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Author Topic:   Sexual Politics: Sex & Disability
Miz Scarlet
Sexpert

Posts: 19846
From: Minneapolis
Registered: May 2000

posted 01-16-2003 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No Big Deal Sex & Disability
There is really only one thing that you need to know about sex and disability: Disabled people have sex, too.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 01-16-2003).]

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girl helplessly in love
unregistered
posted 01-24-2003 05:51 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
hello!
I read your website...and i agreed with everything you wrote. This article about sex and diablility was something i could totally relate to. My Boyfriend has Becker's Muscular Dystrophy, which limits the use of his legs, and has weakness else where in his body. My relationship with him is the best thing that happened to me as well as to him. I would ask myself, how did i get soo lucky to have someone like him, who is just like me in a lot of ways. Me and him recently had sex. When you explained what sex really was, i was astonished to see that more people saw it like we did. At first, his brother and others would make fun of him and how we wouldn't really be able to actually have sex, but when we actually did, it was really out of this world. I loved the fact that i was close to him and he was with me. We would do everything that you explained that should lead to sex. Since it was also my first time, I was glad that I waited until I found him to share it with. The same was for him also. I know i wrote a lot, but I just wanted to explain that you shouldn't look at someone physically. You should look in the inside, and accept them for who they are. Thanks for reading.

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Opus the Poet
unregistered
posted 01-30-2003 10:10 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was recently declared disabled after I was hit by a car and among other things my hip was broken and surgically repaired. I was a Dirty Old Man before the wreck, and I'm still a Dirty Old Man. I just can't manage many of the positions I used in the past, and can't lay on my left side for very long.

One of the few problems I have had was educating my partner that sex was possible even though I had lost some mobility, and that she would have to provide part of the action now that I had done in the past.

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Miz Scarlet
Sexpert

Posts: 19846
From: Minneapolis
Registered: May 2000

posted 01-31-2003 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opus, if it's still an issue, do you have a physical therapist who can discuss this with your partner as well?

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~jess~
Activist

Posts: 274
From: Oregon
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 02-11-2003 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ~jess~     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is by far my favorite article. people are so sterotypical when it comes to disablitied people.

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my new world

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thrillia
unregistered
posted 02-19-2003 08:48 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a disabled adult who is in the mental health field, I truly enjoyed this essay. However, I do think that it is much harder then this essay leads on for disabled people to find sexual partners. I believe though through education for both non-disabled people and disabled people that it will be easier for disabled people to find sexual partners.

The non-disabled population needs to be taught that the disabled population has the same sexual feelings, sexual needs, sexual wants and sexual desires as anyone else. In addition, our society believes and thus expresses in many ways that being sexually attracted to a disabled person is wrong or taboo, but is not. This is why non-disabled people need to be reassured that it is 'ok' to be physically attracted to a disabled person and that they should not feel badly or guilty if they do.

Furthermore, the disabled population needs to be taught to have exceptional social skills and to be assertive in their sexual wants and needs. Therefore, they will be able to interact comfortably with others and this will make it a little easier for them to find willing sexual partners.

There is still a long way to go before the disabled reach sexual equality, but with essays like this and further education the disabled will become better informed about what they can do to have a satisfying sex life and thus the sexual barriers will be brought down.

Jamie Levin, MS
(----edited: we ask that you not post your email address for your own safety, thanks.----)

[This message has been edited by KittenGoddess (edited 02-19-2003).]

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Whatsthatmommy
Activist

Posts: 69
From: USA
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 03-01-2003 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whatsthatmommy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i read part of this article and the same author did a thing on aspergers syndrome

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Get close to your friends, but closer to your enemies.

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Miz Scarlet
Sexpert

Posts: 19846
From: Minneapolis
Registered: May 2000

posted 03-01-2003 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes she did, the title of which you can find in her bio at the end of that article.

That author is also our volunteer logic_grrl.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

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shock_me_sane
Neophyte

Posts: 4
From:
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 03-26-2003 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for shock_me_sane     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for a fantastic article. You really hit the nail over the head. My girl friend has bipolar disorder and I am clinically depressed. It makes for some interesting sexual negotiations at times, but we are commited to each other and to having as healthy a relationship as possible, we feel as you do, that our mental illness', as well as being queer has forced us to realize the truly important things in a relationship. Congratulations on doing your part to help educate others, I appreciate your efforts.
thanks

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Blindfolded
Neophyte

Posts: 5
From:
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 04-15-2003 05:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blindfolded     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I'm bi-polar, I'm glad you mentioned it in your article. Finding someone that 'gets' it isn't always easy. As two of my last boyfriends have had to use a wheelchair at times and I often use a walking stick, I hope people realise its really not a problem

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Steddy
unregistered
posted 05-03-2003 01:08 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great article, very refreshing to see a person who understands the frustration with people who don't understand that people with Asperger's Syndrome are the same as anybody. I have the same reaction to unexpected close contact because I have Asperger's Syndrome myself. Great article!

