Within my work, I meet the most wonderful, open, honest, people. At the end of the day, all most human beings want is to be held, loved, to feel safe and to be part of a relationship. That relationship can mean with others, or a wonderful life journey with oneself. At some point, we embark on learning about ourselves and others and for this self-development, we often look for a helping hand from a friend or loved one. I am privileged to have been contacted by a beautiful man who is on a journey to re-discover his connection with intimacy; with himself and with his partner, whom he loves very much indeed. Together we’ll carefully explore, until making honouring and delicious love with his wife becomes the norm once again.
His first step wasn’t easy, though and he has very kindly written his story to share here:
“Lacking confidence, self esteem, not wanting to make a fool of myself, not to let myself or others down, I guess these are the feelings I have. This could cover a multitude of things, but for me at this moment in time, it’s sex.
It’s not a recent thing either. It’s been building, I guess, for the past few years. But, after a lot of soul searching, I thought it was time I did something about it; for myself and for my relationship. The hardest part is admitting to one’s self that there is something wrong. After that, it’s trying to fathom what the best way is to tackle it. I did quite a bit of surfing the net, seeing if there were others out there that may be in the same boat, trying to see if there was somebody out there who could help.
I’m a T5 paraplegic (paralysed from the chest down). Had my accident in the mid 80’s and now I’m in my mid 40’s. I’m pretty active and fit, have a good job and a wonderful family. Really, things are pretty good, my partner and I are very close. We have been through a lot in the 10-plus years we’ve been together and are stronger as a couple for it. The only downside is our love life, and now for fear of losing so much, I’ve decided to act.
I had my accident just at the time I was beginning to find out all about girls, so that initially set me back. Although I had had some sexual experience, it was certainly very limited. However, I wasn’t a bad looking lad, had a bit of a gift of the gab and so had my fair share of girlfriends in my late teens and early 20s. I was very sexual and enjoyed every part of lovemaking and my girlfriends also seemed to enjoy it as well. During these early relationships I wasn’t bothered that I didn’t climax and it never seemed to be an issue to others either. Although I was told at the spinal unit that there’d be no problem with me having kids, I didn’t think I would ever climax and wasn’t sure what feeling I was looking for and what to expect. Prior to my accident I masturbated quite a lot, so I knew the plumbing had worked at some point. I had tried masturbating a few times in the early years after my accident, but don’t think I ever got close.
This all changed one Saturday morning with a girl who’d I’d been dating for quite a few months. We were having a nice time, messing about as you do. I’d asked her to climb on me, I was just lying flat on the bed, but this time she faced away from me, straddling me. I’m not sure why, but for some reason this seemed to really hit my spot, a feeling I’d not had before. I think the fact that we were both relaxed yet very aroused also helped. Anyway, I did manage to climax, though to be honest, I wasn’t completely sure!! I can just remember an unbelievable surge through my body, lightness in my head and then a feeling of total bliss, almost as if a great weight had been lifted from me. I felt so relaxed, it was amazing.
This now was the problem, because I had experienced this, I wanted it more. However, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t going to work every time, and although frustrating, not the end of the world. We tried a few positions and the one that worked best for me at the time was me lying on the bed with my feet on the floor, my backside just on the edge of the bed, then my partner standing over me, with her back to me. This had the greatest success, but by no means 100%.
My next girlfriend is now my current partner. In the early years of our relationship we had a very active sex life. I do remember her asking me quite early in our relationship specifically ‘can you have children,’ to which I replied ‘yes’. We also adopted this position for me and again occasionally I would climax. After a couple of years we decided to try for a family, and this is where I feel my current situation manifested itself.
As is normal now, nature takes over so it’s all a case of timing. I now had the added pressure of ‘performing’ on cue. Typically, with the added pressure and all that goes with it, more usual than not I wouldn’t reach orgasm. There’s the usual ‘oh, it doesn’t matter, hopefully next time,’ but of course this doesn’t help things, and I became more frustrated and basically stopped enjoying any of the process. There it is, ‘process,’ that’s what lovemaking had become!
So, after a couple of years trying naturally, we went down the route of IVF. At first all seemed ok, although I had to have sperm surgically removed, which isn’t a great issue, but it would have been nice to have been able to do it ‘myself’ so to speak. We had eggs fertilised, placed back to where they should be, all looked very good but they never would ‘stick’ there. We had all sorts of tests, but to no avail. Nobody knew why we weren’t conceiving, which probably was the hardest fact. Again, this went on for a couple of years. Physically and emotionally it is destroying, but we came through it and as a couple were much stronger for it. I know a lot of couples who have not made it through this process, but I feel very proud that we have.
