In our series on disability, sex and relationships, expert and resident agony aunt Tuppy (who runs Outsiders – a private club for disabled people looking for a relationship) answers your questions. This week, sex education, a lack of it to be more precise.
I have gone through schooling and university, and my sex education has been worse than useless. The little I have received has left me feeling excluded and depressed. They even had the nerve to say to me that I could give that class a miss if I liked!
The end result is that, not only do I know very little, I don’t know where to go to learn what pleasures I may be able to enjoy and, more important to me, how I will be able to manage to please a woman.
I should tell you that I have muscular dystrophy. I don’t have much privacy because of parents and PAs so don’t even have the chance to experiment when I am alone, as I don’t want to leave traces of orgasms – I would be too embarrassed.
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You have been incredibly sheltered – and when one is brought up in a family where sex is not discussed, we inherit that trait, so well done for actually braving it and writing to me for help.
First, let me say, that spunk, the white substance which comes out of your penis when you ejaculate, is not disgusting – in fact it’s delicious – so you need not be ashamed of your PAs or parents seeing it. It is healthy to masturbate and enjoy yourself sexually, and that is one way you can explore your sexuality, your fantasies and sexual tastes.
Secondly, I can recommend a great book – Guide to Getting it On – which has lots of tips for disabled people, many of them coming from disabled people.
The problem schools and colleges have is that there are very few experts who know enough about sex and disability (just think about how many different kinds of disabilities and impairments there are) who would be able to provide specialist lessons. The only people who could really do it are the sex workers who see all kinds of disabled clients, but sex workers would never be allowed in schools. Your best bet to get educated would be to visit one and you can find one on my TLC website.
I am currently trying to collect some sex workers to write a book, ‘Sex Education for Disabled People’ and I have found a publisher. I think my problem might be that probably few of them will be as good at writing as they are at screwing!
I feel very strongly that the best possible tool for you would be to develop the ability to discuss sex openly with your PAs, with girls you fancy and with lovers. When one is impaired, feeling confident and free to ask for things such as ‘please kiss me’ or ‘please place my hand where you want to be touched’. Having said that, there is no school or course where you can go. However, this is the kind of thing we encourage in Outsiders and you are very welcome to join.
Maybe you could discuss this with your friends and peers? They may feel the same as you and might benefit from coming together for discussion evenings – perhaps watching a film like ‘Made In Secret: The Story of the East Van Porn Collective’ about some students in Canada making a porn movie.
Another idea is to go on a Tantra workshop (checking to see if it will be accessible). My colleague, Sue Newsome, runs Shakti Tantra and she is very disability aware. Tantra is of great use to disabled people because you learn about goal free sex. This is sex where you are not working up to an erection, intercourse or an orgasm, but ‘living in the moment’ and intensely enjoying each pleasure for what it is. The workshops will naturally involve discussion and communication, which is what you need.
People who have been sheltered from early sexual experiences and only overhear teenagers gossiping about sex, tend to have crazy ideas about what the other gender wants. Girls, for example think men are only after one thing, and boys think girls are just after a rich husband. The truth is that most of us just want all the same things out of a relationship – fun, to love and be loved, friendship and happy sexual times together.
Once you know what kind of lifestyle you want to live in your adult, sexual life, make sure you hire PAs who don’t inhibit, but actually support you to live that life. State this when you advertise for them. This will help no end. Good luck with it all and have fun!
By Tuppy Owens