People with disabilities also have fulfilling sex lives, but are often perceived as being asexual. Together, let’s change that
Not all disabled people are the same.
In the UK, 13.9 million people live with a disability. That’s 22% of the population. I can guarantee that a great number of them have satisfying sex lives.
Firstly, there are a lot of different disabilities that affect a person’s ability and desire to have sex. These include physical and intellectual disabilities. But we tend to treat all disabled people in one way; as if they can’t and shouldn’t have sex.
Not only is this wrong, it’s insulting. DEEPLY INSULTING. People with disabilities have a right to consensual (and enjoyable) sex and relationships.
Of course there are some people with disabilities who either can’t or don’t have sex. That’s totally fine. But let’s not lump everyone together and assume that all people with disabilities don’t have sex. Because they do, it’s as simple as that.
Sex ed for disabled people
Able-bodied people may think that disabled people are not having sex because it’s something that is rarely discussed.
This false idea is often supported by the fact that the topic of sex and disability is not included in sex education at school.
Like everyone else, disabled people should have sex ed to learn about sex, sexuality, relationships, their bodies, and protection from sexual abuse.
And we’ve all got a right to watch our teachers awkwardly trying to talk about inclusive and positive sexuality with us…
There’s a bunch of myths about people with disabilities having sex, so let’s debunk them.
⚡️ Disabled people are asexual
First, let’s acknowledge that disabled people are sexual beings, just like everyone else. They have sexual desires and needs. This includes masturbation, having sex, and being in relationships. Ultimately, the decision to be intimate is down to the individual alone, and nobody else.
⚡️ People with physical disabilities can’t have sex
While some people with certain physical disabilities may not be able to have sex in some positions, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy alternatives. Sex, after all, is different for everyone. With patience and some adjustments, you’ll have the sex you want.
Also, don’t forget that you can express sexual desire through other activities, such as kissing, massaging, and oral sex. These behaviours fall under the banner of ‘outercourse’, which is basically any non-penetrative sexual activity.
⚡️ Disabled people only have sex with each other
Having a disability doesn’t make you less sexy, or sexual. Remember, people with disabilities can have sex or relationships with disabled or able-bodied people.
⚡️ People with physical disabilities aren’t active during sex
Being disabled doesn’t mean you just lie down during sex. There are many ways to actively have sex. For example, you can use props like swings, sliding chairs, or a wheelchair. Sex is different for everyone.
With practice, you’ll figure out how to have the sex you want. Here’s some advice from people who use wheelchairs during sex.
There are lots of resources if you’re disabled and nervous about sex or want to improve your sex life:
The Mix has some advice about experimentation, contraception, and common worries of disabled people who want to have sex.
Taylor Carmen, a person with a disability, has some top tips from their own journey of having disabled sex.
Mencap has a bunch of useful FAQs about relationships and sex and learning disabilities.
Outsiders is a social, peer support, and dating club for disabled people looking for romance, friendships, or just more sex ed.