Still wanting a family, we decided to look at adoption. Again, it’s another process, more bureaucratic this time, but still a long process. There’s a lot of questions asked, some very personal, including ‘how’s your sex life?’ to which we replied ‘perfect!’ We both knew this was a lie, but I guess that’s what people do, it’s hard to admit. However, the outcome for us has been fantastic and we feel we have the perfect family!
During all this time though our sex life began to dwindle. For me there seemed no enjoyment. I felt as if I had that passion, drive, beaten out of me, and I didn’t feel anything coming back the other way either. We kiss and cuddle, hold each other, but at the moment that’s as far as it goes. We occasionally speak to each other about it, but it doesn’t come up very often and we seem to soon move off the subject.
During the IVF it was suggested I bought a ‘penile vibrator’ by Ferticare, specifically produced to assist spinal injured guys to climax. So I did. Unlike some other sex toys, this looks very medical, even the colour of it makes it look like a piece of medical equipment, rather than something you’d want to use in the bedroom. Because of this, I have never used it with anybody else, it has always been when I’m on my own, and when I first had it, it was just used to ‘clear the pipes’ so to speak. It was never sexual, just a piece of equipment I used. However, it did do what it was meant to do, but again, it’s far from 100% and it can take quite a while. For years it sat in the back of a draw and was never used; I had no urge to use it. I’m not sure what changed, maybe I was feeling a little aroused, may be even bored at home alone one evening about 18 months ago, but I decided to get it out.
Well, it may have been because it had been a while, it didn’t take me long, but I achieved an orgasm, and I must admit it was a fantastic feeling. It still didn’t feel particularly sexual, almost dirty as if I shouldn’t have done it, but there was certainly that release that I had felt the first time I had climaxed all those years back. After that I began to use it more often, only when I got the chance and was on my own and knew I wouldn’t be interrupted. I guess it was about once a month, may be twice. The more I used it, the more sexual it became, the more I enjoyed it. However, I didn’t always climax and sometimes it took a long time if I did manage to. When I didn’t, I felt quite low and I remember how I felt before when I didn’t perform ‘on cue’. I get so close, but can’t quite get over the top. I feel as if there’s another ‘button’ to press, something that would just make it happen that little bit easier. I know that until I can find that, I can’t see me using this vibrator with my partner. When I do orgasm, it is so body evoking, so explosive that I want to share this, I want her to see me enjoy it for what it should be. I know my climaxing isn’t the be all and end all and there is more to it, but I just want to have the confidence that if we do go that far, I get the outcome that I want, and I know she would want it to.
What I really want is to be able to is to climax during lovemaking; is it too much to ask? Right now I want to find that elusive position, the special technique that will allow this, but in a loving, passionate, lustful way with my partner. I want to share that moment I climax with her. Is this the quest for my ‘Holy Grail?’
As I said at the beginning, I want to find my confidence again, confidence in myself, my ability to turn my partner on. I know that I can’t go in all guns blazing, it’s been too long. But I also don’t want to go in all ‘fingers and thumbs’ and put her off and go into this whole cycle again. I know this will divide opinion, but I feel as if I can approach this as I did when I trained for sport. I had a coach that would help me, make me better, help my technique, show me what to do, pass on their experience, allow me to practice, to take what I had and give me the best opportunity of fulfilling my goal.
So, after much deliberation, I decided to make contact with somebody who I hoped would be able to help me. I wasn’t too hopeful, mainly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted, or if indeed it was something I could find help for. Again, I did as much research and reading as I could and I eventually summoned the courage to contact Caroline Dempsey. She let me have her email address so I could write down my concerns, feelings and what I would dearly like to happen, and to see if she thought she could help me. So I did, I think it’s easier to write down those initial feelings, and sent it off to her.
Soon I’d got a reply and it was with great relief when I read what she’d written. She was so very understanding and I immediately felt as if she understood my predicament, and suggested that she could indeed offer to help me.
So, we met for a coffee and I was able to explain more, it was nice to be able to talk to somebody. My feeling from the email was enhanced, and after some initial nervousness and trepidation, I now feel as if I have found somebody to help me. It is still very early, we have only met once and exchanged further emails, but I am hoping that there will be a successful outcome. My greatest feeling is that she understands what I want and is willing to help me, and it is this that has helped me get over the feeling of guilt that I should even be doing this, but I feel as if I had to, for me, my partner and my family.
I hope soon to be able to bring you the next episode on this journey of discovery and I would dearly like to think that I can help others out there in a similar situation and I also look forward to hearing from other people and how they have tackled such issues, as I do believe I’m not a lone voice.”
