This article contains sensitive material which may not be appropriate for all readers.
The sexuality of people who live with disabilities is exceptionally nuanced. In fact, there are entire books on the societal forces that push and pull on Crip sexuality. I am going to give you five pieces of advice to keep in mind when having an intimate relationship with a person living with a physical disability.
1. Create Time to Prepare
In today’s sex culture, there is an idea, perpetrated by the media, that a person sees a sexy individual, grabs them, runs to a private place, and immediately has intercourse. This storyline is untrue for everyone, but especially for Crips. When a Crip wants to be sexually active, there is preparation that must happen in order for them to feel attractive and ready for intimacy. Often this preparation looks like a couple of minutes with a caregiver to clean up and prep in order to feel good in their body.
2. Great Crip Intimacy Makes its Own Schedule
After an aid leaves, the Crip and the lover have to get the room ready and get in bed. Crips have to make sure they have their chair in the right place and their pillows supporting them correctly. This process takes time; the lover who is not preparing the environment must patiently wait.
3. Crips are not Going to Break
In everyday life, Crips are touched gently and handled with careful precision. However, in the bedroom, that clinical touch can be replaced by firm physical contact. By giving Crips physical weight, they become anchored in the here and now, affirming they have a human body.
4. Pleasure is a Two-Way Street
One reason why people shy away from having sex with a Crip is that they are not sure that there will be pleasure equity. In reality, Crips can pleasure a partner as well – if not better – than a Temporarily Able-Bodied (TAB) person. Do not assume that just because someone lives with a disability, they are not able to please you physically.
5. Some Crips with Involuntary Movement Have an Advantage in Bed
The TAB sexual cycle is a linear process. However, the Crip sexual cycle is not nearly as predictable. This makes intimate relationships with people living with disabilities to be both exciting and rewarding.
Having an intimate relationship with a person with disabilities is an adventure in exploration, patience, and pleasure. Take the time to think differently!
Galen Spiegler holds a BA in Psychology from Wright State University. He is an author, ordained Marriage Officiant for Weddings on Rainbow Wheels and the Universal Life Church. He is the Founder and Director of Loungeability, and an intern at Thrive Tribe 419.
Welcome to the newly renamed and redesigned Disability RAPP. The themes explored in each issue, like this issues’ focus on the intersection of disability and sexuality, inform us and empower us to break barriers and challenge traditional ideas of what it means to live with a disability. We updated the Disability RAPP design to be more accessible in both its print and digital formats.
Certain content contains sensitive material which may not be appropriate for all readers.