When you work in sex and disability as a disabled educator, you get used to answering the same old questions about sex: “How do you have sex?” “Do your genitals work?” etc. You're asked these questions SO MUCH that you craft quick and witty soundbytes responses. Question: “Do your genitals work?” Answer: “Why don’t you see me later and find out?” *wink*. I know how to answer these questions and how to make sex and disability something that is digestible for a non-disabled audience. I can answer these questions in my sleep.
When I was asked to answer questions for our upcoming Handi Book , I was absolutely stumped. These were questions that I had never, ever been asked about my sexuality and its relationship to my disabled body. Usually, I would rattle off a witty retort and be done, but these questions forced me to pause and really reflect on my sexuality and my disability. For instance, I had never been asked if "I experienced grief and loss with respect to my disability and sexuality", and when that question came across my screen my feelings flooded out. I had so much that I needed to say.
I had never been asked “What is the sexiest thing anyone has said to you about your disability?” I was in shock, and I work on the Handi team! I realized that these questions will change the landscape of sex and disability because they will shine a light on the fact that disabled people are not one dimensional when it comes to sex - they are fully formed, complex, complicated and real.
Answering the questions also made me proud. I was so excited to share my story with people, and to put my disability truths, some of which I had hidden away deep within myself, on paper for others to read. Knowing that these kinds of questions were going to be out there in a book gave me a sense of hope and excitement that the next generation of disabled teenagers and adults, as well as the next generation of sex educators, would have something that really spoke to their experiences, and that went far deeper than any current resource out there.
Knowing how confronting this was for me, I thank every other contributor for bravely going through the same exercise and laying themselves bare.