I went to a meeting of SHADA (The Sexual Health and Disability Alliance) last week. It was such an eye-opener. I met many health professionals and sexual advocates, one who himself was an amputee. He teaches drama and dance to the disabled in Canada and has been in the UK for four weeks on a grant, bringing his wonderful work to London. The discussions that came up were passionate. One lady was a teacher in a school for the disabled with special needs. Helen Dunman, teacher at Chailey Heritage Foundation, where she has responsibility for Personal Social and Health Education and developing Sex Education. To hear how hard she works completely humbled me. She is absolutely 100% dedicated to her pupils, with ages ranging from the very young up to 19. Some, she explained, were very difficult to communicate with, even with all her experience. She works tirelessly for her pupils and I had so much admiration for her.
Sex and the young is something that’s brushed further under the radar than sex among disabled adults. I was appalled to hear how in denial the authorities are. As if it’s not difficult enough for young severely disabled with learning difficulties to communicate their needs, the powers that be would rather ignore an opportunity to improve the well being of our youth than make a bit of an effort and step up and do the right thing. People like Helen are spending endless hours writing policy to enable “good practice in terms of staff ensuring that clients’ sexual needs are recognised and met”. Of course, how policy is interpreted presents another challenge. So it’s up to Helen and those like her to try to put clear guidelines in place and hope that eventually, these become policy for bodies such as the CQC. What a hero.
The old cherry about carers and PAs came up frequently, in that it’s extremely difficult for a lot of them to know how to deal with the sexual feelings (and involuntary responses to touch) of their clients. It’s not their fault; they’re just not trained. So what happens is a whole lot of embarrassment, feelings of rejection, loss of intimacy and a lack of affection. It’s the saddest thing imaginable. My modest wish is to come into contact with as many as possible, to connect with and to share intimacy, to enhance sexual well being, and as a consequence improve general well being, healing, to demonstrate that being intimate and affectionate is achievable, can be maintained, and thus, can be shared with others. This may not even involve sex – it may just be enjoying closeness. As I’ve said before, it’s nothing to do with performance, experience, knowledge of anatomy or how many partners there have been. Honouring oneself and others is all that matters. Intimacy should be enjoyed and celebrated!
There was one very interesting guy at the meeting from Copenhagen. His job back home is to assist his disabled clients with masturbation. He gave a fascinating talk and described how, with different toys and implements, he could help folk to do it themselves. He doesn’t masturbate them; they are able to stimulate themselves, with his help. What a wonderful thing to do for people! He had my total respect and admiration. He’s kept very busy, too, which is a good sign for the folks over there.
I wish things were different, so that anyone who was unable to pick up the phone themselves, could tell their carer or PA that they’d like a sex worker to visit them, without fear of embarrassment (on either side) or loss of dignity. In fact, the term ‘sex worker’ makes people like me sound harsh, unsympathetic. This is not the case at all. I love any chance I can possibly get to brighten up someone’s day, fulfilling their needs as much as is within my power to do.
There’s a site called www.sexualrespect.com, from Tuppy Owens. Although predominantly designed for health care professionals, there is some very interesting reading.
I ended my last blog with a poem, written from the heart (by a songwriter, not me!), about how wonderful a gift that giving is. Some joke that giving is selfish, because it feels so good to do it. For me, that’s the right way to give; no strings, unconditionally. When I visit a client as an escort, I feel excitement, not just sexual, but like I do when I give someone a present and I can’t wait for them to open it, to see the look on their face, hoping they’ll like it!
I want my clients to be happy, of course. But I try to understand their needs as early on as I can, whatever they are, and some requests I get are as uncomplicated as ‘being held’. So I try to feel connected to my clients as soon as possible, so they get the best of me, get what’s best for them, and I can do as they ask. That way, we both enjoy the experience and give to each other. I like to have a chat on the phone first to find out what they want, so when I arrive, the ice is broken, sort of thing, and they can let me know if there are any particular requirements that’ll make my visit the best it can be.
I do believe, though, that a really important thing is, if it’s at all possible, to be able to ask for what you want. We can’t be truly ‘present’ if we’re distracted by thoughts of something, even as simple as needing to go to the bathroom, or wanting a drink of water, or wanting to move a part of the body to get more comfortable. And if our needs are more like, “I wish I could be kissed like this,” “I wish we could just cuddle,” or “I would like to know how to please her/him, but I don’t know how to say it,” then sharing the message becomes even more important. But things like this can be difficult for someone to convey, perhaps if speech is difficult, or if it’s been some time since intimacy, if ever, in which case, the right words may not exist. How could they? Shyness, embarrassment, fear of rejection; these are all things that can prevent us from speaking out. But I always find a way in the end! Just with a little mutually exchanged patience, usually.
