Retards and cripples have sex.
It’s true, and I know it’s true because I’m a cripple. I have cystic fibrosis, a chronic genetic disease, and several times I’ve had someone wrapped around my penis in one way or another. We who are disabled strive for a life as close to normal as our respective maladies allow. A normal part of life is sex. The beast with two backs, or rather, the beast with two backs but one of them suffered a severed nerve, became paraplegic and is now dragged along by the more able back. The horizontal rumba, or maybe more of a hokey pokey that requires a little sit down to catch breath between shaking it all about.
I want to put together a panel in which a group (what’s the collective noun for the disabled? A stump of sickies? A distress of differents? A mangle of mentals?) of people with disabilities, diseases and acquired injuries talk frankly about their sex lives to an audience of the interested. Ideally we’ll be funny and represent a mix of perspectives: gay, straight, legless, half-brained, chromosomally challenged, right down to mutants like me. We can trade war stories that hopefully entertain and extract giggles while also offering a rare insight into the very human, shared experience of making love, but with a slightly different set of struggles to climax. I think people would be fascinated, hell, some even titillated by sexy tales from a sub-culture that is usually considered absolutely sexless.
The topic of sex and disability is taboo. The only reason I might get away with writing about it is because I’ve had my own unique tribulations trying to tackle the tummy locker. For instance, there’s no greater turn on than pumping away, really gliding that schooner home to port, when suddenly a great, panic-inducing thoracic shut down has me going immediately soft and reduced to a clump of coughing, gagging, gasping purple. When I tell a girl what I like in bed, I make sure to include, ‘Being able to rub my back and run to get a glass of water while I fail to breathe, tears streaming down my face from the sheer shock of it all.’
It doesn’t matter much anyway, because one of the delightful side effects of cystic fibrosis is infertility. Even if I were to ride an oxygen bottle all the way to ejaculation, my payload would be a dud. On the up-side, in a stable long-term relationship I don’t need to worry about a condom to avoid accidents. On the down-side, it was my nana who took me to the fertility clinic to confirm I shoot blanks. It was really quite sweet. We both knew what was going on. At the desk, Nana helped me fill in the obvious bits of the form, then suddenly found an interesting magazine when I had to describe my sex life. Once I was ready, she checked to see if I was OK, then said she’d be just outside if I needed anything. I really, really doubted I would.
Why, like my sputum, aren’t these stories brought up more? Disease, death and decay are awkward subjects and though charities and not-for-profits try to raise awareness about the maladies themselves, they often struggle to fully humanise their clients. I think audiences love to hear about the disgusting, stupid, silly parts of sex. It’s funny and interesting and we feel that brief catharsis that comes from talking about something we all experience, but keep quiet. Add the extra dimension of cripples and the handicapped and you’ve got a warm, sad, but mostly funny perspective on a shared experience.
What part does a stump play in lovemaking?
If you can only feel one half of your body, can you only feel one half of your cock? Only feel one plip?
Does the location and size of the tumour dictate the sexual position?
These are questions I’d love to explore, because odds are you’ll either suffer some defect or be a carer for one at some point in your life. Wouldn’t you like to know what to look forward to?