13 myths about sex and disability

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13 Myths About Sex and Disability

Takeaway:There are many things people presume to be true about sex and disability. These 13 myths about the subject opens our eyes that people aren’t as different as they seem.

People often have questions about sex and disability. Those questions and inexperience often lead to a presumptions that just are not true. Below is an excerpt fromThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability. This will help you understand the 13 most common myths related to this subject.

Myth #1: People with Disabilities and ChronicIllnesses are Not Sexual

We think this happens for two reasons. First, there is a belief held by many nondisabled people that they will never become disabled. By distancing Sexy Costumes from all things related to disability, they manage to stay in denial. Second, there is the fact that many nondisabled people view people living with disabilities as essentially different from them. Rechargeable Vibrators think disabled people are helpless (because many may need help). Therefore, those who are disabled are like children and are not acknowledged as sexual beings. You may have sixty years’ worth of life experience with the body, brain, temperament, andlibidoof an adult. However, if you can’t feed yourself, need help wiping your ass, or getting in and out of the car then you are considered a child. Thus, sexuality for the disabled person is often denied.

In North American culture, self-sufficiency is highly prized. It is defined as the ability to do everything for yourself—and still have energy left over to help those poor unfortunates who are not as self-sufficient as you! It is not defined as the ability to work creatively and cooperatively with others.

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Myth #2: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses are Not Desirable

Myth #3: Sex Must Be Spontaneous

Myth #4: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses Can’t Have “Real” Sex

According to this way of thinking, masturbation doesn’t count as sex. Only people who can’t get laid masturbate. Of course, studies (not to mention our own experience) tell us this is not true. People of all genders and sexual orientations masturbate regardless of relationship status! So How Do You Find The Most Powerful Vibrator?Some of us even masturbate with our partners. Most of us were raised with at least a few negative messages about pleasing ourselves sexually. One message is that orgasms experienced alone aren’t as fulfilling as those had with a partner. Unfortunately, the taboo against self-pleasure is deeply ingrained in us. This taboo flares to a fevered pitch if someone needs help to get off on his or her own.

So, only intercourse leading to orgasm is considered “real sex.” Within that idea lies a belief that no one living with a disability is capable of having intercourse. The truth is that the majority of people with a disabilitycanhave intercourse. Those who can’t, or choose not to, can still have real sex.

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Myth #5: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses are Pathetic Choices for Partners

The even more dangerous underlying idea is that if you live with a disability, whatever you happen to feel about yourself or think about the world on a particular day must be related to your disability. If you’re a real complainer who likes to kvetch and make everyone’s life miserable, it surely must be because you have a disability. On the other hand, if you are always cheerful and look on the positive side of things, that too must be indicative of what a trooper you are. After all, you’re happy in spite of living such a terrible existence. Of course, we all have good days and bad days. However, when you live with a visible disability or chronic illness, whatever you are on a given day is believed to bea result ofyour condition.

Related to this is the deeply disturbing idea that living with a disability is a life not worth living. We’re taught to feel sorry for anyone who cannot achieve “good” health. Basically, that is the absence of any condition that makes you different from anyone else. If we believe that people who live with disabilities are helpless, powerless, and dealing with unnatural burdens then few options are open to those with disability. None of the options involve being in a satisfying sexual relationship.

Myth #6: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses Have More Important Things Than Sex to Worryabout

The point is made again and again that if you live with a disability or chronic illness, you’ve got more important things to deal with besides sex. Sex is a luxury you simply can’t afford. This is also tied into the idea that people living with disabilities are childlike and need to be told how to prioritize their lives. Many nondisabled people hold this attitude, and even certain disability-rights activists claim that talking about our individual issues is bad because it “fragments the cause.”

Myth #7 and Myth #8: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses Are Not Sexually Adventurous or They Are Perverts

The “pervert” myth is the other side of the coin. It paints a picture of the dirty old man with the cane who eyes all the young, nubile people in the park. Ageism and disability often go hand in hand in a way that marginalizes people. Underlying both of these myths is the notion that people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses are “other” and that for them to have any interest in sex is perverted.

Myth #9: We All Get What We Deserve. We Can AlwaysDo More to Help Ourselves

So, if we are experiencing too much pain to enjoy sex, there must be a reason. This irritating message often comes in the form of well-meaning suggestions from friends and family about doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, herbalists, massage therapists, talk therapists, and other specialists. Maybe we should try this or that and then we’ll be better or perhaps even OK. This is no different from the habit most of us have of blaming the victim by wondering or overtly asking “Are you really doing enough to change your situation?”

The reality is that no matter how much we love ourselves and no matter how skilled we become at negotiating the particulars of our self-care, some of us experience physical pain that won’t go away. That pain becomes a fact of our lives. With life often comes pain—as unacceptable as this idea is to many people.

Myth #10: People Living in Institutions Shouldn’t Have Sex

This leads us to the next myth.

Myth #11: Sex Is Private

For someone living in an institution, using attendant services, or needing the assistance of someone else to facilitate communication, privacy is a completely different reality. The definition of privacy changes when you have no lock on your door or when you request private time at a specific hour knowing that it will probably be written down in a log-book. This myth is one of those “no-win situations” because we’re told that real sex is a private matter and, guess what, you can’t have that kind of privacy.

Myth #12: People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses Don’t Get Sexually Assaulted

This abuse ranges from pervasive power abuses by medical and rehabilitation staff to rape and other forms of sexual assault, forced confinement, physical abuse, and more. Supports for disclosure of the abuse, legal action, and counseling are scarce for people living with disabilities. This is especially true in institutions that maintain a culture of secrecy and keeping things private, which in turn allows more opportunities for other forms of abuse.

This myth sets up one of the most horrific, self-perpetuating cycles: If you are not at risk, why bother creating programs for prevention and support? This attitude places you at greater risk, and the cycle continues.

Myth #13: People with Disabilities and Chronic IllnessesDon’t Need Sex Education

Another layer of this idea is the belief that if you tell someone about sex, they will immediately become fucking machines. Few things scare the nondisabled public more than the idea of people living with disabilities reproducing. This is especially true for people who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For those living with other types of disabilities, there are huge obstacles to having children. Part of what motivates people to deny sex education programs to people living with disabilities is the perception that such programs will open up a can of worms which the nondisabled professionals will “have to deal with” because those living with disabilities will be incapable of handling it responsibly and it will become someone else’s problem.

With very few exceptions,sex educationprograms designed for people living with disabilities take a cookie-cutter approach to sexual response. If you have an SCI at such and such a level, thenthismodel is what you can expect for your sexuality. If Spanking Knickers ’re 70 years old and just had a stroke, then your sexuality will look likethis.

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