Part IV: Let’s Talk About Sex (Disability Remix)

Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me; let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. 

Sex and disability; It’s a thing… although you wouldn’t know it based on the lack of representation in everyday society. I know that is a problem for some, particularly in the disabled community — but I don’t have that hang up. Because let’s be real, I don’t look like Shawn Mendez in Calvin Klein’s. I know that. Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing me in my underwear knows that. I’ve accepted it. 

If I’m honest, I have never felt attractive, particularly in a sexual manner. I cannot fathom why anyone would have that level of interest in me, yet, I’ve done things with much hotter guys than I’ve had the right to, and I am not mad about it. (That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mess with my mind after all is said and done, but that’s just something I have to continually work through).

So, how does the whole sex thing work with a disability?

As is the recurring theme in this series, the answer is not universal. What works for me physically may not work for someone else, and because I can only speak for my personal experiences, I am choosing to focus on basic principles instead of specifics. 

Let’s get the basics out of the way:

  • When it comes to men with a disability, sometimes their boy bits function, and sometimes they don’t. 

  • Often times, there are physical limitations which can limit or prevent someone with a disability from doing certain things. 

  • Sensation: Some people have it, some people don’t. 

So, given all of these variables, how do you make it work?

None of these limitations mean neither of you can enjoy a sexual experience together; the all-encompassing answer is to have honest communication. If you have an interest in/are someone with a disability. Talk to your partner about what works, and what doesn’t; and if you don’t know, it never hurts to try. 

Side-note: When it comes to me personally, I don’t particularly like playing a thousand questions before we are in the moment. I’d prefer someone just follow their intuition, try what they want to try, and go from there. If it doesn’t work, I will tell you, and we will adapt. 

Not everyone has that approach; so it’s essential to have an understanding of the person you’re going to be with. It’s all about being aware. This should be true for everyone when having sex, but it seems to be a piece that is often missing. 

Beyond that, have reasonable expectations. Sex is not what we see on the internet. It’s not this glorious oiled-up moment of Roman God perfection. For anyone. Ever. This may be even more notable when disability is introduced; expect that, and be okay with that, but try not to treat the person with a disability as if they are made of glass — if they’re ready to have sex with you, they want to have as good of a time as you do; so don’t over-complicate it. 

If you need to find weird positions, do it. If you need to use pillows or props, do it. If you need to include some type of medical equipment or use the wheelchair, go for it. 

In the words of Tim Gunn,

“Make it work.”