Wednesday 1 May 2013

Are we really Undateable? #BADD13

This isn't the blog i intended to write today for the annual Blogging Against Disablism Day BADD13 I was umming and ahhhing about what to wirte - I wanted to focus on why disabled people are "locked out of society"

Still undecided, I was sent a link to some feedback about a blog - When Lovers and carers Collide I'd written a few months ago about - and when your lover is your carer. Ther lady who read it had felt very alone and reading my pepeice helped her. So here I am once again, exploring sexual identify. 

"Locked Out"

Looking at sexual attitudes is interesting, simply doing a bit of research - well googling stuff I found that the most common news article that came up when you type in the words Sex + Disability  gave me headlines that generally focused on the "undateability" of someone, or them needing to pay for sex!

shock horror hookers used in care home...the Sun

New Low Channel4 controversial - Mothers pays for escort to have sex with disabled son anged 26  Dail Mail

but then has a remarkably balanced piece written by a young disabled woman

Can disabled people enjoy sex when your severely disabled YES - Daily mail

Are Disabled people really undateable? Guardian

You could be fooled into thinking that disabled people never get laid, cant find a partner or are so ugly and "crippled" they can't be sexually fulfilled anyway, are all virgins..and if they arnt then either they got lucky, are rich or were already in a relationship or have paid for it..

Picture of a womans in fishnet stockings showing just her legs, and high heeled shoes..depicting a "sexy pose" no nudity
Picture of fishnet stocking clad legs,
Having read many of the comments below the articles - people seemed to either think disabled people have such a tough life we ought to allow them a little bit of happiness and if they have to pay for sex, well thats ok, Or say two consneting adults its no ones business. But the assumption was still firmly entrenched that disabled people are NOT dateable in a conventioanl way.

Sex and disability has often been seen as a bit of a tabbo at worst and not even considered at best. The concept of physically disabled people having sex is one thing, but ask the same question about two consenting adults with learning disabilities and I suspect the answer will be different. Why?

In part its because many people associate people with Learning Disabilities with a "child like" innocence and that is often extended into adulthood. To deny that people with some impairments have no sexual feeling or indentify is not for thier benefit but for the people making the assumption. As a parent I firmly believe that all children should have age appropriate information - Im not talking about sexualising children, Im talking about supporting our young people to understand what is and sint appropriate sexual behaviour, and how to feel confident in their own bodies.

Many people find talking about sex to be extremely difficult its can become a taboo subject meaning that young disabled adults are not given age appropriate education, supported to feel body confident and we wonder why the idea that turning to prostitution is the only way to fulfil any kind of sexual urge.

Many people feel incredibly excluded, demoralised and alone thinking they are the only ones who are struggling with their sexual identity.

I feel very strongly that this is inherently linked to our body image, confidence, acceptance and a sense of self that is so often stigmatised and belittled. How many of us want to be been as news paper headline fodder, or a mockumentary star that sensationalises sex, or even pities it.

I blogged recently for the excellent Enahnce The UK - who have a campaign called undressing disability. There is a slow but steady sea change where its important the more visible and "normalised" something becomes the less sensational it is.

Finding decent information, fact sheets, toys, ideas or tips is tricky as you have to navigate your way though shock horror headlines..No one ever pointed me towards good information - all too often its not considered.

Impairments, tastes, sexuality, experiences differ but what we all have in common is a need to find sexual relief in the way that suits us best..some charities think basic care needs are more important but i would argue that the art of getting laid is about confidence - if we actually started to invest in disabled people, where confidence, independence and personal expression where given equal status to care needs we might actually start getting somewhere.

Confident,  body positive people invariably attract people - take Mik Scarlett for instance Sex are we really so different he is not only cool but his wife is so hot even I as a heterosexual woman appreciate her did he attract her..his personality, his charisma his confidence and maybe as she said - im sure i read it his bare faced cheek..what ever it was that lit the spark it certainly wasn't because he was sat apologising for his very existence.

I was already ill when i met my lovely LM - if he had met me a year before when I had just come out of a relationship im not sure we would have hit it off not because of my illness but because I wasn't confident, didn't feel sexy and wasn't ready...

its very rarely to do with impairment if it was then many profoundly disabled people would not have partners..thats what disablism is for me - its being "locked out" and not supported to be confident, to aspire and to not feel like we should apologise for ourselves.

Good information is one thing but lets get naked, undress it and not accept that the only kind of sexuality we can explore is one we have to pay for.

sources of help, support and good sex toys..

Undressing disability - Enhance the UK

Mick Scarlett - Enhance your sex life

sex toys..if its good enough for 50 shades of grey its good enough for us


  1. Thanks for this great post, Fibrogirl.

    I think sex is so important to us, not just whether or not we're partnered or getting laid, but because our sexual identity - feeling that we are sexual beings, that our desires and the possibilities they open up are as legitimate as anyone else's - is such an important part of identity generally.

    When people feel that they can't be sexual, or won't be wanted, it can be such a tremendous blow to self-esteem that it can effect everything.

    Thank you for contributing such a carefully written post to Blogging Against Disablism Day. :-)

  2. Thank you,

    you are absolutely right I maybe didnt get that accross enough. The more confident, attractive and accepted a person feels the more that vibe is given off.
    Attractiveness is rarely about looks.

    Having had many knck backs, I nearly gave up dating when i became ill, until I relaised it was asmuch about me as my illness.

    I feel its also important that people "own" thier sexual identity and are not put down, denied or made to feel ashamed.

  3. Superb article: right up my street! ;)
    Shall bookmark to come back and ponder. :)

  4. :) Excellent blog Lady


Happy to have thoughtful, funny or imformative comments..abusive crap will be deleted