Sex in a Wheelchair, Part I

I waited for the perfect opportunity to broach this topic and I couldn’t think of a more fitting time. The munchkin is asleep and the hubby is preoccupied. Finally! It’s time to begin.

This week, I plan to cover a range of intimate, somewhat controversial or risqué topics that may be weighing on many of your minds. What better way to start than with a really hot one (or cold if you’re in the wrong relationship): sex, or more importantly, intimacy.

Believe it or not, I’ve had many doctors ask me if I had IVF treatments or went the surrogacy route to have my daughter. Sometimes, the ignorance becomes so annoying that I just blurt out, “Nope, just good ole sex!”

People with disabilities have sex! People who are paralyzed have sex! The quality of the sex is determined by the individuals involved, but isn’t it that way for everybody?

After my injury, I scoured the web to find as much information on my new way of life. However, because the majority of people with spinal cord injuries are men, information for women was scarce. I learned some from support groups and a little more from message boards, but overall, experience was my greatest teacher.

All great sex begins in the mind. You may have insecurities or inhibitions, but there is nothing more attractive than confidence. Most often, muscle atrophy occurs in folks who are non-ambulatory, leaving the legs skinny (unless you are an African-American woman that has had a baby named Justice). Or maybe your injury left scars on your body that cocoa butter won’t erase. Forget about all of it. Pretend none of it exists. Don’t be ashamed of your body and don’t dwell on its imperfections! No body is perfect. Believe me, everyone dislikes something about their body.

Prepare your mind for what you hope to experience! If you are more focused on your partner’s satisfaction, you will most certainly be unfulfilled. Be a little selfish. It’s common to wonder if your partner is enjoying it also, but you may inhibit your own journey because your mind is in the wrong place.

Understand how your body responds to pleasure. A spinal cord injury will have most likely changed your levels sensation — diminished in some areas and heightened in others. Really, really heightened. YMMV. Obviously, focus on the heightened areas, but don’t send yourself into a dysreflexia episode. It can happen.

Get in shape; cardio is important. Stamina is key. In this case, you can turn a negative into a positive because the diminished areas of sensation will require more time and concentration. Tell your mate to have a Guinness with egg because it may be a long night. I doubt there will be any complaints.

Stretch daily. If you deal with muscle spasms, this should be a part of your regimen anyway. Flexibility can take you places.

Prepare your body with great personal hygiene.  My elbow is a little worn because I use it to “pivot” so much for balance, but does that give me a pass? Heck no. I routinely exfoliate, paying close attention to areas that need a little more TLC. My soles rarely touch the ground, but I keep my feet moisturized and manicured because I take pride in my appearance. Meet your partner feeling your best. Feel good. Smell good. And when you know it, you’ll show it!

Communicate with your mate. There is no such thing as some things being too private at this point.  YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE SEX! How much more private can things get!? Talk to your partner about potential medical situations such as dysreflexia, nerve pain, incontinence and unexpected spasms (which are not always inconvenient) and what to do in case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to keep a list of your medical condition(s), medication, and doctors’ names and numbers in your wallet to avoid any confusion.

Don’t forget about the consequences! Your disability is not a contraceptive. You can get pregnant!  Also, you are not immune to STDs, so handle your business!

Don’t handicap yourself with unnecessary apprehension. It’s all good!

Keep it moving!