Often, our conditioning has taught us that asking for what we want is wrong, especially if it’s very personal to us, and particularly if it’s to do with sex. Many of us were taught that sex shouldn’t be spoken openly about, should be kept private, perhaps it’s rude or dirty. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are a million ways to give and receive pleasure. As many as you can think up. But the same reasons that prevent us from speaking out can also prevent us from finding ways to give and receive pleasure, whether with another or on our own. It’s our right to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh – everybody’s right, we deserve pleasure! I’m just sorry that more don’t recognise this – it’s important to the well-being of everyone. Sex is a great healer. But also sex isn’t about ‘performance’. It’s about taking time to really feel and enjoy the other person, really wanting to please, taking time to understand and find out what makes them glow. And it’s just as important to know how to pleasure ourselves, using feeling, wanting, and time, for ourselves, in just the same way.
I’ve recently begun visiting an older gent in his own home who has had mobility problems for many years now, due to an operation that went wrong. He’s such a lovely man and very spritely for his advanced years and for someone who can’t get about! He talks to me about his family, makes me tea and offers me cakes. He also makes sure there’s plenty of time for pleasure. There’s no intercourse, but that doesn’t matter. And thank goodness he understands that there’s no expectation of performance. It’s just the mutual exchange of caring, love and respect. My clients are so special. They’re all so different and mean so much to me.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a lovely guy who’s been wheelchair-bound for 20 years due to a scuba-diving accident. He’s 42 now and lives in the care of a Leonard Cheshire facility. He was pronounced brain-dead and was in a coma for six months. He’s a miracle! He can’t walk or stand unaided and needs full-time care. However, he hasn’t experienced any kind of intimacy since before his accident and he has, as you can imagine, missed it! So not only has he had to contend with coming back to life, coming to terms with his disability, and maintaining as healthy a life as possible, but he also has all the feelings that a red-blooded male has. Of course he does! I was privileged to be his first sexual experience in all that time and it was passionate, and lovely. We chatted at first, got to know each other and had a few laughs about different things. He has a positive and inquisitive mind and keeps himself busy writing, amongst other things, and swimming when he can.
I consider myself fortunate to be in the sex industry, I’m taught so much, but I’m saddened at just how closed people are when it comes to discussing the needs of those who can’t make their own arrangements, like the guy I just mentioned. Arranging my visit to him wasn’t made easy because there’s no way to facilitate it. It should be a simple procedure so that disabled and those cared for are able to have as normal a sex life as the rest of us.
I mentioned in my last blog about carers at the care home I visit my gentleman with cerebral palsy not making eye contact with me. I can appreciate that they may be embarrassed, but I would love them to engage with me, so I could speak to them about their clients’ needs. I could help them understand that their residents aren’t asexual, and how easy it would be for them to help. I suppose it’s because I’m older, but I find it hard to think of someone in the ‘caring’ profession denying their clients something as natural as eating, breathing and sleeping. I can feel a soapbox moment coming on……
I started escorting about 15 years ago. I needed to make some money to get out of debt and so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s not for everyone, but somehow I knew I could do it – and enjoy it. I was living in Manchester at the time and called a random number from the Manchester Evening News. I spoke to a lovely lady who eventually took me under her (mature) wing and guided me through the early months until I gained confidence. At this, I signed up with three agencies, got the work and got out of debt. For me it was ideal. I had a full time job which acted as a professional facade for me and escorted in my spare time, which built my confidence, self-esteem and bank balance.
A few years on, I fell in love with a client. All very ‘Pretty Woman’-style. He swept me off my feet and I thought he was the sliced bread. Obviously he didn’t want me to continue escorting, so I didn’t – for almost eight years – during which time, we reached our fun and sexual peak together, then gradually slid down the muddy hillside into a swamp of disrespect and, ultimately, the end of the relationship. By this time, I felt empty, unloved and unappreciated, but realised it was my own fault for hanging on for so long. I’m sure he felt exactly the same, but we weren’t communicating by then and didn’t realise how much we were hurting each other. We saw the signs and ignored them. Everything’s a lesson, though.
Still, all that’s behind me, thank goodness, and in fact, we’re friends now! Where’s this leading? Well, after I’d grieved the loss of being in a couple (even though it wasn’t nurturing, I still missed ‘something’), I found myself wandering back to thoughts of escorting. Some years older, yes, but my attitude towards the art itself had altered. I wanted to go back to it, but, because I was more mature, and because my love of people in general had increased a thousand-fold, I realised I wanted to do it for giving, not for taking.
