Saturday, 12 February 2011

Crips Need and Want Sex Too

One of the topics I have long wanted to talk about publicly concerns sex and physical disability. I figure in order to do such a conversation justice it would have to touch upon my own experience. How do I do this effectively without violating privacy? One of the issues I have trouble with when blogging in the past is that I have revealed too much of myself, and on each occasion it has come back to haunt me. On the other hand, people need to know that yes I’m a cripple and I like to fuck.

That seems obvious no? Well, not if you look at society’s general attitude to people with disabilities and sex. Just like those over retirement age, the thought of cripples having sex probably makes the average person queasy so we just assume they cannot have sex. Why? It is essentially because we are a society of prudes. Sexual liberation should not be linked to promiscuity as it so often is, but rather being comfortable with an individual sexual identity.

A person with Cerebral Palsy (CP) in particular must know how their body reacts to physical stimulation. Often they must deal with muscle stiffness (and that’s not just a man’s penis either) at the point of climax. In every day activity many men and women with CP have muscle spasms at excitable moments. Can you imagine how your body might react if you spasm at its most excitable moment? Well neither can some people with a disability because in order to discover this you must explore your own body on an individual level first. What if you are not to be able to do this? It would be hell on earth and yet there are many people with disabilities who want to fulfill sexual desires that simply cannot.

When you are disabled nothing is done on an individual basis. Let’s take a composite scenario of what the typical first time experience of a sexual encounter might entail for a person with a physical disability. It might take many years to find a partner that finds you sexually attractive, a battle within itself. Many people with physical disabilities also live with their parents or carers and require 24/7 care and support. There are no private moments. If you’re thinking about having sex, try asking your parents to buy you a packet of condoms, or to take you to a doctor to get a prescription for the contraceptive pill because you can’t go by yourself. Not exactly dinner table conversation. If you think that is awkward enough, many parents and/or carers I know have willingly been in the room with a disabled person while they have had sex. Imagine what it is like having your mum or dad place your body in a certain position just so you can have sex, or even having to ask for it to be done? It is the reality for many people with a physical disability.

All of the above of course assumes you can find a sexual partner. If you can’t and you are physically disabled you might have to visit a prostitute in order to satisfy the urge. Prostitution immediately conjures up images of sexual penetration, but many people I know have paid prostitutes just to touch and caress them in a loving manner. Opponents of prostitution might find this repulsive, but sensitive and loving touch is a basic human right that everyone is entitled to. Many people with physical disabilities might receive all their sexual activity by having to pay for it.

What if you are a homosexual cripple? You are in not one but two minority groups who are constantly marginalized by society. You don’t fit into the gay community, and you struggle to fit into the disabled community. The same applies if you have a sexual fetish. The fetish groups may be tolerant of all sexual identities, but not all physical ones. Imagine if you’re disabled and the standard sexual positions don’t do it for you. Imagine wanting to undertake a threesome with one, two or even three cripples as just one example. No, its not far fetched. Everyone has their own sexual desires, regardless if they are disabled or not.

Some of the above examples apply to me, most of them don’t. However, there is a reason I point out all of the above. I’m sick of being treated as if I’m asexual. Similarly, I’m also sick and tired of having to tell people that I need something that all humans need. Some people like to keep their sexual behaviour quiet. That is okay, but you are lucky if you get to make that choice. So very lucky. You are also lucky if you get to have a quickie, or a drunk one night stand. I don’t without having to orchestrate a major production, and truth be told I would like to have both one day.

The biggest disappointment of all though is to play the game of sexual desire and everyone assuming that you are disqualified from the start. If you’re lucky enough to play the game with a disabled person you might find a few surprises, if you are patient enough to deal with all bullshit first.


  1. This is a great post Todd about a very important and often overlooked subject.

  2. I saw these and thought of this post: - a Walkley Award winning radio piece, worth downloading if you haven't already.