“He’s a gorgeous looking man with sexy eyes and a naughty smile. I fell in love with him very quickly and my friends were delighted with the sparkle that he brought into my life. But they all had a burning question: can you have sex?”
My fiancé is paralysed. Pretty much all over, not an awful lot of him actually works. We live a relatively normal life. We work around a routine of his care needs, sports and therapies that he enjoys – just normal everyday stuff.
He’s a gorgeous looking man with sexy eyes and a naughty smile. I fell in love with him very quickly and all my friends were delighted with the sparkle that he brought into my life. But they all had a burning question about the bubble of perfect love we found ourselves in: can you have sex?
People must look at him and wonder: “He has a high level spinal cord injury. Nothing functions below nipple level. So how on earth would he be able to perform in that department?”
Society still isn’t completely accepting of disability. We get looks and stares; some with admiration and full of love. Some bewildered and sad. Some with pity. Do they pity my life with him because they perceive that it cannot be complete?
His disability is obvious. You can see straight away that his hand and arm function is impaired. And because that’s the first thing you see, you may assume that not much else works properly either. So do you presume that, while we are clearly happy in our bubble of love, an important part of our relationship is missing?
Guess what? We have sex. Lots and lots of it! Ok, so things work slightly differently for him (we’ll get to that bit!), but the love and desire we both feel is just the same as any other couple.
Early on in our relationship, I had no idea what would be possible. His brain works perfectly well and he has wants and needs like any other man.
His neck and ears are particularly sensitive; I soon worked out that those areas are worth paying attention to! And with the aid of a little bit of medication, other bits can be encouraged to work too. He might not be able to feel them, but he can rise to the occasion whenever the occasion arises!
So that aspect of our life is normal-ish; we’ve never wasted time on consulting “50 Shades of Grey” for ideas, nor do we attempt gymnastics as part of our bedtime routine. We do what works for us; and we do it just like anybody else would.
When I first met him, many hours were spent trying to find out about his disability and whether love-making would be part of our life together.
Google was not my friend because “sex” and “disability” are words that are rarely found in the same sentence. It’s sad that in an age of acceptance and liberation, people sometimes presume that because someone has an impairment – be it mental or physical – that sexual fulfilment and enjoyment are an impossible dream. Somehow society needs to challenge that perception and we need to accept that everyone can have the opportunity to embrace their natural instincts.
Although I am now used to my friends wanting to know endless details about my most intimate moments, I’m no clearer as to how everyone finds it okay to ask me about it! Do you ask your friends on a regular basis about their private assignations? Probably not.
But because my private life is undoubtedly different, there are apparently a million questions that require answering.
I haven’t yet been asked to share any of this precious information with passing strangers in the bread aisle of my local supermarket, but I’m almost certain that a few people are dying to ask! I feel it would be rude to pre-empt their curiosity with a coy smile and of whisper of, “Yes. We do. And it’s absolutely, totally amazing thank you!”, before I scuttle off towards the exotic fruit section.
Or is it me that has it wrong? Do I presume that everyone wants to know – that they are all curious about our sex life when, actually, they just look at us as two completely normal people, one of whom is in a wheelchair? They can see that we’re head over heels in love and that’s enough.
So while society needs to change its perceptions about sex and disability, I’m starting to think that maybe I should change mine too. My private life is just that; private. And while I perceive that you might want to know about it, in reality, I’m pretty sure you’re quite happy in your life without knowing too much!