Archive for the ‘Disability And Sexuality’ Category

Yes I Can
February 15, 2009

I initially thought this entry would be impossible to write. I wanted to rise to the challenge posed by this blogger I often read of writing something about disability and sexuality for Valentine’s Day.

But I’m not in the mood. I find the topic fascinating and important in
lots of ways but my emotions are rather delicate at the moment so I
prefer not to think about it, especially on Valentine’s Day.

Eleven years ago a drunken man who I couldn’t see, hear properly or
touch in a noisy student club asked a drunken me “Can you have sex?” And I felt flattered because sex was somewhat mysterious to me and I took the question to mean that this man – who I knew nothing about beyond the fact he wanted to know whether I “could have sex” – wanted sex with me.

These days I don’t go to noisy clubs, and I would find anyone who asked me that question in that context offputting. To me the question “can you have sex” may or may not be asking something specific about the mechanics of one’s body, but at the same time it’s masking the more fundamental question of “are you human?” Because every human has sexual desire and so in my book – yes, everyone “can have sex”.

Of course that’s not what the guy meant! And I wasn’t bothered then about the questions which occupy me now. These include “how on earth am I going to find a partner when I do the same things with the same people week in, week out?”; “how do I, as a blindy wheely, express my desire and how do others perceive it/me?”; and “who can I find to accompany me and share some desire, expanding horizons, new experiences, comfort and support while we’re here on this grubby beautiful planet?”.

Thanks to decent, accessible housing, technology, a substantial care package, brilliant Personal Assistants and many other things I’m actually able to explore these questions – something I seriously doubt would have been allowed to be an issue if I’d lived permanently in an institution, for example, which was a real and frightening possibility at one point.

As my favourite (I’ve tried a few!) dating website, OkCupid, was pointing out recently – we’re in a recession but messages on OkCupid are free – spread the love!

So my (day late) contribution to this topic is to revel in the fact that I can spread the loves, and pains, and anything else that makes us human, whether we’re disabled or not. I hope you can too.

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