LifestyleRelationships & Sex

Ask the readers: relationships special – April 2012

In the second of our “Ask the readers” series of articles, we share with you some relationship-related questions that  readers have sent in. If you can assist with any of the questions posed in this post, please use the comments section at the bottom of this article. If you have a practical issue or problem that you would like to ask the Disability Horizons community (anonymously if you prefer), please email

Question – From Anon, Birmingham, UK

Hi, I am a 22 year old girl from Birmingham. I met a guy last week through my university course and think he is very cute. He seems to be into me as well. The thing is I cannot tell if he finds me attractive but is shy to say, or if he likes me but in a friendship way only. I would really like to ask him out but I do not want to scare him off. If I am honest, I am worried what he thinks about the fact I have cerebral palsy and if he would want a girlfriend. I would love to hear the readers thoughts on this.

Question – From John, Sheffield, UK

My name is John, I am 34 and have been disabled since birth. I rely on a wheelchair, Personal Assistants and various other support functions to live independently. I did well in my studies (gaining a degree in Computer Science), I enjoy a good social life with family and friends, and I work full time. However there is one part of my life that remains illusive – romance and relationships. I have tried the waiting game, I have dipped my toe into internet dating and even approached one girl in a bar after a few drinks. The problem is I seem to connect with girls but only as friends. We always seem to hit the ‘just friends’ stage without anything else. I see my friends out and about having such a wild time. What am I doing wrong? Is it the disability or is it me??

Question – From Anon, North of England, UK

I have a quick question for the readers of Disability Horizons – I have a genetic condition called Muscular Dystrophy and want to know if it is possible to have sex? I know friends with Muscular Dystrophy who have had heart problems as well and was scared that sex could make this worse. I am 18 and I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for a while and we are ready to go further. I do not know anyone else with MD in a relationship and therefore am unsure of how possible this world is.

If you have any advice to answer any of these questions, please use the comments section below.


  1. Re: Anon from North of England – I have SMA -> Spinal Muscular Atrophy and it is possible to have sex, why not? You only need to find comfy position and that`s it 🙂

  2. ANON BIRMINGHAM : As a very old person, 55, i have to say I found your question really rang some bells from many years ago when I was as young as you ! I was born minus both legs and right arm and walked most of my life until last 8 years or so. I have had a very independent life and held down a fairly pressured career lasting 35.5 years and let me tell you that drafting for Secretary of States and Ministers was easy peasy compared to the dating game ! I share your thoughts on the process but have one simple bit of advice which sounds obvious but is one of the great truisms of our modern time. If you don’t ask you don’t get. There, years of professional guidance in a few words !

    Of course it isn’t really that easy and being serious I’d say that for disabled people one thing we sometimes struggle with, understandably I think, is “rejection”. The fear of that embarrassed “er really appreciate that but can we stay good friends” type answer is very real and can have a significant impact. In truth I’m certain it’s not just a “disabled” thing. Lots of folk fear that “no thanks” answer. Lots don’t even ask the question. I know I didn’t until 8 years ago when I met my wonderful wife at a committee meeting for Everton supporters and then bravely took all of two years to pluck up the courage to ask her out ! Oh and then I did this via email for pity’s sake, what a hero I was !

    I really don’t mean it to sound clever, but hard though it is, you have to be prepared to get a “no” and accept that there could be all sorts of reasons why that was the response. It’s interesting that I suspect many disabled daters, upon getting a “no”, don’t pass go and move straight to “it’s because I’m disabled” when actually it could be simply that the target of your interest just doesn’t like the cut of your jib, so to speak, and it really is nothing more awkward than that….

    The more difficult side to this is that sometimes things won’t work out for exactly the reason you could fear in the first place ie because of the disability. But again, isn’t this just one of a host of potential reasons for rejection ? Bottom line is, if you ask and the answer is yes, then your on the way and it’s all about you and yes, that includes your disability which certainly doesn’t define you, but it’s part of who you are. If its “no” then it might be worth asking why, but difficult though it is, the no answers will likely happen for many different reasons.

    So, what was that advice from an oldie then ? Asking and risking a hard rejection or just a genuine no thanks lets stay friends, is way more valuable than never asking at all and trying to cope with the frustration. That’s my take on it and I’m no professional advisor ! Others may have a different angle. All the best, cheers, Mark

  3. I have Muscular Dystrophy and my wife and I engage in sexual activities on a regular basis. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like though LOL. Of course, she has to do much of the work as in undressing me, and the physical act, but she says I turn her on by the way i look at her, lightly touch her, and talk to her. Sex is all about what you make it and it doesn’t have to be what you see in the movies. It is a spiritual connection. Treat it as such and both parties will leave satisfied

    As for the dating game….I heard “no” so many times I had lost all hopes of finding love. what I found is until i became ok with being alone, is when life changed. Seriously, I had given up all together, became ok with that, and began to invest my time and energy into work, volunteering,etc. 6 months later i reconnected with a high school friend at our 10 year class reunion. Shortly after that, i found myself in love, living with her and her 2 little kids, and now we are about to celebrate 5 years of marriage in October. All my dreams came true, but i had to get to a place that I was ok with them not coming true before they did.
    Now for the funny part….my wife’s comment to me at our 10 year class reunion (after a little bit of wine i might add)…”So does your package still work” LOL I really think a lot of people (able bodied) don’t realize that disabled people are able to function sexually. I believe the more we are open about our needs and abilities, the more someone is able to take a walk on the wild side! Found out many women out there have always wanted to do it with a man in a wheelchair (in his wheelchair I might add). I guess wheelchair sex could be considered a fetish! LOL

    Keep you chin up and be willing to use your voice to express your needs. If the person is unable to go there, then be their friend. Things can always change down the road.

    Best of Luck

  4. YES, We can have Physical & immotional Sex, with Muscullar Distrophy. But, for this we need a very immotional & caring Partner. i myself is a LGMD MUSCULLAR DISTROPHY PERSON. Our own fears & assumtions, are the worst factor, in our sexual life.

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