Sex on Wheels
Q: I’ve recently gone out on a couple of dates with a guy in a wheelchair. I really like him and am very attracted to him. I’d like to move forward, but don’t know how, or if it’s even possible. What do I do or say?
A: It’s only human to feel uncomfortable talking about another person’s disability — society teaches us at an early age that it’s not polite to stare or ask intrusive questions. But if he’s been in a wheelchair for more than a couple hours, we pretty much guarantee that he’s had a lot of experience answering awkward questions. Remember, this probably isn’t an easy topic for him to bring up, either. (“Hey, great second date — I can still have sex, by the way.”)
So just … ask! It sounds like you’re worried that he’ll say he can’t get or sustain an erection, or that he has no sensation below his waist. First, despite popular perception, not all disabled individuals are completely without feeling or motion in their affected limbs. Ask and he may give you some idea of what he can feel and do. He may have full sensation and can get hard like no other, in which case ride that chair (or bed, or shower stall)!
Second: Sex and pleasure — even penetration — aren’t only possible in the presence of an erection. Your friend may have different erotic zones, possibly the area right above his disability, which may have increased sensitivity. The authors of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability — a book you should put on your Kindle right now — make the good point that the process of figuring out what works for both of you can be really fun, as you get to explore new positions, toys and sensations. And while you’re doing a little research, check out the documentary (Sex)abled: Disability Uncensored for a more personal take on the topic. (Check out a clip at citypaper.net/criticalmass.)