Disabilities & Health

Sex and Disabilities

Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. It is influenced by psychological, economic, political, social, and biological factors. Sexuality is a natural and healthy aspect of living, and it's a part of who you are. Men and women who have disabilities are sometimes seen by others as non-sexual beings.  This is far from the truth.

Pain

Pain can take over your body and life, making it hard to think about anything else. But distraction can sometimes be the best (or only) cure, and if you can allow yourself to get to the point of sexual pleasure, it may relieve the pain. 

Fatigue

Chronic fatigue can make you feel like sex is an added burden. If there are certain times in the day when you have more energy, set aside some time for sex. Remember, pleasure and sexual response do not have to be physically draining.  Take your time, gentle stimulation (either on your own or with a sexual partner) can be as pleasurable as high energy sex.

Mental State

Having negative thoughts about yourself or your situation can lead to low self esteem and depression. Depression and low self esteem are mental states that can negatively impact sexual desire. 

Medication

If you take medication, it is critical to know why you take it, what it does, how it makes you feel and its impact on your libido.  While it can be difficult to talk to your doctor about this (particularly if he or she assumes that sexuality is not an important part of your life), it is important to have this conversation and find out. 

Erogenous Zones

Sometimes people may assume that you don't have any sexual thoughts or feelings. People forget that the biggest sexual organ in your body is your brain! Getting turned on has far more to do with how you feel about a situation, person or fantasy, than your body's ability to perform a certain way.  In addition, there are erogenous zones all over your body. Women and men sometimes feel sexual pleasure when their ears, neck, lips, or breasts are stimulated or caressed. If you have lost sensation in a certain part of your body, look for the point where the unfeeling part meets the part of your body where you do have sensation. These are often very sensitive spots, and being touched sexually in these areas can be arousing. Some women with spinal cord injury still feel pleasure through cervical stimulation (inside the vagina).