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frozendreams
Activist

Posts: 118
From: dayton ohio usa
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 05-03-2003 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for frozendreams     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really liked the article. One of my best friends has muscular dystrophy and he was in a really bad depression and was suicidal at one point because he couldnt find a real girlfriend because everyone that he was with just wanted something from him,such as money.

He thought that no one could get past his disability and that everyone felt sorry for him because he is a "freak". Yes i did feel sorry for him, but not because of his disability, i felt sorry for him because he doesnt realize that not all people are the same and that some people dont care about your disabilities.

He cant walk or lift over 2 pounds and he has to have everyone do everything for him (which he hates) but i had to talk to him everyday and try to convince him that there are some people out there that would want to take on that resposibility because they care about him. He thinks that no one will ever find him attractive and no one wants to have sex with him (even though hes not a virgin).

Then he asked me one day why i am so different from everyone else and why i can think of him as a "normal" person but other people cant. He wanted to know why he couldnt find someone like me and if i think that he would ever meet anyone with my views. (By the way i cant be with him because im married to his best friend). I told him that he is completely normal and just because he is disabled doesnt make me think anything less of him and i had to remind him that he is very intelligent and that he is going to law school because he wants to change the country and be the first lawyer with muscular dystrophy.

He has goals and he is going for them. but the problem is when he likes a girl they always tell him that they dont want to be with him because they dont want to ruin the friendship. I have always told him not to look too hard for love and sex that it will come to him when the time is right and to just have faith.

So he is focusing on school and doing really well and he is still waiting for the right girl to come along but he is dealing better with things now. I think that in a way i helped him because i showed him that not all people are the same and i wouldnt let him give up his dreams because of what society thinks about people in his situation.

just my insight and experience with someone with a disability.

[This message has been edited by frozendreams (edited 05-03-2003).]

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frozendreams
Activist

Posts: 118
From: dayton ohio usa
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 05-03-2003 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for frozendreams     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i think that is the longest thing i have ever written on this site. sorry if i was babbling or not making sense.

fromerly unhappykoger

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Simple and Clean
Neophyte

Posts: 16
From:
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 05-07-2003 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Simple and Clean     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
frozendreams...i know exactly what your talking about. My bf has muscular dystrophy and he used to have depression. He could walk somewhat still but not for long and still has trouble doing things like getting in a car or bathing cuz he cant get up. He used to think the very same way, how he thought he was a freak and that no one would be sttracted to him until I came. At the moment, we are still together and very happy (8 months and counting). He also does really well in school and plays in the band, and has goes in mind like either being a mechanical engineer (becuz he LOVES cars, especially trucks) and be some sort of engineer for thinks like wheelchairs. When i read your story i was shocked to see that there were somepeople in our very situation. Everything is great right now, i just learned that i hafta be patient. Dont get me wrong, i try to help him in every way i can and able to, althought he thinks that hes a bother when he isnt. I just tell him that not to worry, and that i will always be there for him at all times. heheh thanks for reading my very long reply.

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MissBlueEyes225
unregistered
posted 05-12-2003 03:48 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whoever wrote this really touched me! I know it sounds cheesy...LoL......i really think it's awesome! It's changed my whole perspective. I used to think i would never be with a "handicap" but now i can actually picture myself with an "abled" person.Ilove it!

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Red's wicca lover
unregistered
posted 06-01-2003 03:22 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

i thought that this artical was really cool, and well writen, this is one of the first things i have read from this page.
you speak the truth

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la_fileuse
Neophyte

Posts: 20
From: Michigan, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 06-01-2003 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for la_fileuse     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just got to jump on the bandwagon and thank you guys for such a great article. My boyfriend was born with spina bifida, and he used to be very uncomfortable explaining some of the things that that encompasses. He has difficulty feeling from the waist down, which has provided some challenges for us, but we've found ways to be intimate nonetheless. Showing him this article and discussing it together helped us to talk about the issue a lot more openly. Thanks so much!

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"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of -- but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."
--Robert A. Heinlein

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Glitter_mushr00m
unregistered
posted 06-03-2003 09:11 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really appreciated that article it shines light on the fact that disabled people have sexual feelings too and don't live a celibate life. I have weak back muscles and a touchy hip due to an accident when i was younger so some positions (like girl on top) are hard for me to hold for very long. i'm glad you covered other milder disabilities like mine as well as the big ones because both can have interesting sexual complications.

