Sex and Disability

It is absolutely a myth that those with disabilities and chronic illnesses are asexual or not able to engage in sexual intercourse or other sex acts, but that is far from the truth. “Having a physical or intellectual disability doesn’t change your sexuality and your desire to express it – or the emotions that can go with it. In fact, the World Health Organization says sexuality is a basic need and aspect of being human that cannot be separated from other aspects of life.” If you have a disability or chronic illness and this makes you self-conscious about engaging in a sexual relationship with another individual, these emotions and anxieties are completely normal.

Emotional Obstacles and Expectation

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

It’s normal to be concerned about finding a partner, whether your partner will find you attractive, concerned about your partner’s emotions, future sexual endeavors and other goals, and even worried about what others will think and other discriminations. The most important thing to remember is that you are deserving of all the things that an able-person can do or have, but you will just have to take another approach to get there. As you would in any relationship, communication is extremely important (if not the first step) to getting to intimacy. Figure out your own goals first, then bring them to your partner. It make take talking to a physician or other professional and do your own research on how individuals with similar disabilities and illnesses cope with or maneuver around their condition. Rather than tell yourself to have low expectations – tell yourself that you may have to try different approaches as you go. Make sure you also have the right sex education as well, this is extremely important for those caring with someone who has an intellectual disability (and yes, they are interested in having sex too).

Physical Obstacles and Expectations

inflatable position pillow
Inflatable Position Pillow

Before reaching enjoyment, you may find that you will have physical obstacles to cross along with the emotional ones. Pain is a possibility, especially when dealing with a physical disability or trauma. Regardless of who has the disability or illness, be patient with yourself and your partner. Some other things to consider would be how medication, fatigue from depression or other mental state might affect your stamina and your desires. There are articles and books out there with modified sex positions that can be considered as well as some products to help position you or your partner such as sex swings and other positioners. Because what helps others, both emotionally and physically varies, so somethings that may have been discussed might not be your go-to for assistance. That is why it is very important to have these discussions with your primary physician or other professional to get you started and see what you need to do to be where you want.

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