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Sex & Physical Disability: Having Sex with my Boyfriend in a Wheelchair

What are your opinions on disabled sex?

By Nani CruzPublished 4 years ago 8 min read

Let’s get the obvious question straightened out first…yes, people in wheelchairs can have sex and they enjoy it!

A sad assumption many people have is that people with physical disabilities can’t have sex or are asexual. What a bizarre, but understandable assumption due to the way society has portrayed people with disabilities.

Having a disability does not mean the part of your brain that desires sex & pleasure shrivels up and dies. It’s still there and working just like anyone else’s. However, there are people with disabilities who are asexual. The important part is that the two are not correlated.

In this article, I want to highlight what I’ve learned and tips for if you find yourself in a sexually intimate interaction with a person with a disability.

What kind of sex are we talking about?

There are so many ways to have sex and there is no right way. The only requirement is that sex always has to be consensual!

There are three broad types of sex: oral, anal, and vaginal. None of these are automatically off limits simply because you have a disability. However, a person’s individual limitations may make one type of sex more feasible than another.

Let’s not forget about self-pleasure. Introducing toys into your sex life, whether it is solo or with a partner, can be a large part of someone’s sexual experience. This may also help bridge the barriers that disabled sex may put in place.

Having a physical disability (whether you’re born with it or an event happens in life that leaves you with less mobility) does not mean your sex life is over. Whew! In fact, I see it as an excuse to try kinkier things and to be creative. I’ll go into more detail on this in a bit.

Ambulatory people and people with disabilities can have sex with one another.

Another misconception is that disabled people just have sex with one another. This is also so untrue! This is not to say that there isn’t a social division that makes sex between ambulatory and disabled people a bit more taboo, but it happens more than you may think. Come on, it isn’t like ambulatory and disabled people are two different species who can’t mate! We are all people.

So, what’s my experience?

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost three years and we’ve been having sex for just about that long. My boyfriend uses a wheelchair due to a physical disability he was born with. It’s congenital. It isn’t anything his mom did while pregnant to cause it, like smoking or drinking. It isn’t genetic either, so the chances that our potential future kids would be born with it are just as probable as anyone else. Interesting, huh?

Before dating my current boyfriend, I had been with other people intimately. Ranging from college Tinder hook ups to long term relationships, you name it! Without going into too much detail about my own sex history, let’s just say I have experience. With mostly men, but also a woman.

I am a twenty-one-year-old woman in a monogamous relationship with a twenty-one-year-old man who happens to have a physical disability that requires him to use a wheelchair. He is NOT paralyzed. He can move his legs, stand, and walk very short distances of maybe a couple feet, but not without intense pain.

The big question: How do we do it?

Let me put a disclaimer. There is a WIDE range of disabilities. Emotional, psychological, physical, etc. This story is not all encompassing whatsoever. It is merely a reflection of my experiences with the one partner I’ve had who has a physical disability. If you gain something from this story, I hope it is an understanding that many people with disabilities have the same sexual desires as anyone else and are capable of fulfilling those desires in so many ways.

To give a short answer, we have sex just like what you may consider a "normal" sexual event to go down. Gosh, I hate using the word normal when trying to justify something relating to disabilities because it implies that actions revolving disabilities aren’t normal to begin with. But sometimes it’s a good place to start when trying to normalize taboo topics.

He gets turned on, I get turned on and it happens. What looks different in our case may be the intentionality and thought that goes into making it happen. Well, at least at first that was the case. After three years of having sex with the same person, you just kinda know what to expect and what they need.

So, let’s take it back a bit.

Before we had sex or even discussed having sex, I was actually under the assumption that sex was never going to happen. I was under the painfully wrong assumption that he wouldn’t be able to have sex with me! Looking back, I wish I could kick myself for thinking something like that. At the same time, you don’t know what you don’t know until you have the chance to learn. I’m hoping I can help squash some misconceptions that you may or may not have regarding sex & physical disability.

