Relationships & Sex

Being blind doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy sex

We want to break the taboo around talking about sex and disability. Everyone, no matter what their disability or health condition, should be able to enjoy sex and pleasure. That’s why we’re starting a series of sex stories from people with different disabilities about their experiences and what they’ve learnt. This week, we’re sharing the first of a two-part story about how being blind doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sex.

Lazy-minded able-bodied people too often think that if you are visually-impaired, sex is not for you. They think that way because so many people fall into the trap of assuming that sex is all about visual stimulation of the brain  – seeing the naked human body and becoming excited by it.

Like so many things to do with the brain, however, this is a completely wrong interpretation. My name’s Jayne Harrison, I’ve been almost-totally blind from birth, yet at 23 I wouldn’t swap the sex I have with my husband Chris for anything.

What would Chris think of my disability?

Chris and I met through the local rugby club, which has been a part of my life since my mum used to take me in my pram as a child. She would describe the action as my dad Neil bamboozled opponents with his running talents at full-back. I would get as excited as she did, wrapped up in the noise and the cheering, even though I couldn’t see what was going on.

I had known Chris for years by the time he asked me for a date, just after my 20th birthday. Instantly, I said ‘yes’ and spent the days beforehand in a mental haze of questions.

Why did he pick me, the disabled girl? How would we approach the subject of my disability? What would he say to his mates about me? How would we deal with the s-word, if and when we got that far?

By that age, I had learned the importance of being independent and standing up for myself, something that becomes second nature very quickly when you are growing up with any kind of physical impairment.

By the time we met for our date, I had decided that I was going to ask the ‘why me?’ question straight out. I was also going to ask how he intended to approach my disability. I was going to tell him to be straight with his mates, but that if I ever found out that anyone was taking the p**s out of me, I was quite capable of standing up for myself.

I would tell him that I had done what pretty much all girls do – I had experimented with masturbation, enjoyed feeling the changes in my body, and I wanted him to be the first man with whom I had sex.

Our first date quickly developed into more

That first date went wonderfully well. He took me to an expensive French restaurant, wined and dined me, and kissed me on the hand as he saw me safely home.

Chris and I quickly became an item and about 18 months after our first date, on Christmas Day, he asked me to marry him. I had invited him to Christmas lunch to meet the family, so to say I was shocked when he took out a small box from his coat pocket and asked me to guess what it was is putting it mildly.

I burst into tears – I was so happy that this man wanted me for who I was, despite my impairment.

We set about planning the wedding. Chris taking control of stuff like booking churches and reception venues, while my girlfriends formed an invaluable team for matters such as choosing wedding dresses.

Talking about sex for the first time

I was still living at home, while Chris had his bachelor pad near where he worked as a trainee solicitor. As the wedding approached, I spent more and more time there. As a result, our conversations veered more and more towards sex.

I was determined not to go to bed with him until we were married, and he knew that. But we both agreed that the subject of our future sex life together would have to be faced in the run-up to the big day.

We didn’t want to be one of those couples who left it until after they are married to find that they are sexually incompatible – especially in our special circumstances.

So, we had long conversations, often as we lay naked together on his lounge sofa, about what we could and couldn’t do when we were married.

We agreed that listening to erotic stories turned us both on (especially me, with my heightened imagination). We agreed that physical sex would have to be gentle and careful, and we agreed that touch and taste would play a big part, making up for the absence of my sight.

I also loved him playing with my nipples, touching and stroking them. In an act of teenage rebellion a few years before, I had decided to have one pierced and have a small ring for it. Well, if I couldn’t see things, I certainly feel them.

I also knew that he was well-built in that department anyway – at times, I was quite convinced that he doubled in size whenever I took off my bra.

Our wedding went magnificently – the sun shone, it was the best day of my life. Where did all those conversations about sex take us? I’ll tell you next time….

By Jayne Harrison

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