Can you have sex? Can you have kids? These are very common questions abled people ask me, being a wheelchair user, a paraplegic. The answer is very short and simple. Yes!
"Yes, I Can! Being a Paraplegic is No Barrier to Having a Satisfying and Fulfilling Sexual and Reproductive Life"
Last week I got approached by a young woman, like myself, from a Dutch national tv show/platform that covers topics on drugs and sex. She wanted to ask me a few questions about having 'sex as a disabled person'. I agreed to do a short (written) interview because I believe the topic deserves more attention. If I'm not going to do it, who will? Talking about sex isn't easy, it's personal. But everybody does it so cut the crap. It's the second time I talk about sex for an article in the media. This time, two other young people (also with a disability) answered these questions. We are all basically saying the same. Yes, we are having sex.
When I just got injured, I also wondered how sex was going to be. I was 26 when my life instantly changed. As a young healthy woman, I was thinking about having kids soon. The first thing the doctors said, 'You can still have kids'. At the time it didn't seem to be very important, all I could think of was 'but I'm I going to walk again?'. Looking back, I realize that being able to have kids is more important than being able to walk. With a wheelchair I can still live independent and move myself around. I want everyone to know that. We need to see more examples of happy, strong people with disabilities.
Forever single or not?
After the two months in the hospital I googled 'paraplegic sex' and 'sex in wheelchair'. The results were disappointing. I couldn't find proper information. There is so much information about so many things but topics lack on disabilities & sexuality. I had to find out myself. 3 years later, I went from being single to dating and now being in a relationship. I've had to rediscover my own body and the worlds view on me. It wasn't easy but I feel a lot more confident now. To those who just got injured, you will find your way! Don't dwell and keep trying. This is it now, make the best of it. That's how I got through it.
So? How is the sex?
The interviewer asked me If I could feel 'you know, down there'. Yes, it's not the same as before I got paralyzed but the body is an incredible complex thing. I guess I now feel 10% out of (the previous) 100. So, it's way less, but it's still something. I can (still) enjoy sex, because most of it, happens in the mind. I can concentrate on what I do feel, and above my injury the feelings are more intense. My muscles are way more flexible now, so I can go in all positions very easily but with help from my bedpartner. So, yeah... it's really not much different than your (abled-body) possibilities. Does this answer your questions?
I've never tried to get pregnant, but it has to be possible according to the doctors. There is only one way to find out. I guess even my friends and family never asked me questions about sex and how I was experiencing it. Because we all don't really talk about it. But with another article out, more information about experiences are spread. And that's a good thing. I hope in the future, people wouldn't be wondering or asking about it with red cheeks but just know, that people with disabilities also have sex & just like every other human-being needs it.
In conclusion, people with disabilities are capable of having a fulfilling sex life. It is important to provide more information about sex and disability in order to spread awareness about the topic and to provide support to people with disabilities. It is also important to normalize the conversation about sex and disability and to reduce the stigma associated with it.
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