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Tufty
unregistered
posted 06-08-2003 01:25 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi
Came across this while browsing, and just wish to add my little bit,for what it is worth. I never, ever, believed that I would have a relationship with any girl with any form of disabiity. I am 52 years old, my partner is 31, we have had a full and loving relationship,and enjoy a full sex life.We have been together for many months,and are now contemplating living together, my partner,she is a Tetra ,C3/C4,incomplete, a most loving and considerate partner one could want. Life is not a bed of rose's , but we love each very much, and I see a very atractive young women,firstly, who just happens to disabled or as I prefer to say "has a mobility problem".

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A. Rosselini
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From:
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-14-2003 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for A. Rosselini     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This was a well written article. I wished there were some pieces like this when I was younger. It would have made a difference in my life. A significant one.

I was born with a hearing loss in both ears so without my hearing aids I couldn't hear squat. Being in relationships with members of the opposite sex intimidated me, but I still dated and had fun. However, I felt strange. Should I have intimacy with or without my hearing aid? Would the person I was with still love me because I missed the sweet nothings whispered into my ear? What about when it came time to venture near my ear? So many what if's stopped me from really 'connecting' with whoever I was dating at the time.

There were people I have dated that were not understanding and my self-esteem suffered dramatically as a result. However, there were people whom I have dated that showed me more things about being deaf that I ever dreamed imaginable. Wow. Guess you don't have to be disabled to understand or empathize.

All in all. I'm glad that the voices of disabled people are being heard and ultimately: Disabled people make love to.

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~Sexuality is meant to be celebrated, not shunned~

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hotkevin
unregistered
posted 06-18-2003 11:03 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently read this article just out of curiousity of another disabled person's views on sex. I found the article to be true beyond belief. I myself am visually impaired and therefore encounter much of what the auther some of the issues discussed. I would just like to say to other challenged readers that may find it difficult to find a partner but they are bound to come. Once non-challenged persons overcome their general stereotypes, they will see that we are just like them in almost everyway. We have needs, we have urges, we want to love and to be loved. Once people realize this, finding partners, will become a breeze. Don't give up the hope and keep searching!

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hannikan
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From:
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-30-2003 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hannikan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for this article. I am so glad this subject is getting positive attention. I'm not under 21, I ended up here by mistake but I was drawn to this article. Well written and covers many issues. It's so important that people of all ages realize that the disabled have varying possibilities when it comes to sex. Nor that the disabled are either pathetic or perverted. They can have passionate sex and real relationships. Wheelchair does not necessarily mean no erection! My boyfriend is in one and I know when we are out together people think "poor them, they must not have sex". Yes we do! Great sex, we can have intercourse. But when we didn't we still had a great time. The most important thing is patience and communication. Which is always true. Like another response said having extra challenges can make intimacy stronger. Situations change esp self esteem. When we met he didn't think we would be able to but once he trusted me & didn't feel insecure everything changed. And intercourse is not the only great sex, explore all the possibilities! Don't be afraid! Thanks again.

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peaceful_jasmine
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From: Singapore
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 09-08-2003 12:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for peaceful_jasmine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello! I really enjoyed this article. I'm a gal born with spina bifida. I'm 18 yrs old but never had a boyfriend. It's true that disabled ppl also have their desires and they should have equal chances of falling in luv and getting intimate. But not all are so lucky. Most normal ppl wouldn't want to date a disabled person. It's nice to know that some disabled ppl are lucky in luv and are even sexually active. Wonder when I'll get my turn. Sometimes I also dream of falling in luv and getting intimate with a special someone. But I'll leave it to fate. One question though. Izzit advisable for disabled gals to get pregnant and give birth? Will the child be affected? What kinda contraceptives should gals with spina bifida use?

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logic_grrl
Advocate

Posts: 5788
From: UK
Registered: May 2002

posted 09-08-2003 06:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for logic_grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
One question though. Izzit advisable for disabled gals to get pregnant and give birth? Will the child be affected?

That really depends on your disability, so it's something you should talk to your doctor about. Many disabilities won't affect pregnancy or birth at all, but others may mean you need extra medical support in case there are any problems.

If you have spina bifida, there may also be a somewhat increased chance (apparently around a 1 in 50 chance) that your baby will have spina bifida as well, so that's something you need to consider.

Some people feel that they don't want to risk passing their disability on, while others feel that they would be able to welcome a child with the same disability as themselves.

quote:
What kinda contraceptives should gals with spina bifida use?

