INTIMACY AND DISABILITY
By Christina Stevenson
These are topics that many feel uncomfortable talking about, especially when both of these words appear in the same sentence. It is no secret that many feel this is a taboo subject and, even one step further, that people with disabilities do not need intimacy or that that are incapable. I have spent a lot of time the last year working on breaking this down and talking about it openly. I have created a workshop just for people like us.
There are those of us that think we have healthy relationships and good, intimate sex lives. Having no problems. They don’t have to worry about how? when? where? or what if? Then there are those of us who worry whether or not we will EVER have the intimacy we need. We worry about the stigma because we have a barrier. Many believe we don’t need that intimacy, or sex, or love. We find that when we do meet someone we love, we worry about how? When is a good time? Where can we be intimate or what do we need to be able to be intimate? What if something happens to me, to my loved one? Where do I go for answers or equipment or ideas to break down those barriers? Can I have a family? Will I lose my child if I were to ever have one? Am I even able to have one? These are all questions that we talk about in a safe, group setting during the workshop.
We are all human beings with needs. We need nourishment. We need air to breathe. We need connection with other humans. We need affection and intimacy. We need to feel loved and to love others. Having a disability doesn’t negate any of these needs. The picture of how we get there will look different for all of us. How we get this intimacy and affection from a partner will be different for all of us. But…it does not make you or I any less deserving of it.
Let’s start by talking about what we need so that eventually, we can talk about how to get it!