Disabled and sexually active - what's the score

Written by: Jenny Woodward Disabled sexually active

An active and fulfilling sex life is possible for everyone who wants it. People with a disability can and do lead fulfilling sex lives. You may need to get creative and look at different ways to have sex which can be challenging, fun but certainly not limiting.

Shake off the stigma

There are many societal myths surrounding disability and sex. Whether it's that disabled people are asexual, can't have sex, or are only into kinky sex. Sex education is poor and limiting even for able-bodied people (all biology and no pleasure, right?) How often do you see disabled people on TV, let alone having sex? These misconceptions can impact self-esteem and confidence which in turn affects sexuality. Shockingly, according to one survey, up to 50% of adults with disabilities are not in any sexual relationship at all.

Breaking down the barriers

A person with a disability may feel unattractive, or even less worthy of sexual relations. If the disability happened later in life, the person may compare how they used to look, common for amputees. Similarly, deaf people can become worried about how they will sound during sex. You may need a technical aid to move around, just like a vibrator is a technical aid to achieve orgasm. So what? It isn't weird, it can be creative and fun. Overcoming physical barriers can be hard, but the biggest barrier is your own self-confidence in permitting yourself pleasure.

What does disabled sex look like?

Sex is such an individual thing. Able-bodied people have different sexualities, different turn-ons, different responses, and disabled people are no different. Remember sex doesn't have to mean 'penetration'. There are many ways you can experience sexual pleasure, whether that's through the help of sex toys and physical aids (such as bed modifications), or it may be that you just desire intimacy and closeness. What "disabled sex" is and looks like will differ from person to person. So really, it's just, well, sex!

The right partner

Online disabled dating websites specifically aimed at people of all disabilities, such as deaf dating or amputee dating, for example, can make it easier for those searching for that romantic connection, especially if you're just starting out on your sexual exploration. The most important factor is finding someone you can communicate openly with who is willing to make sex accessible for you. Being deaf can make it more difficult to communicate, so if someone won't take the time or effort to engage with you when conversing then don't engage with them sexually. Patience and understanding is vital.

Broaching the subject of sex

Good communication is key when it comes to intimate conversations. You have to be able to talk freely to your partner about comfort levels, what feels good, and what is painful. Sex can be effective for pain relief as the hormones released stave off our awareness of pain. Laughter and having a good sense of humour can go a long way in reducing tension. If you are nervous, ensure sex takes a naturally slow progression. As your confidence builds you may feel more comfortable making changes such as where and how you are touched. Amputee's for example may feel more comfortable about removing liners or prosthetics.

Having a disability doesn't limit or define you - especially in the bedroom. Have fun (s)exploring to find your perfect pleasure.

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