If I got a shilling for every time someone asked me that question I’d be a millionaire by now. I remember when I was in high school , some of these big higher learning institutions would come over to spend time with us, encouraging us and one time, a particular individual called my able-bodied friend (aka “ regulars” in the disability community) on the side and asked him;
“Hawa watu wao umangana? (Do this people have sex?) Wanakuanga na nyege? (Do they have feelings?) Wanakatiana aje sasa? (How do they pursue each other?)”
At first, I was offended but later on I learnt not to hold it against him after all, it wasn’t his fault even though ignorance is no excuse. In a world where the need for intimacy and belonging is a crucial, people around the globe spend lots of money and time both in the field and online with the hope of finding that special someone with whom they can share all their lives with. With this demand comes the thousands of sites all over the internet about love, sex and dating.
Ironically, everyone has been considered except one; People with Disabilities or as we are commonly called these days PWD(s). When it comes to matters of Love, Sex and dating PWD(s) have been sidelined and it’s mind boggling why that is!
Apparently, people assume that PWD(s) could not, would not, and should not partake or participate in such because they are undesirable, weak, defenseless, fragile little angels who should be sympathized with, hidden and protected. PWD(s) are denied sexual rights partly to keep them outside mainstream society and also probably because PWD(s) are treated as if they are children and most times, we are told that sex should not be considered as a priority for us. Instead, we should focus on our condition, our disability, our imperfections, our health, finances and the list keeps on growing by the day. Pretty soon it will be an endless one.
You see they forget that we are human beings too with emotions and needs just like everyone else in the world. They forget that we too experience sexual desires. They forget that we too subscribe to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as well.
Do people with disabilities have sex? Hell YES! In fact, statistics show that PWD(s) have a higher libido than the average man. HOW? Well, that’s for us to know and you to find out.
An organization for people with disabilities in the US recently came up with comfortable, secure sex positions for PWD(s) – call it our very own Kama sutra manual if you will. On their website: Sexuality and Disability, they have put illustrations showing what to do and how to do it for one to be able to achieve optimum results . Some organizations like the TLC Trust have gone the extra mile and collaborate with sex workers, surrogates and healthcare professionals who volunteer to help PWDs on their sexual journey.
Are PWDs in romantic relationships?
YES! Despite all the lies, myths and stereotypes plastered on us by the society we are amazing lovers. As we speak, a PWD friend of mine (paralyzed from the waist down) is getting married to a lovely young lady who is a regular very soon. I won’t lie and say that they haven’t gone through hell to get to this point, but who doesn’t? Every time I think of this topic I always think of those two and they stand as my role model couple because no matter what they go through, as long as they have God and each other, they believe and they know that they can overcome anything.
Most people think that when you have a disability like paralysis that it is not possible for you to have sex, but in reality that’s actually false. You can be paralyzed and still have a healthy sex life.
For me, what matters at the end of the day is having a partner whether a PWD or a regular that knows me, understands me and is not afraid of me. One that is open minded and ready for adventure, ready to take each day as it comes. The truth is we are all different and it is this difference that makes each of us unique and this uniqueness triggers us to become curious to know about one another.
My disability; my condition does not deter how I do my activities; in bed or otherwise. Sex for PWD(s) is very possible. It has been done and will continue to be done because with each day comes a new technique, a new style and a new position.
© Julius Mwaura Rodriguez
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About the Writer…
Julius M. Rodriguez is the C.E.O. for the National Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (NAPD), published author of the book A Flower in Thorns and the pioneer of the Mr. And Miss Disability Kenyatta University Beauty Pageant. When he is not making films, he’s either singing with the KU Students’ Choir or getting major hugs from the ladies. He also swears the name Rodriguez is not an alias. Find him on twitter @JRM280