Please let me explain myself. During my early years, I had a mixture of clients, some able-bodied and others who weren’t so. I always gave of my best, and never got any complaints, but on thinking back, I also realised that my thoughts towards them were no different. Not in any way whatsoever. Nevertheless, the money got was very important, as this was helping my personal cause.
Coming to the present day, I’m happy to say I have a number of clients whom I have the greatest respect for, whatever their wishes and, again, they are a mixture of bodies. But what’s driving me more and more these days is my frustration at the fact that so little attention is given, and respect paid, to the needs of those not physically able to contact a sex worker, and, in many cases those who’re unable to self-pleasure.
I’m disappointed that, when I visit the care home to see a lovely gentleman with cerebral palsy, the carers won’t make eye contact with me. He, himself, was concerned that he’d be embarrassed in front of the staff about my visits, yet was desperate for some intimacy. His dignity is vehemently maintained, of course, and he and I share some wonderful time together.
Intimacy – a beautiful word. Most people think it means sex, but there are many levels to intimacy, even before nudity or touching of skin on skin. Sex – another beautiful word, also with many meanings. My heart goes into my work, whatever the ability of my client. My client is the only person on the earth when we’re together. It’s their time; whether we’re talking, holding hands, kissing, caressing, or having intercourse – and everything in between. Notice I didn’t say ‘just’ at any point. There’s no ‘just’ about people connecting. Every single one of us deserves it; human contact; affection; intimacy; friendship with benefits; however you term it. When we experience it, we feel high on natural elixir. It’s the best healing we can give, and in giving, we receive. I’m grateful for the opportunity to constantly learn from my clients.
Here’s a beautiful poem about this very subject:
I never feel more given to than when you take from me, when you understand the joy I feel giving to you.
And you know my giving isn’t done to put you in my debt, but because I want to live the love I feel for you.
To receive with grace may be the greatest giving.
There’s no way I can separate the two.
When you give to me, I give you my receiving.
When you take from me, i feel so given to.
Whilst living at Arnold House, Leonard Cheshire Home, I became engaged to another Service User called Robert.
Obviously we were both disabled using wheelchairs but we wanted to be like other couples and have a good relationship involving sexual play. This proved harder than you think because we couldn’t have time together during the day as everyone was around and so couldn’t do anything. Therefore the only time we could be together was when I was in bed and and wait for Rob to come in. We couldn’t do anything until the drinks came in though, as it could have been awkward.
On one occasion we were playing and a carer didn’t knock on the door and just burst in, this made us both feel embarrassed and it just put us off doing anything. After that incident we found a way by asking the carers not to come into the room until 11pm when Rob went back to his room.
I wished we could have had more chances to play but alas it was not practical. What we did together was lovely and it made me feel like a normal couple really in love with each other and clearly sexually active. This is not true of all homes but I feel if people are in love they should be helped to lead a proper friendship without any problems or embarrassments.
Inclusive and Exclusive Dating
I have never really been the type of person who has been into the whole “one night stand” or “hook-up” fling relationships. I have always looked for something more substantial and long-term in a relationship. Though admittedly I am single now after a 2 year relationship with an able-bodied woman. This is not to say that she has not had her own physical medical problems but without going into what these issues have been for her, I would not classify this person as “disabled”.
When I started to become interested in dating from a young age, about 12 or 13, I treated finding someone who was able-bodied to be with as if it were some kind of silly Holy Grail of dating for someone like myself who has a physical disability and is a wheelchair user. This was always a secret thought or attitude I had up until I reached college/university age even though before that point I had been dating within the disabled community with what I would call somewhat successful. A few months here, six months there, and even one relationship which lasted on and off for about six years from grade seven all the way up until when I started college with a beautiful girl, now a woman who just so happens to have Spina Bifida like I do. However, I did have a few major crushes in high school on girls who were able-bodied, especially when I had periods of singleness…. or what some women in the disabled community whom I have dated may call “moments of being an asshole”. Though when it came to having an attraction to someone who was able-bodied in high school, of course there was nervousness around certain people but I always tried to remain neutral friends with them until I had the opportunity to express to them how I felt. More often than not when I would approach an able-bodied girl and tell them how I felt, the response I would always get was “you’re jus too good of a friend” which in my head said loud and clear “you’re a very nice guy, but I wouldn’t date a cripple”. Of course it could have been very little to do with my disability and indeed they just did not want to ruin a friendship but that did not stop me from taking it so personally.
