Sex Ed in Bed

Who says sex in a wheelchair ain’t great?
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

The LGBT community has had a long “debate” with radio talk jockey, Dr. Laura, about her view that homosexuality is a “flaw,” like blindness. I am honored to be categorized along side any group that is stigmatized by our society’s “majority.” Yet some people take offense that homosexuality is corralled with a disability. I take offense that anyone is marginalized as “flawed.”

A great Australian documentary called, Untold Desires explores both topics — “disabilities” and sexuality. In it, a short woman exposes the real issue. She desired to have a baby, yet she was struggling with the possibility of the child also being short. Society, and some of her friends urged her to adopt, with the advice that the birth child would have additional difficulty being small. Yet she felt that there were good things about being short and that her life had been wonderful and abundant. What would be so wrong with having a short child? Most of all, not having a child because of the size was like admitting to herself that there really was something fundamentally wrong with her.

As usual, the “disability” lies not with the uniqueness of individuals, but with the stigmas our society has about the different challenges people face. Sure, if a deaf person had the opportunity to hear, of course s/he would take it. However, the plain truth is there will always be genetic anomalies in humanity. As a matter of fact, anomalies are what drive all living things to evolve. How dare Dr. Laura call that kind of evolution “flawed?” I’d like to see her face-to-face with several paraplegics and call them “flaws!” She’d get tire tracks across her face and she’d deserve it. She ought to be ashamed for perpetuating such a degrading stigma.

A historical perspective comes from another fascinating documentary made by the History Channel called, Wild West Tech: Freak Shows. In the early 1900’s Freak Shows provided a place for physically unique people to make a living and even become celebrities in the eyes of the public. However, as medicine advanced and found cures for some physical illnesses, physicians overstepped their bounds and placed moral judgments on those who could and could not be healed. It therefore became a shameful act not only to be unusual, but to view the unusual in people, as well.

I recall the story of a girl who was born with a rather prominent birthmark on her face. Her father insisted that the mark was an angel’s kiss and that she was lucky because of it. The kiss, he said would enable him to identify her from everyone else. Sappy? Yes. But that girl’s self esteem never suffered because what made her different was viewed positively not negatively.

When it comes to people who are physically challenged (Will there ever be an appropriate label to use?), not only do they receive more than their share of debilitating stigmas, most people assume they’re asexual too! Survey says, “NOT!” Of course they’re sexual beings. Once again, it’s the rest of society that impairs these people’s abilities to enjoy life, and sometimes our society is down right cruel about it. One example out of many is that there’s a whole population of people who are not able to use their own hands to pleasure themselves. Yet that does not mean they’re asexual.

Gratefully, more and more people are speaking up and having to “come out” about their sexuality despite their limitations. Personal assistants are beginning to be asked when hired, if they are comfortable with planning for the sexual needs of their clients, like hiring an escort or helping a client move into position with a partner. Many people who’s sex organs are damaged have found different and amazing ways to be sexual with a larger comprehension of sensuality and connection. Those who rely on equipment, like a wheel chair, use them not as a weight around their neck, but as a way to enhance their pleasure, like a sex toy. These are just a few examples of the many ways people are persevering beyond the stigmas and doing their damnedest to have a healthy sex life.

After all, we are all human. We are all different. We all have our set of challenges in life. What good comes from labeling someone “flawed?” Besides, we are all temporarily able-bodied. Whether by accident or by age, we will be disabled in some way at some point in our lives, and our sex will be effected by it. Does this mean we are flawed or asexual? Hardly. We just get to make the best of it like everyone else. So go for it!

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