Listen. This may shock you. But you should know: People in wheelchairs -- they have sex. People with different motor abilities -- they have sex too. People who are blind -- they're doing it as well. Everybody's doing it.
There is a persistent and damaging myth that people with disabilities don't have sex. It is too often believed that if you don't move your legs than you don't orgasm, or if you don't move your arms than you can't make someone else come all over you. It's all a giant lie, I swear.
This lie is rooted in ableism. Ableism is the oppression of persons with disabilities. It is the assumption that being able-bodied is the norm, and that people who fall outside of this norm are lesser than: less intelligent, less desirable, and generally less valuable human beings on the whole.
This belief arises out of the traditionally held medical model of disability, which posits disability as a tragic medical condition that needs to be cured. This theory does not allow room to consider the ways in which disability is an identity that is socially constructed, which is to say that the world that we live in creates systemic barriers for folks who are different. To instead consider disability as a social construct is to say that rather than "curing" disability, we should instead consider how systems, structures, institutions, and entire modes of belief disallow some types of people and some types of bodies from being humanized.
And what this looks like, to name just a few of the thousands of examples of ableism, is folks with disabilities not having access to public spaces; folks with disabilities not being spoken to directly; and folks with disabilities being misconstrued as asexual, as not even having sexual desires let alone being considered super hot sex bombs.
This lie, this desexualisation of people with disabilities, may be rooted in ableism, but is then perpetuated by mainstream ideas about sex. We see sex all the time. It is everywhere, either sizzling under the surface or hot branded on the top of every single thing we consume from music videos to Burger King Ads. But, only a certain kind of sexuality is portrayed in this ever-present visual come on.
Specifically, it's the sex of skinny people, of straight people, of white people, and of able-bodied people. Mainstream sexual imagery never shows fat people, trans people, or people who are disabled.
So, misconceptions about human sexuality are really screwing shit up for all sorts of people, but pair that with ableism and you can see that things are made especially difficult for folks with disabilities. Can you even imagine what it's like to be totally dehumanized and desexualized? Can you imagine what it's like to not have your hot self be seen and be celebrated in all your glory? Now that's a tragedy.
Deconstructing this lie is beneficial for all people, not just those of us who identify as living with a disability. It is to your benefit to recognize the hotness of all sorts of bodies because doing so is going to make your sex life better (you could wildly expand your category of potential partners). It is important because you too may one day find yourself living with a disability, if you aren't already. And it is important because in deconstructing our ideas about human sexuality and about disability, and about sexuality and disability combined, we are working to deconstruct oppressive belief systems that limit all sorts of humans from accessing their right to safety, to dignity, and to pleasure.
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