Sex and Disability Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions that surround sexuality. A partial list includes:
MYTH: Sex means sexual intercourse.
MYTH: Talking about sex isn’t natural, proper or necessary.
MYTH: Sex is for younger people.
MYTH: Men should initiate sexual activities,
MYTH: You shouldn’t start what you can’t finish.
MYTH: Sex should be spontaneous.
MYTH: A firm penis is essential for satisfying sex.
MYTH: Good sex ends with orgasm.
The general attitude toward people in wheelchairs is that sexual activity is impossible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because sex is never entirely genital, it can certainly be enjoyed by a person who is disabled or physically handicapped. In fact, 50% of people with spinal cord injuries report that they are able to have an orgasm. Many of them report areas of the body above the injury that become hypersensitive and when stimulated, result in sexual arousal and sometimes orgasm.
One common misconception following a spinal cord injury is that a single man or woman will never find a life partner, or that an existing partner will leave a relationship due to the complications of an injury. This is not the case. The divorce rate following spinal cord injury is only slightly higher than in other populations, and thousands of people have been married and begun families after a spinal cord injury
It is important to remember that the inability to move does not imply the inability to please your partner or to be pleased. The absence of sensation doesn’t mean that there is an absence of feeling. A disabled person still feels desire even though the genitals may no longer function. The ability to enjoy intimacy and closeness persists even though the ability to perform may not. Couples can still enjoy a loving, close, and intimate relationship although it may be different from the one shared prior to the disability.