I even remember having fancied an able-bodied girl who was about a year and a half younger than myself when I was in grade 11 and one day I went out to the front of the school during my lunch break to have a cigarette as I normally did. It was a pretty nice spring day and I spotted a group of girls I had sometimes hung around with who were also just hanging out having a smoke. In this group happened to be the one girl I had a crush on, so naturally I wanted to hang out with her. I think at that time, it was probably known to her through other people that I fancied her just a little bit and after a while I had turned my back to talk to another group of people in front of the school who were behind me and this girl called my name to get my attention. She got up from the sidewalk, walked over and kissed me and then walked back to where she was sitting and started to giggle and laugh with all her friends. I was shocked because in my head the thought still was that there would be no way she would be interested in someone like me, so why bother pursuing such things?. Turns out, one of her friends had dared her to get my attention and walk up and kiss me. There was no feeling, only fake flirtation in that act for and all I could think after I found this out was: What a bitch!
When it comes to choosing to date within your own community, that is, the disabled community, social programming is extremely important. Often times it is hard for an individual with a disability to connect with someone in a similar situation to themselves within their community at large without these programs. Whether it be monthly social nights, dances or even summer camps, these programs are an integral part of social and relationship building within these communities. I can tell you though that without programs like this, personally I would not have had the opportunity to form the friendships and intimate relationships I have had over the years. One thing that really gets to me though is the attitude of some able-bodied professionals who run these programs whom discourage any form of romantic relationship and physical affection within these programs. Particularly within the 14-19 age group. Now I understand that it is only ethical to not want teenagers hopping out of their wheelchairs and other mobility devices in order to shag on the floor but to give a teenager grief for sharing a passionate kiss, cuddling, or holding hands in plain view of program coordinators and staff in the name of ethical appropriateness…. get real. They are teenagers, let them be. As long as no one is shagging on the floor or getting pregnant and are in plain view of everyone else. Let them be. I even had one summer camp experience with a girl who was a few years older than myself.. I was about 14 at the time and she thought I was significantly older than I was but she took a liking to me anyway… let’s just say we paid no mind to the “rules” or to being told not to make out under an outdoor pavilion at the camp in front of a great deal of other campers of the same age group and staff members. It’s not the most “appropriate” thing, but damn was it ever fun! So, note to program providers and coordinators of social events for teenagers with disabilities; as long as two people aren’t being left completely alone, as long as they are not sprawled out on the floor shagging or removing clothing in public.. just let them be. To do otherwise is to discourage the development of healthy romantic relationships.
As I got into my early 20′s I became more familiar with the world of online dating. This is simply because at that time, I was in college and finally had my own computer access in my dorm room at school. Which I never had access to growing up at home. I thought of this as a way to find either someone else with a disability to date or maybe even someone who was not disabled at all. Online dating is a challenge in and of itself though, because at the starting point when it comes to finding someone who doesn’t have a disability to potentially have a romantic connection with, the question becomes; When do I tell those people about my disability and everything that comes along with it?. Personally, I take the up front approach and either put this information directly into a member profile or to wait until you make a connection with someone. The best thing anybody can do is to be up front and honest about every aspect of a disability and then allow the other person to ask any and every question that they may have about it. Online dating allows for the other person to focus upon a person’s personality rather than the disability they have but at the same time if a person cannot accept any aspect of a disability then really, they are not worth the time nor the effort to change their minds about it. One aspect of online dating which can be quite difficult for anyone, but especially for someone with a physical disability is if you happen to be attracted to someone who lives quite a distance from where you live. It is absolutely helpful though if there is family support on one or both sides of the relationship because then perhaps those family members would be able to help two people see each other often. It’s a hard road though, I won’t lie and sometimes because of distance and even a lack of daily face to face communication can lead to the demise of a relationship. Truth be told, online dating may be difficult, especially if there is distance involved but don’t knock it until you try it. You might be surprised in who you could find. Just be very very careful when you approach this route though. Make sure that who you are speaking to is actually telling the truth in who they are and be safe when you first meet anybody from an online dating site. Always meet in a public place first or at the very least make sure they have a webcam so you can have face to face conversations before you meet in person.
It is noteworthy outside of my own perspective to mention that for those with more severe physical disabilities which impair movement much more, that for some, finding a partner who is able-bodied is important. The reason this is in my opinion is because sometimes it may be nicer to have someone whom you are in an intimate relationship with to be able to help with things like showering. C’mon, who doesn’t like shower sex, right ? Or perhaps because there are very, very small things that would be made easier when you have an able-bodied partner. Cleaning up around the house for example. It is most important to say though that most people with disabilities when they date someone who is not disabled, do not want their partners to be seen as “personal assistants” or “aides” because quite frankly that cheapens the romantic relationship. When you see a couple in public on a date and one happens to be disabled, and one is not, please do not assume that the able-bodied person is the others personal assistant. This is completely undermining and quite hurtful to at least one person in that relationship. Also, please scrap the idea of “oh, isn’t that nice that you are dating someone with a disability”. Patronizing? yes, very much so.
