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The Question

Hello,

I tripped upon your organization while looking up sex and cerebral palsy on YouTube. I’m writing to you about losing my virginity, sex, disability and safety.

I am 51 years old, spastic quadriplegic born with cerebral palsy and use a power wheelchair for mobility. I’ve had a couple crushes when I was a teenager and in college but that was it. My parents never talked to me about sex other than the most basic education of how one becomes pregnant and the high school sex Ed.

I would like to experience sex before I die, but I also don’t believe in sex unless I am in a long-term relationship. I have been struggling for many years with several health challenges that have made my cerebral palsy worse and left me with unmanaged chronic pain. Due to my multiple health challenges and many family issues I do not have the ability or interest to go out to bars. I am also scared about my safety in dating a man. For example what do I do if I want to have a little privacy to be intimate but due to disability you can’t get away if it becomes more than you want and the other person doesn’t respect that. What do you do?

I’m really embarrassed to email you this but thankful that there is this platform. I feel like a freak!

G x

 

Our Answer

Hi G,

It took great courage for you to write into us and I’m so glad you reached out. I can feel your predicament here in being caught up in a bit of a moral dilemma. Also, you have some big practical issues which are making it more difficult for you.

It would be useful to know more about your family issues which you say are urgent and making it less likely for you to go out. Understanding this, I may be able to see how you could overcome this. Also, if you have any carer that works with you. As they may be able to facilitate you getting out socially and also make you feel safer if meeting someone.

Hearing your concerns, it seems to me that it comes down to a choice of what is your biggest priority now. Is it about losing your virginity? Or is it doing the act within a long-term relationship or marriage?

Currently, with the situation as you describe, it sounds like it will be difficult for you to be getting out and meeting someone. This can take a lot of  effort at the best of times, so with your family difficulties, meeting the right person could take even longer.  Are you willing to wait quite a while longer to lose your virginity within a loving relationship?

If you don’t want to wait, there’s the option of seeking out a sexual encounter, perhaps not in a relationship. This is where it would completely depend on how you feel going against your current beliefs about the parameters within which a sexual relationship should be conducted.  And if you feel you would be comfortable undertaking such an experience.

a graphic of a mobile phone with a person and lovehearts in white and the background is pink

In the UK a charity called TLC have sex workers who work with disabled clients. Exactly for the reasons you say. They guarantee safety and can offer a ‘boyfriend/girlfriend experience’ too. Here is the link to their website. https://tlc-trust.org.uk/

It may be that you could take it slow and steady rather than going full steam ahead on the first time.  There is a cost to this service and it’s quite expensive but the workers are trustworthy and experienced in working with disabled clients.

If this isn’t a consideration for you, maybe try internet dating to try and engage with someone, building a rapport before taking it further. Again, if you have a friend or a carer you can trust, they could go out with you the first time you meet your date. You mention your fear around someone wanting to go further than you want, and how do you stay safe. You’re right, we are more vulnerable as disabled daters and have to think of more options to keep safe.  I would suggest a friend or carer being in the same location as you, but not sitting near you to allow you some privacy and normality for you and your date. If you needed help,  your friend can keep an eye on things and it would be easy to catch their attention. They can then ‘rescue’ you from any awkward situation.

With internet dating there’s another dilemma we all face. Do we declare our disability openly and attract those who are open to dating someone disabled? Or don’t declare it, attract more people, get talking to some people first, then drop the disabled bomb?!

The world of dating and disability can be a minefield. But it can also be fun. Losing your virginity is an important human right and feeling stopped from doing so is deeply frustrating.  Ultimately, it’s your choice with how you wish to go about it.  I just hope your current living situation allows you to make a free choice. It is your body and your life after all. Do what feels right for you.

Best regards,

Zoe

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If you’d like to get our experts advice with your own dilemma feel free to get in touch. 

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