“I have cerebral palsy and can count my sexual experiences on the fingers of one hand.”

“You invite people to share their stories of sexuality.
I have cerebral palsy and can count my sexual experiences on the fingers of one hand. A psychiatrist once tried telling me this was because I was sexually deviant. I did not argue, but I felt he was mistaken and that he had no basis for advising me because he was not disabled and had not had any experience remotely related to disability.I would genuinely like to know how much you relate to this experience and its point of view. Thank you very much indeed.​” – James

Emily – “Hi James, many thanks for writing in.
From one with CP to another, I can absolutely relate to your story.Seeing as ‘deviant’ really means ‘differing from the norm,’ we’re probably all sexual deviants in our own ways, and this should in no way be seen as a negative thing.  The problem is, the psychiatrist that you spoke to definitely displayed it negatively!

As I don’t know the psychiatrist, I can’t tell you whether he was capable of advising you or not, but what is coming through loud and clear is that fact that he seemed to give you little option to define for yourself what you sexually ‘were’ or ‘were not’.  And that’s a problem that plagues society as a whole.
For example, society (in general) sees fewer sexual experiences as something to be ashamed of, society (in general) sees disability as an asexual concept, and these are the things that we are desperately trying to change.

In short, I sincerely hope that experiences like yours become fewer and more far between.  Do write back in if you’d like any advice on any other aspect of disability, sex or relationships. Wishing you a lovely festive season, Emily x”

Mik – “Argh James, the old “you’re deviant due to your disability” line eh? It is true that many non-disabled people seem to find the things that disabled people sometime need to, or want to, do disconcerting. They like to say it is because they consider what ever fantasy or sexual predilection we admit to as being kinky, but I really think it is because they are uneasy with us wanting to not have sex but enjoy it. Those in the medical and social professionals can be the worst, as they really think they understand disabled people as they have learned about us during their training. It takes a really skilled and rounded “expert” to be able to explore their own feelings around disability and sexuality, and to come out the other end being able to admit that we have all the same wants, dreams, desires and even fetishes as any non-disabled person might do. I would say never let anyone tell you are deviant, unless you are into some really weird shit.

 I have had the exact same experience just on a much more public scale. In the mid 90’s I was a well known TV presenter. I also sang in a rock band and we played on the fetish scene a lot. The Daily Mail ran a story “outing” me for being into kinky sex, yet only a year earlier the News Of The World ran a story with the headline of Wheelie Sexy, claiming they had found this new disabled sex symbol singer and presenter. What it seems is that if you appear sexual as a disabled person that’s fine, but if you actually have sex and know what you might want out of sex then that’s just sick. It taught me that the wider public really do find the subject of disability and sex frightening and confusing, but then they are a repressed bunch mostly.
As well as being freaked out if disabled people express an interest in experimenting with sex, many people find the fact that we might need to try different stuff due to our specific physical needs equally troubling. I have written several articles on how many of the techniques used by disabled people to enable them to have sex would be of benefit to the wider non-disabled community but they are only ever featured in speciality magazines. The mainstream press find the whole idea of us teaching them something to bizarre to accept.
Without knowing what exactly it was that caused you to be called a deviant, all I can say is if you really are into fetishism or any other left field sexual activity, why try visiting a local fetish club. It’s one of the few places where people accept you as a sexual entity, and you might find someone that thinks what you are into is perfect match for them.
I should also like to say that only being able to count your sexual partners on one hand is not a bad thing. I don’t know how old you are but until I was nearly 30 I could have done the same with fingers to spare. Even today I could only use both hands and I was a famous TV presenter. It’s not the quantity that matters, but the quality. I’d much rather have a few great nights to remember than a succession of crap shags.”

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