The choice is yours really, whether you date someone with or without a disability. I ask that the able-bodied population keep an open mind, learn all you can about an individuals disability. It does not define them, nor me, it only adds to their unique qualities. See passed what is skin deep. For those of us with various disabilities, I only have thing left to say on this matter. Do not be afraid to go safely out of your comfort zone. The absolute worst thing a person could say is “no”. If that is the case then you are probably better off in finding someone else and trust me, you will. Until next time, folks.
Are you all sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin…
Since watching the Desirability series on BBC3 the topic of disability and sexuality has been foremost in my mind. I feel the main reason why so many of the programs on this topic seem to miss the mark in my opinion is because they tend to be made from the angle of those who have problems with body image and not body function. While it is hard to look in the mirror and see someone who could be loved if your body is different, it is even harder if your body can’t do the things that society says it needs to actually make love. It doesn’t matter how well adjusted you are about the way you look, if you are filled with doubt over your physical performance.
So I have decided to do an article/a series of articles on how I learnt to deal with a body that didn’t work the way it should in the trouser department. I hope you lot are ready for this because after you’ve read this, your lives are never going to be the same again…
One of the most important things about coming to terms with your sexuality as a disabled person is learning to understand the way that your body is different from all the able bodied people out there, and exactly what your body can, and more importantly, can’t do. Once you’ve admitted this to yourself and accepted it, you can start to rebuild your sexuality.
I myself had to go through this process twice in my life. The first time took me a good few years. You see when I went into my wheelchair, back when I was only 15, I hadn’t had much experience with sex and so believed all the myths that the able bodied world threw at me. When it became plain to me that not only had my spinal injury taken out my legs but it had also made it impossible to achieve an erection, I believed I would spend my life alone. Luckily, this was during the early 80’s, when young people were fiercely political and I fell in with a group of lesbian feminists. They thought I was the perfect man, one who could not commit the act of penetration, which they saw as rape. OK, these attitudes are pretty extreme, but it let me see that not all women want sex to be around a big hard dick. I even ended up dating one of them for two and half years! The second was just after my most recent operation, when I discovered I had lost the feeling to even more of my body. This time it took much less time, so I know this works, and can work quickly when you know what you’re doing.
So once I had realised that sexuality could be so many different things I set about making sure that I was going to be the best shag ever. I read loads of books and gained a wide knowledge of able-bodied sexual technique. I adapted some of their techniques to fit with my body and this is what I am going to impart to you all. The first tip is great for both sexes, no matter what your disability. I call it…
Hands Free Masturbation
Once you master this technique, you will be able to orgasm at will, whether or not you have full sensation in your body. The key to Hands Free Masturbation is a filthy imagination. To achieve an orgasm without touching yourself you must explore a fantasy world in your head. The most important thing to understand is that you must feel no guilt at all. It doesn’t matter what goes on in your mind, as long as it floats your boat. If you need to read dirty books or mags, or watch porn films, fine. Just conjure up in your mind the best sexual fantasy possible to you, and then run with it.
The whole technique is actually quite simple. Just lie on your bed (or sit in your chair – which can be fun if you’re bored when out shopping!) and imagine yourself having sex. Not just sex, but the best sex imaginable, with your favourite fantasy partner (or partners) and just don’t stop. Keep building on the fantasy and make it as intricate as you want, as kinky as you want and as a long as you need. Go wild and be as filthy as you like. Eventually, and it may takes a good few goes, you will get there.
OK it will be quite frustrating at first, but as you continue to try and get yourself to orgasm you will notice that you start feeling a tension in your chest. This is the start of an orgasm. Most able-bodied people think it starts in their groin, but this is just them tensing up using their muscles, and because that is where their stimulation is coming from. Orgasms actually start in your head but then quickly move to your lower neck and upper chest. Keep that fantasy going, and even pick up the pace in your head. Really get down and dirty. Then the orgasm will start to flow through your body. If you can’t feel some parts of your body two things may happen. Either the orgasm will locate where your feeling ends, and that will be your new “groin”, or it will travel down to your groin and you may feel sensation there for the first time. Well not exactly sensation, but whatever it is… it’s very nice!
It does sound impossible, but the best sex organ the human body has is our imaginations, and this is how you can tap into yours. It really does work, and will mean that not only have you learnt that you can orgasm, but that you are now able to climax at will. All you have to do when having sex is think unsexy thoughts when you want to wait and conjure up your Hands Free Masturbation fantasy when it’s time to pop your load.
