Last updated:

February 13, 2023


 min read

Breaking the myths around sex and disability

The notions around sex in our society are very conventional and normative, which results in stereotyping people with disabilities as asexual or non-sexual. It is not uncommon to see many people simply assume (or ignore) that sex doesn't happen at all if someone engages in it in a way that is not regarded as "normal." This faulty presumption raises obstacles, which makes it more difficult for people to develop satisfying sexual relationships. The notion is exacerbated when disabled persons are infantilized or used as inspiration in porn. It is extremely important to represent disabled people as sexual beings in popular media and realign our perceptions of disabilities and intimacy. Another way we can be more disability-inclusive is by creating a thorough sex education curriculum for schools. In this article, we smash some of the most common myths around sex and disability. Read on to stay better informed and inclusive.

Reviewed by
Reyana D’Souza
Written by
Malvika Rathi

Sex is not just about the genitals! 

There is absolutely no reason why someone cannot enjoy sex, even if they are unable to have an orgasm or an erection in the "conventional" sense. Individuals with spinal cord injuries have experienced intense pleasure from stimulation in places such as the arms, earlobe, neck, face, and nipple, to the point of orgasm! 

A significant portion of sexual pleasure is also influenced by brain activity. This can be improved in a variety of ways, such as fantasies, relaxation, meditation, or breathing exercises. Working out personal turn-ons and turn-offs is all that's necessary, and the ideal way to accomplish this is with a caring partner you can trust.

People with a disability don't just lie there 

Physical limitations shouldn't prevent you from participating fully in sexual antics. There are various ways to overcome the physical challenges, from employing aids like wedges, sliding chairs, or swings to choosing a bed or table that is the perfect height, even though some positions may be challenging. Even a wheelchair itself can be an excellent aid. There's nothing that can stop you once you've determined to make something happen. 

Disability is not just physical 

For the longest time, the umbrella of disability only looked at the physical aspect of it. However, being mentally disabled is quite real and deserves recognition too. People with mental disabilities can have issues with sexual health and wellness. Several studies have found that people with psychological disorders are more likely to report coercive or forced sexual encounters.

Further, research also highlights that those with mental disabilities are more prone than those without cognitive difficulties to engage in unsafe sex. Their risk of contracting STIs was heightened in some cases when up to 50% or more of their sexual experiences were deemed risky.

People with disability don't engage in relationships with just each other 

The belief that individuals with disabilities should only date and engage in sexual activity with individuals who also have disabilities obstructs the prospect of finding a devoted companion. 

Furthermore, according to this frame of thinking, a person is defined as having a disability first and as a person second. The bottom line is that all partners can engage in healthy sexual activity as long as they are content, secure, and willing.

You cannot consider someone as noble for being in a relationship with someone who has a disability - this implies that not having a disability makes you a terrific catch, while having a disability makes you a liability. This is far from true and very problematic. 

Every relationship requires labour and sacrifice, and having a disability does not lessen your contribution to a partnership.

People with disability enjoy sex 

Sex does not provide any pleasure if you are paralyzed, so what's the point? Many people hold this popular myth to be true. However, the truth is that deeper, more profound layers of sexual pleasure exist in the human body as well, outside of the sub-cuticle nerve level. Even though it might not feel the same, people with disabilities still enjoy every second of intimacy.

Women with disabilities can have a baby

Despite their physical constraints, paralyzed women can conceive and give birth vaginally. Furthermore, paralyzed women often continue to menstruate and have the same amount of sexual desire as non-paralyzed women, although paralyzed men typically have some trouble with sexual function. However, there is a higher risk of difficulties during pregnancy and delivery due to the mother's immobility.

Foreplay and Toys

Regardless of one's physical limitations, foreplay is one of the simplest methods to liven up a situation. One can make engaging in sexual acts more exciting by using sensual massage oil, fragrant candles, ice cubes, and a variety of other items. 

Oral sex is always a terrific substitute for penetrative sex, in addition to foreplay. Wheelchair users can perform oral sex on their partners by placing them on the edge of a bed, kitchen table, couch, bathtub, or any other location that suits their mood. 

And finally, technology may also help to enhance sexual wellness. Vibrators can improve sexual arousal and experience for both men and women. You can talk to our expert doctors about treatment options available for erectile issues. This could be a combination of medicines (which we deliver discreetly!) or therapy too!

Figuring out your way along the maze of popular culture and media can be challenging and leave you down in the dumps. However, a supportive and nurturing community can help you wage this war and regain your faith in humanity. You're never alone, and we've always got your back through highs and lows. Let's embark on this whirlwind journey together!