Relationships & Sex

What I’ve learned about having sex with a disability

We live in an age where technology grants us quick access to everything from online cooking classes to finding overseas pen pals. Still, this doesn’t mean that disabled people have it easy when it comes to intimacy and romance. Quite the contrary, one of the most complicated things about disabled dating is precisely sex. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Disabled dating site Disabled Mate shares the story of one of its successful users, Simon, who is 42 and has been disabled for 17 years.

I have always thought that sex is the main prerequisite of a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to undermine the importance of romance, compatibility, trust, and communication here. However, the way I see it, mind-blowing sex is the best indicator of harmony between two people. And my opinion didn’t change when I became a disabled person needing to use crutches. In fact, I embraced this notion even harder.

My disablilty forced me to dwell on thoughts about my once abled body. I blamed myself for taking it for granted. The physical limitations emerged as painful reminders of my carefree days when I didn’t even properly stop to cherish the moment and just be grateful for it.

At the same time, the newly-discovered feeling of incompleteness filled me with regret. But I wanted to stay loyal to my core beliefs. I was aware that sex was the only way to truly enjoy physical contact with another person, despite the horrifying feeling that my disability had, at first, spiraled everything out of control. Even during those dark days, I sensed I was given the second chance at transforming my sex life. The chance I was later going to use. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

How I became disabled

The accident that changed my life happened just before my 25th birthday. It was so bad that I was the sole survivor. I remember the sensation. It was harrowing. When I woke up from the post-accident coma, it didn’t take long to calculate the losses: three childhood friends, my whole left leg and about half of my right foot. And the heart that I was afraid would never heal.

Some would say that I was lucky to survive. But there are bigger and more terrifying scars than the ones that we carry on the outside. I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again, Sinatra style. But not before a couple of years of skulking and battling heavy depression had passed. However, I can still remember the moment I finally said to myself: “That was enough”.

You see, there was this a point while reaching through the thick layer of drowning weight that was depression that I realised it had also spilled over to my sexual life. It had robbed me of the chance to act solely on my sexual instincts. The game changed and I had to deal with an entirely new kind of disability. I was genuinely scared. But then…I learned about freedom.

Accepting my new sex life as a disabled man

What I needed to realise first is that I wasn’t going to have the same experiences compared to able-bodied people. But I was allowed to have experiences nonetheless. This thought enticed me to reclaim my sexual life as a disabled man. Coping with my disability, I found some kind of strange freedom and the reassurance that I was still in charge.

Also, I knew I needed to deal with my previously mentioned sense of incompleteness. More and more I was becoming aware of how consuming it was. I was seriously lacking the will to even try to make love to a girl. Actually, let me be completely honest here – I was too scared to even talk about it!

I hate to admit it but I became my own prisoner. My behavior pattern was clearly self-destructive. I would spend most of my confidence on wooing wome. But when it came to the decisive moment, I would always find myself in a dark hole with no motivation or courage to step up to the plate.  This is when…

I learned to talk about disability and sex

From my experience, there’s no better cure for the jitters than admitting you’re afraid and sharing your fears with another person. That was probably one of the most important lessons I had to learn, especially as a man who used to be somewhat of a playboy back in the day. Also… I learned about intimacy.

Nowadays, I still believe that sex is the most important aspect of a relationship. However, my disability has helped me realise that sex pretty much means nothing if you aren’t able to be genuinely intimate with your partner.

And intimacy doesn’t have anything to do with the date count. I mean, look at me, I’ve dated many women since my accident but only once did I come across one that I could be intimate with in every possible way. Alice would always sit very close to me so that some parts of us were touching. She was generous with hugging and I discovered that I actually enjoyed it a lot. But, more importantly, she wasn’t freaked out or afraid of my disability.

Somehow, both of us missed the first time she touched the place where my whole leg used to be, simply because we kept everything so simple and spontaneous. I never felt like I should give significance to the fact that I’m disabled by discussing how she’s supposed to act around my missing body parts. I believe this helped us develop a high level of intimacy with each other.

Consequently, our sex has also been amazing and that same woman is now my wife. We’ve been married for 3 years and were dating for a year and a half prior to tying the knot. I think that we allowed intimacy to grow by keeping things simple. It was probably where I fell in love with her the most.

All in all, I had never realised how different and same sex can be with a disability and without it until I met her. I guess Alice gave me the chance to get to know myself the second time around and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

By Disabled Mate

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