The best thing is this also works for the able bodied, but I say we keep it as our little secret!
Next time I’m going to go through what can be done once you’ve mastered this technique, so start your practising now!
Last time I explored a technique I call Hands free Masturbation. This time I’m going to tell you how to use this technique to change the way your body works. These are really things you need to do with a partner, and I fully understand that some people out there may not have one, but I hope that once you read this you will know that whatever your level of sexual function you will be able to have great sex if the occasion should arise. Knowing that can give you the confidence you need to go out searching for it… tee hee!
The first thing we need to do is…
Relocate Our Erogenous Zones
Now one the most frustrating things about having a disability that effects sensation is the loss of feeling in the bits that would normally turn us on. Of course now we can all reach orgasm without needing to be touched, we can use this to relocate these erogenous zones to somewhere we can feel.
Before we do that however, I must inform you that there are loads of underused zones all over our body. For instance we all have a kind of G-Spot on the roof of our mouths, on our soft pallet. Having this gently touched will bring you to an orgasm amazingly fast. Trust me it really does! There are others, like your elbows, or between your fingers, or behind your ears that all have quite an effect too. The best thing to do is make sex an exploration of both partner’s bodies and to find what bits feel nice.
Once you have found what bits feel good to be touched, you can use the HFM technique to make them become hyper sensitive. By using HFM while having your ‘nice bits’ touched you will find that it is so much easier to achieve an orgasm and these ‘nice bits’ start to become the point at which your orgasm stems from. They become your ‘new groin’ so to speak.
By modifying this you can also…
Create New Erogenous Zones
One of the weirdest things I discovered after I went into a wheelchair is how the sensation in certain parts of my body had become so much more. I found I had a round spot on my back, near to the scar from my operation that had no sensation on the surface skin, but was hyper sensitive internally. So when this was touched it felt like someone was entering my body, which I found very nice. I know that other disabled people I have discussed this with also have similar things on their body. Now with the technique above you can make these even nicer.
Scars are also places that can have very different sensation, whether they are hyper sensitive or numb. This difference in sensation can also be changed to create new erogenous zones.
It is even possible to create zones anywhere. You can even make one on the tip of your nose. Just spend time trying and you will see that eventually you can end up as a big erogenous zone, orgasming away merrily!
By now I imagine some of you are saying, “This is all well and good Mik, but how do we meet this sexual partner?” Well that’s my last tip. Always remember that it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is really looking for someone to share their life with, to love and be loved by. Male or female, straight or gay, able bodied or disabled everyone wants to be needed. What we have to remember is we, as disabled people, have so much to give. We are fantastic life partners, whether or not we are able to have sex. We are loving, supportive, strong, caring and sharing. We are everything that able-bodied people are, but with an added strength that comes from living in their world. So many of my able bodied friends seem to spend their lives going from one terrible relationship to another, so just because they have a fully functioning body they are not naturally happy. Whatever your disability has thrown at you, the fact that you have managed to survive and feel ready to look for love means that you already a fantastic catch. So it doesn’t matter what’s ‘wrong’ with you, forget that and focus on all the great things about you. Go out, and look for someone to love. I don’t think it will be as hard as you might think.
At the end of the day, remember the old saying… “It’s better to have loved and lost that to have never loved at all”… just add the extra bit… “Once they’ve tasted me, they will never go away!”
I wanted to just give my input as to dating someone with a disability.
I met someone online who was a disabled veteran. I was hesitant going on our first date and thought I could at least have a new friend. My father had a below-the-knee amputation completed several years ago, so I was somewhat familiar with some of the issues that may come up, but I never realized how much of a stigma there was in society and I want to think it has something to do with people being uneducated or ignorant.
My friends were supportive of me being happy, but I found out that many of them were talking behind my back about how they were concerned that someone in a wheelchair would not be able to give me everything I deserve. That is crap! We may have broken up, but he was the best boyfriend I have ever had. Even more so, having sex with him is the best sex I have ever had in my life!
In speaking with some of his friends (many who are also disabled and their significant others), the sex with someone who is disabled can be very pleasursome! I know some paralyzed guys who say they perfected giving women oral sex in order to please a woman if their penis cannot become erect. I know women who have slept with amputees and paralyzed guys who say the thrill of something new and the willingness of the partner to please is unlike having sex with an able-bodied individual. I think having sex with anyone who is excited about having it makes it much more fun, and if you love the person it can be even better. It is a new experience I think more people should be open to in their lives.
I am not sure if there is anything else you may want to know, but I am an open book! Good luck with research and this challenge, but I know there are many who will support this cause!