Ask Me Anything by Becky Dann
I’ve always been the type of person that quite enjoys ‘educating’ people about disability. I like that people feel comfortable asking me questions about my disability because to me it means they are not judging, they are curious.
As I got older the question of ‘sex and disability’ came to the forefront, a topic I never really thought would even be a question!
There was a time when I was younger and at school, people were whispering next to me trying to work out who in the class had ‘done it’. When they came to me I heard them say “Oh, she can’t, she’s disabled”. I remember feeling upset and when my mum asked why I was upset I couldn’t explain it because I hadn’t had sex, nor was I even thinking about sex at that point but just the assumption that I couldn’t really got to me.
I am open online about my dating experiences (and fails) but the one topic that isn’t spoken about is sex, but it is something that I get asked a lot about.
I asked my Instagram followers if ‘Sex and Disability’ was something people wanted to know about, a huge 99% said yes (sorry to that one person who said no). I then went on to open up the question to my followers to know what people had questions about.
Here is what was asked:
I guess my question is, have you had sex?
I thought I’d start with this question because obviously I’m writing about sex and disability but I kind of wanted to put a disclaimer out there. I have had sex, but I actually did not sleep with anyone until I was 21 (now 24). Because of this, there was a huge assumption from people around me that it was because I couldn’t. Which wasn’t okay.
What is the biggest misconception people have about having sex with you?
Mainly that I can’t have sex. I get asked constantly by people on dating apps whether I can have sex which if anything tells me straight off that bat that they’re not after much else from me!
Also not necessarily about having sex with me but a big misconception people have about me and many disabled people is that we’re asexual.
Does your Scoliosis affect your sex life? Is there anything you can’t do sexually that you wish you could? Anything you have to do for comfort? What restrictions do you have?
Scoliosis does and doesn’t affect my sex life. I have sex just like everyone else but yes sometimes I do need to do things differently.
I have restricted movement in my hips and therefore the guy tends to have to do more work (Not a bad thing though am I right?) and I can’t lay on my back for a long time, so tend to be a bit more adventurous with positions, which again, I definitely don’t see as a bad thing.
I suppose the only other restriction I have is that I can’t have that weird movie moment where guys just like grab the girl and pin her against the wall. My god if someone did that to me I dread to think what would happen. I’d probably just crumble into a heap on the floor. That is not gonna work with me, my back is not flat!!
Also sex isn’t all about penetration, so for a lot of disabled people, sex is about finding new things that still feel amazing but in a different way to everyday sex.
Do you worry about how guys see you in terms of attraction/sex? Are you comfortable being naked around others/your sexual partners?
When I first started to really think about dating and sex, I was incredibly self conscious about my body. I worried that it would instantly freak guys out or turn them off which worried me because it's part of who I am and not really something I can change. I also had a friend that had a large scar on her body which meant she wore a top during sex. This instantly made me question whether that was something I’d have to do when it did come to sex.
But actually, the more I dated and the more confident I grew as a person I really started to accept who I was and I liked my body. I became a lot more head strong and more ‘This is who I am, if someone can’t deal with that, then it’s their loss’. I wanted to show my back, not hide it.
So when the time did come for me to have sex for the first time, I tried to not get stuck in my own head and actually, the guy I was with was so nervous that it weirdly made me feel more confident.
It helped that he was complimentary, I think that's quite important to me. Having a partner that makes you feel beautiful really helps.
From that point on wards, sex was sex for me, even when I had moments like “This guy is beautiful how have I managed this?” I wouldn’t let it make me feel any less beautiful.
In a weird way, for me, to get to the point where you’re about to have sex, it tells me, they are attracted to me in some way and that's all that matters. I have not come across a guy so far that has been ‘weird’ about my back during sex which is great. (If I ever did meet a guy that got weird, I’d kick him out my bed and tell him to grow up).
Everyone's body is different and unique in their own way, we should embrace it not hide it away. So yes I am comfortable being naked.
Do you look forward to / enjoy sex or does it make you uncomfortable?
Yes I like sex. I so far have not felt uncomfortable in regards to my disability, but when first having sex I was more just uncomfortable about being ‘inexperienced’.
Would you say that it’s more uncomfortable having sex with a disability or not?
This is honestly different for different people, there's a great article on Cosmopolitan with a group of Women with all different disabilities and all different experiences you should read.
I think the important thing to realise is that for some it can be and for others it's not, but it shouldn't mean you should be afraid to explore and talk to them about it if they are someone you are building a relationship with.
Plus there are lots of different ways to explore sex. You can work together to find something that works for both of you without someone being uncomfortable.
Does your back ever get in the way when having sex?
Not that I know of? I mean I am not sure how it can. Just as my arms and legs don’t get in the way, my back doesn’t, it’s a back.
Are these pointless questions because really you enjoy and want sex like most of us?
I thought I’d end on this question because it made me laugh.
To me the questions are not pointless because I know a lot of people are still so unsure of disability and there are so many myths and misconceptions. However, disabled people should not always be expected to educated non-disabled people and some of the questions are quite shallow. I just hope this encourages people to talk more and be open to educate themselves on disability.
The simple answer is yes, I enjoy and want sex just like most people.
Please never assume. Disabled people enjoy the things everyone else does, we just sometimes do things differently.
Sex is different for everyone. Communicate and have fun.