Again, you need to talk to your doctor about what would be most suitable for you. If you have limited mobility - if you use a wheelchair, for example - some doctors may feel it's best not to prescribe birth control pills, for example. But there's no one contraceptive which is automatically "best" for all people with a particular disability - just as with non-disabled people, it's an individual thing.

However, many people with spina bifida are allergic to latex, so you may need to make sure you use non-latex (e.g. polyurethane) condoms, gloves and so on for safer sex.

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Sleepypie
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From:
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 10-03-2003 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sleepypie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to thank you for including mental health issues as disabilities--sometimes people forget that depression can lower sexual desire, or that an obsessive compulsive person may have trouble dealing with certain issues during sex. My girlfriend has been incredible dealing with both my bipolar disorder and my chronic daily headaches. I have to take medications to keep these in check, and it makes her job harder--I can't believe how persistant she can be!

It means a lot to me that she will spend the time to get me to be able to have multiple orgasms and sustained orgasms (minutes long) though it sometimes takes hours. She has also learned to be happy about sexual play when I don't orgasm, which has happened because of my meds. In the same way, I try to be as understanding when it takes her a while or when she is ready to stop. I appreciate scarleteen's approach to talking about orgasms--they're NOT the be all and end all of sex. They don't mean it's done--you can stop long before or long after.

Unrelated note: I am also grateful that this site doesn't assume anything about its readers--sexuality, disabilities, gender identity or expression... I feel welcome as a bipolar lesbian who gets headaches every day. I can't imagine someone feeling unwelcome.

Thanks.

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they call me the Hyacinth girl

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BannaOj
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From: Rolling Meadows, IL
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-23-2004 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BannaOj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I stumbled onto the scarleteen site, when looking for fact-based information for a younger friend of mine. I got most of my sexual info via older friends who fortunately had their science straight.

Anyway I was very intrigued by this article. My childhood reads like a book of Asperger's children's experiences, and I score well into the Asperger's range on self-tests however I have never been formally diagnosed. I would be considered "high-functioning" for sure, though a definite oddity as a left-handed female chemical engineer. I was extremely lucky in that while raising me, my mother managed to instinctively do 90% of what the experts recommend today.

But the reaction described to inital sex with Asperger's i.e. extreme sensitivity to touch was something I wasn't aware of. Once again it describes my experience completely. At a certian touch a violent "fight or flight" reaction suddenly kicked in even though my participation was totally voluntary at an intellectual level. I am surprised that I didn't give my partner a black eye.

Fortunately my partner was very understanding and we patiently and gradually worked through it together, though it took months and is still an ongoing process.

I was wondering if there is any more reference liturature on sexual reactions in adult persons with Asperger's.

Thank you very much. I wish I had had your website when I was younger. I'm still learning things from it now!

BannaOj

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krm6886
Neophyte

Posts: 2
From: oklahoma city, OK
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-04-2004 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for krm6886     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
hey, great article. i'm a 17 year old guy in a wheelchair. i'm newly injured, about 2 years. i was fairly 'active' sexually before, but now im looked in a completely non-sexual way by girls around here. the 'pathetic' and 'saintly' stereotypes are very accurate... hardly anyone looks at me as an equal. not only am i self-conscious of my appearnce... i dont want to guilt someone into a relationship with me, or get into a relationship and deprive her of the things i should be able to do for her. ive decided to work on me first, once im more confident in myself.. i think i could be in a relationship. but for now, rehab...

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Kyle ~[hotwheels]~

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logic_grrl
Advocate

Posts: 5788
From: UK
Registered: May 2002

posted 05-05-2004 05:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for logic_grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
ive decided to work on me first, once im more confident in myself.. i think i could be in a relationship.

That sounds like a very smart plan.

There are certainly people who will (because of their own prejudices) view you as "asexual" because you're in a wheelchair - but there are also people out there who won't have those prejudices.

And if you can get to a point where you're comfortable with yourself, there's no need to worry that you're "guilting" someone into a relationship or depriving them of anything. Someone who's in a relationship with you is probably there because they want to be.

As a matter of fact, a good buddy of mine who uses a wheelchair just got married .

By the way, he recommends John Hockenberry's book "Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence" as a great, no-holds-barred book about coming to terms with life on wheels (sex included).

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wayback
Neophyte

Posts: 1
From: mesa,az,usa
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-17-2004 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wayback     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
as you get older, kyle, not all girls are going to see you as a wheelchair first. my boyfriend during college was a para. that was back in the early 70's. but let me tell you, we had sex-often. we finaly broke up because i couldn't deal with all the other girls that were after him, but we were friends for thirty years after that.
don't worry about depriving her of anything. i never felt deprived, i was always the one who got wore out first!

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