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