Sex and Disability
Even if you’re in an established relationship, all sorts of tensions and difficulties can crop up. It’s especially hard if one of you becomes chronically sick, disabled or has an impairment which changes. It can then become not only something you both need to get your head round, but could mean your partner now has to assist you in different ways and offer you ‘care’ in a way they haven’t done before.
The dynamic of your relationship could change. Sex might become physically or emotionally difficult. Or you may end up feeling like you’re living with your best friend and that sex is off the menu all together. Maybe you’re single and want to date, have fun, find the person of your dreams? Or you want to play the field but are scared of ending up feeling like a novelty shag. Where do you look for a partner? How do you approach intimacy? When do you mention an impairment or disability?
Living in a care home and maintaining or even establishing a relationship is no easy feat. Lack of information, attitudes, privacy and access are massive barriers. After all, how many double beds have you ever seen in a care home?
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOVE GURUS!
Emily manages the Undressing disability campaign. She is also an accessible travel writer and accessibility consultant, she has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and has had relationships with both able-bodied and disabled partners.
Katherine Sellors is a third-year occupational therapy student. She is passionate about all aspects of sex, sexuality and Occupational Therapy input. Especially regarding those with disabilities and enabling them to engage in sexual expression in the same manner as someone without a disability.
Mik is a big personality in the media world, representing disability in his own unique way. He has presented shows on BBC2, Channel 4, ITV, Total Rock Radio and BBC 3 Counties Radio.
Andrew Gurza is an award winning Disability Awareness Consultant and Accessibility Awareness Specialist. He was the subject of a National Film Board of Canada Documentary “Picture This”. Andrew has guested on a number of podcasts as well as hosting his own, Disability After Dark: The Podcast Shining a Bright Light on Sex and Disability. He has spoken all over the world on sex, disability and what it means to be a Queer Cripple as well as creating the viral hastag #DisabledPeopleAreHot
Zoe became a wheelchair user 21 years ago when she became very ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite being a very positive, happy go lucky person, she had crises of confidence and identity issues about not being the fit active sporty person she once was. This led her into therapy and after seeing the positive transition in herself, she decided to become a counsellor.
Damian has the somewhat ‘invisible’ condition of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (and a number of associated conditions).
He has over 15 years experience in the sex toy industry, a love of live (and loud) music and has been with his non-disabled wife for over 20 years.
Love Lounge Q&As
You are not alone. We all have worries and questions about dating, sex, love and relationships. Read our articles and contact us if you need more help.