When we had sex for the first time, there was a lot of dialogue and communication that took place. Verbally discussing which way I needed to move my body to make it possible for him to move his was a big part of it. I had not yet learned what his body was capable of, therefore we had to talk through what were options and what may not be possible.

Above all, communication was so important! Communication is difficult as it is, add a little bit of spice (A.K.A. talking about sex), and it can feel embarrassing. I am a strong believer that you should communicate with your sexual partner a lot, but even more so if there are emotional or physical aspects to consider.

The first time we had sex, it started out in a missionary position with him on top. Halfway through, he sat up against the wall and I rode him on top. This took coordination and required us to not be tense if things didn’t work out as we envisioned.

My Tips:

1. Find out what your partner’s preferences are.

Everyone has sex preferences, whether they are ambulatory or have a physical disability. Getting to know what you partner enjoys and can do with more ease is crucial! You don’t want to find yourself in the awkward position where you asked your partner to do something they aren’t able to.

You may find that if your partner can perform one type of sex more easily than the others, they may favor this type of sex. Just like with love languages, you want to speak your partner’s sex language. If oral sex is their vibe or what they are capable of, be intentional of spending more time in this area.

2. Erogenous zones are your best friend- Kink it up.

Alright, I said I would address my statement on disabled sex being an excuse to try kinkier things. As a result of my boyfriend’s disability, sensitivity in certain areas are higher than in others. In his case, his nipples and ears are much more sensitive than his penis, which means I get to be creative in how I stimulate him.

My favorite has been putting Hershey’s syrup or whipped cream on his nipples and then licking it off in order to stimulate him. It’s kinky, fun, and tasty! Peanut butter was also fun, but it was a lot more work to lick off than whipped cream. It’s all about experimenting!

Additionally, introducing sex toys into our interactions have helped so much. When my boyfriend may get physically tired but still wants to pleasure me, he can whip out a dildo or vibrator. I don’t think I would’ve ever considered sex toys in my previous sexual relations.

We have also found sex aids that have helped him stay hard when he finds himself tired from using his legs too much during sex.

Also, don't limit yourself. You're not confined to the bedroom. Move to the car, kitchen, or even a dressing room in the mall! Hey, it's easy to get away with going in the same dressing room. All you have to say is "they need my help changing" and boom! You're in! Take it from experience.

3. Sex is the best form of exercise.

If you have had sex, then you know it is a true work out! I say it is the best form of exercise because (as long as you’re enjoying it), you’re not watching the clock to see how much longer you need to go for (like on the treadmill).

When my boyfriend and I first started having sex, there were a lot of movements and positions he couldn’t do that he can now do three years later. We like to think this is attributed to using muscles in his legs during sex that don’t get used when sitting in his chair all day long.

Three years ago, he couldn’t balance himself on his knees long enough to even attempt doggy style. Now we can do it for at least three to five minutes without any problems and it is my favorite position! We’ve even recently been successful in anal sex, which was not even a possibility two years ago.

4. Be patient and don’t get discouraged.

The most important part about having sex with someone who may have limitations is to be flexible and understanding! Don’t make them feel bad if they can’t perform a sexual act that you want. I think it goes without saying: that’s a really shitty thing to do.

Sometimes everything will go to plan and it will be a success. Other times, sex of any form may not work. Go with the flow and know that as long as you are supportive and understanding, everything will be okay.

5. Make sure you communicate what you want and like, too.

Okay, so I’ve talked a lot about being supportive of the other person, but don’t forget about you! You are entitled to your wants, likes and desires, too! Just as much as your partner with a physical disability can communicate what they want and don’t want, make sure you do the same. That is, you are a part of this sexual interaction just as much as they are.

6. Have fun!

Whatever fun looks like for you. Don't forget to be creative and don't limit yourself.

sexual wellness

About the Creator

Nani Cruz

As a 23 year old grad school student, I spend a lot of time writing academically. Now I’m taking time to write creatively and enjoy creating stories about whatever makes me happy.

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    Nani CruzWritten by Nani Cruz

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