Being born with a physical disability made many aspects of my life more difficult, and sex was no exception. However, there are many aspects of my sexual identity that were forged directly from my experience as a disabled woman. Everyone’s different, but here are 7 aspects of my sex life I really appreciate, even though they have been directly influenced by my disability.
1. Sensation play is pretty amazing. Since I have nerve damage there are plenty of places I can’t feel. But when I play with certain toys (vibrators, electric wands) on places I can feel, I often have sensations in places I can’t feel. These sensations only happen during sexual play, and I’m not entirely sure why. So I am always learning new things about my body. I never know when sexual play might trigger a thrilling discovery or new sensation.
2. I know elbows are sexy, too. Since parts of my body that aren’t typically “sexual” feel good on me, I often focus on different parts of my partners. I’ve constantly been complimented when partners have said, “Wow, no one’s done that to me before.” I find ways to touch (or lick) body parts that usually get left out of sexual stimulation. The crook of my elbow is so sensitive when I’m turned on that biting or sucking it is orgasmic for me. It’s fun to give and receive!
3. I have to be careful. But the escalated trust is fantastic. When I first started being sexual, I was confused and mostly saw my body as only there for the pleasure of my partner. Unfortunately, the first time I was sexual, I hurt myself in a place I couldn’t feel. (Let’s just say there was a picnic table involved.) It was then I realized I had to be an active partner in sex. I couldn’t just “disappear.” Since I had that extra need, I started looking out for myself and developed a much healthier sex life both physically and emotionally. Now trust is a big part of being sexual and I know that if I’m trusting enough to be sexual with someone, my encounters are more meaningful.
4. Weird things get me off. Somewhere in my scrambled anatomy, my body decided that temperature changes would give me orgasms. I have no idea exactly why, but when I step outside in the cold, step out of the shower, or leave an air conditioned space and go out in the heat, I will have an orgasm. I haven’t looked into this medically. Googling it I have found rare incidents where women have had orgasms when entering a body of cold water or a cold shower, which is very similar. A few replies to these guessed the person wasn’t really having an orgasm/didn’t know what an orgasm was. I am 110% sure I am indeed having orgasms. At any rate, I orgasm 2-3 times a day on average because of this little quirk in my anatomy. The orgasms aren’t always pleasurable – they are very sudden and sometimes make my joints ache just a bit. And once I’ve had one, I usually don’t have another for several hours, whether I stay cold or warm back up. But I can’t really complain, now can I? I can still orgasm from sex/sexual play. I will have to do more research, but it warranted being on the list!
5. I plan sex. Most people think planning sex is the opposite of having good sex, but I’ve found it works really well. I’ve had a bunch of bladder surgeries so planning sex is mostly so I know my bladder is empty and not spasming. But it also means I am more focused. I know “this is sex time” and I won’t be writing a blog post or grocery list in my head. This also gives my husband time to plan and “rev up” as it were (or slip some sexy toys somewhere to spring them on me). We find since we started planning, both of us reach climax during the course of sex more often and we feel more energized after. When we were more spontaneous the encounters often ended messy or early. Being able to plan means I am comfortable and that definitely helps me get in the mood.
6. I had to get over my body image issues. I have a visible disability so I had a hard time with body image even fully clothed in non-sexual situations. It didn’t help that both men and women asexualized my body and often refused to acknowledge me as feminine or sexy. When I became involved in the kink community I was blown away by the diversity of sexuality, sexual essence, and well, pure sexiness in itself. I started to be proud of the places I had been stitched, stapled, and pinned. Where I had been ashamed of bumps or dips or jutting bones I became proud because despite all that, my body could still feel pleasure. I even let my play partners see my braces. It was amazing to be able to come to terms with my disability in a sexual setting. Now I love wearing dresses and not caring (as much) when I see people staring. I love my body and that makes me feel so sexy. I truly feel I wouldn’t have had such a powerful experience if it hadn’t been for my disability.
7. Pain relief. The truth is, sometimes being in pain means there’s absolutely no way I can be sexual. But often sensual touches and sex helps ease daily pain and stiffness. Not everyone is into S&M but a light going over with a wooden spoon or small flogger feels better than a massage to me. It releases endorphins, or puts a manageable amount of pain on a different body part to alleviate the pain I’m having elsewhere. Masturbating in the bathtub helps with my lower back pain, and sex during a migraine (no lights of course… how ‘bout a blindfold?) is one of the only things that distracts me from the misery. But the best part is, when I do feel good and am having a pain free day, I can really, really appreciate how good my body feels, because I don’t get to feel that way all the time.
At the end of it all, the best way for anyone to feel comfortable sexually is to learn your body and know what positions and times will be the most pleasurable. This means having limits and the ability to say you don’t want to be sexual at certain times, so you can be confident and aware when you do have sex. And don’t forget to always look for the good things and realize some rewards are not achievable without some hardships.