On a day-to-day basis, we are saturated by gazillion messages! Most of these messages are non-verbal. Many of the ideas about sexuality and disability have been communicated via these messages in a subtle ways.
These ideas are so deeply rooted in our unconscious – that many of us are unaware we believe them. Want to test this?! Quickly write down three things that come to mind when you think about a disabled person and sex.
Chances are – what you have written is simply not true! But don’t feel bad, we all make frequent generalized assumptions that turn out to be wrong. The trick is to be more informed.
This is why you are reading my blog – I hope – to gain more knowledge about sexuality. Here are 2 most common myths about disability and sexuality that are plain wrong.
MYTH #1: PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT SEXUAL!
Bullshit! That’s right – this myth stinks like a heaping pile of smelly cow dung! This myth is not only plain wrong – it is incredibly dehumanizing. And our culture is highly responsible for this – here is how.
In American culture, self-sufficiency is highly prized. We are supposed to do everything by ourselves – and still have energy left over to help others. In fact, we get praised for our independence.
For this reason, people with disabilities are perceived as helpless. As a result, they are seen as children – who are not acknowledged to be sexual. A person may have forty years of life experience – with the body, brain, temperament, and sexual drive of an adult. But if that person can’t feed themselves, wipe their ass, or needs help getting around – that person is considered a child. And as a child – considered to be asexual human being!
Make no mistakes about it – people with disabilities are sexual! Some have incredibly high sex drives. And sexuality doesn’t only mean intercourse – which leads us to Myth #2.
MYTH #2: PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES CAN'T HAVE 'REAL' SEX!
OH, the ridiculously constructed idea of what ‘real’ sex means! We are so influenced by the portrayal of sex in the media – that some of us have misconstrued view of ‘real’ sex.
'Real’ sex is supposed to progress from kissing to ‘real’ thing – penis-in-vagina intercourse! This should lead to simultaneous orgasm in ten minutes or less. Not to mention, you should also be able to have sex in a variety of positions – and places – all within that 10-minute interval.
As a result, foreplay is dismissed as a prelude to the ‘real’ thing. Oral sex is hot, but still not the ‘real’ thing. Masturbation – is definitely not the ‘real’ thing. In fact, we are led to perceive that only people who can’t get laid masturbate. Even through research and our own experience tell us this is not true!
This misconstrued view creates a belief that only intercourse leading to orgasm is considered ‘real’ sex. This idea leads to a belief that no one living with a disability is capable of having ‘real’ sex. The truth is that majority of people with disability can have not only an orgasm – but an intercourse as well!
Kaufman, Miriam, Silverberg, Cory, & Odette, Fran. 2003. The ultimate guide to sex and disability: For all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain and illness. San Francisco: Cleis Press.