The myth that people with disabilities do not have or enjoy sex is so far from the truth, I feel that I need to dedicate an entire blog to it! Sexuality doesn’t have to end after a disability. There are numerous ways to experience sexual pleasure and to express your sexuality. One thing I want to point out is everyone is different, so no two people are going to feel the same. But even if someone loses feeling in their genital area they can still have sex, feel love, pleasure and orgasm.
I have spoken to countless number of people about having sex as a person with a disability. And the number one thing most people wanted to convey was that there is much more to sex than just the intercourse, the foreplay was very important to them in a sexual relationship.
Myths about sex and people with disabilities:
1. They don’t have sex.
2. They don’t enjoy sex.
3. They can’t feel anything.
4. They can’t orgasm.
5. They just lay there in bed lifeless during sex.
6. All male wheelchair users have a problem getting and keeping an erection.
7. They can’t have children.
Beverly Whipple, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor emerita in the college of nursing in the neuroscience center at Rutgers University and a noted researcher on sexual health who has conducted several studies. “Many people who have, through spinal cord injury or other neurological disorders, lost all feeling or sensation in their genital areas can still experience orgasm as a result of genital stimulation, Whipple says. She’s done a wide range of laboratory studies involving women with spinal cord injuries, and they report having orgasm from genital stimulation, feeling it above the level of their injury. “They report that it feels just like the orgasm they had before their injury, except they feel it only in part of their body,” Whipple says.
“In one study, 16 women with various levels of complete spinal cord injury (below vertebra T-6, meaning that they were paraplegic, not quadriplegic) were compared with five women who had no spinal cord injury. Each used a specially designed tool to stimulate themselves in vaginal and cervical areas as well as in other parts of their body above the level of their injuries where they felt especially sensitive. ”
“Only one of the non-spinal-cord-injury women had an orgasm, while three of the women with [spinal cord injury] had an orgasm in the laboratory,” Whipple says. “One had six orgasms during the experiment. One had never had any sexual stimulation in the two years since her injury, and these were her first.”
“If there’s no “feeling” below the waist, then what explains these sensations? Whipple notes that a nerve bundle called the sensory vagus bypasses the spinal cord, carrying nerve impulses directly from the genitals to the brain. So even if the spinal cord is damaged, “pleasure” messages can be carried through the sensory vagus from the genitals to the brain, triggering the experience of orgasm. Whipple and her colleagues even confirmed this theory by doing PET scans of women with complete spinal cord injury. These tests showed that an area of their brains that is connected to the genitals through the sensory vagus was indeed receiving signals. ”
Even if you do not have the same sensation as before an injury, an orgasm and pleasure is still an option. You might have to think of non traditional methods of reaching an orgasm such as using different touches, sex toys, scents and imagination. Although these suggestions are not as different as most people. Many people, disabled or not, need the build up to achieve an orgasm. I know most of us don’t talk about it but it needs to be said. I was injured when I was five years old so I had never awaken my sexual drive. So I could not compare my first sexual experience to a pre and post injury. I was speaking with a good friend the other day and she said yes it’s different and it takes me much longer to orgasm but in a way it’s much better. She then told me that she now has multiple orgasms and she is more in sync with her body. I spoke with a different friend who has been disabled since birth and her experience is much like mine. She has a healthy sex life and doesn’t have issues being satisfied sexually.
So let’s talk about some non-traditional ways to help you reach your goal.
1. Tease yourself before you start.
2. Try sex toys (Nipple Vibrators, Sex Swings, Massage Oils and Sexual Lubricants). Maybe a dash of warming lubricant on your neck might get you excited.
3. Try to engage all of your senses; light a candle, get a tasty treat to use like whipped cream, visually make your “room” appealing and sexy.
4. Get to know your body so you know what you like and don’t like.
I couldn’t write this blog without mention safety. Remember just because a person has a disability it doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant or get sexually transmitted diseases. So please use protection to help protect against STD’s and pregnancies.
I could go on and on about this topic but I think this is a good base for everyone. Please make any comments on my blog at http://www.pushgoddess.com/2/post/2014/03/dont-be-a-prisoner-of-sexual-myths.html
These are my thoughts and feelings besides the quoted material. Remember everyone is different and everyone’s experiences are different.
Graham. “Dating Paraplegics the Ultimate Guide.” Mad Spaz Club. Mad Spaz Club, 18 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Web MD. “Disabled Still Have Sex Lives.” Sex Life for Disabled People. Web MD, 4 June 2001. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.