by Gloria G. Brame
Every sexual relationship is complicated and unique. Every adult has individual quirks, challenges, conditions, and inhibitions that impact the quality of his or her sex life. Disabled persons face extra challenges because of differences in what they may and may not be able to do in bed. For a lot of disabled people, it’s hard not to feel self-conscious when they are naked, whether it’s because they are unhappy with the way their bodies look or because they must wear various medical devices. Some feel insecure that they can’t meet their partner’s expectations because their bodies look or function differently. One of the toughest aspects of being involved with a disabled person is that their insecurities can get in the way of a happy sex life. The only solution to that problem is to develop your sex life based on the things your disabled partner CAN do instead of getting hung up on the things he or she cannot do.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that just because someone’s body functions differently, it doesn’t mean their sexual desires are different. Disabled people crave and enjoy sex as much as everyone else. Unfortunately, a combination of personal insecurity and social prejudice make many disabled persons feel extremely shy about dating and romance. But once they feel comfortable with a partner, their long experience with being handled and examined by health workers may leave them remarkably uninhibited about being touched and probed by a lover. And this, in turn, may make them wonderfully sensual and orgasmic. With the exception of a handful of conditions, most disabled people have normal orgasms. In fact, some disabled people experience orgasms more readily and more intensely, particularly if the genitals are the only area where they have full sensation in their lower bodies.
With a mildly- or partly-disabled partner, sex will not introduce any big new challenges. If your partner is deaf it is considerate to keep the light on so your partner can read your lips in bed; if your partner has a prosthetic limb, be sensitive to the stump skin which may be sensitive or sore. Similarly, if your partner wears a bag or other medical device, has a port or fresh scar, don’t get too crazy in a moment of passion or you’ll hear a howl of pain instead of pleasure.
The best approach is not to expect sex with a severely disabled partner to be a carbon copy of previous sexual experiences. Treat it as an adventure and be prepared for small surprises and even glitches at the beginning. Depending on their disability, penetration may be problematic. Take your time shifting positions until you find one that feels comfortable to you both. Don’t stress out if your first attempts are lackluster: you are learning a new way to have sex and it could take a few tries before things flow smoothly. Be prepared with a back-up plan if penetration isn’t possible. Explore each other’s bodies gently to find out all the ways you can bring each other to orgasm using fingers or mouths. Some disabled people possess the ability to climax from stimulation to other body parts – nipples, ears, and other sensitive spots. Your disabled partner probably knows more about anatomy than the average medical student: let your partner teach you about new paths to arousal.
And remember: focus on the love you can have and don’t worry about what other people do in bed. There is nothing wrong, and a lot right, with having a one-in-a-million love affair.