answer anyone’s questions about your body if you don’t want to, even if they do finish their sentences.
Your body is your own. It’s your map to explore, alone or with someone else. Make your own definitions for sex and for pleasure and pay no heed to what may already exist if it doesn’t work for you. Write your own dictionary. This world is yours to create, in safety, in comfort and in peace with yourself.
And on those days where all that feels just out of your reach - where it feels like your body, your disability and your intimacy is fair game to the whole world but you, please read this, no matter how old you may be. Etch the words into the darkness behind your eyes, like starlight. You are allowed. You are worthy and sex is for you too.
What are some ways you think we can all work together to help make sex education more inclusive?