Holy neurological breakthrough, Batman!
Let’s talk about sex, baby!
I have had several people ask me about my sex life or just gimpy sex in general. I thought it would be fun to answer them all in one monster post. I do think that I should warn you that I don’t have a filter and I’m pretty open about sex. If you are more modest then this may offend you. The following post will contain discussions about human anatomy, fetish, sex therapy, sex workers, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with any of this, then I understand and I will see you in the next post.
Do you have real sex with your husband? If so, how?
This was by far the most frequent question asked. I have to admit that I laughed at the “normal” part. I never really cared for “normal” anything, but I’m assuming they meant vaginal intercourse. I have had 4 vaginal surgeries so we couldn’t do it that way while I was recovering each time. There are other ways to be intimate and we took advantage of them all. When I am okay for intercourse, we do it like anyone who is able bodied. I can even get on top if I am careful and hang on to the headboard for leverage.
Do you still like sex? Isn’t it just numb?
The spinal cord is a funny thing. Someone can be paralysed or, in my case, have partial paralysis and still have quite a bit of feeling below their injury level. Many people can’t feel anything superficial, but feel deep pressure in the muscles underneath their skin. Some report that their nerves act strangely after. For example, someone could be touching their back, but they feel it in their butt. Others, like me, experience increased sensitivity and actually enjoy sex more after their injury.
Is there anything different that you have to do, medically or otherwise, to have sex?
For me, not really, but a lot of wheelchair users do have some special needs. Catheters are very common in the wheelchair community. I have a sacral nerve stimulator that helps to stimulate the nerves that empty my bladder, but not completely. I only need to cath 2x a day so I use a straight cath that is inserted to pee, then removed. For those of us who can’t pee on their own at all, many people use an implanted catheter which means that it stays in the bladder. A Foley catheter is inserted into the urethra and to have sex, a man can tape the tubing up the shaft of the penis and cover it with a condom. A woman can simply push the tubing to the side. This can be very uncomfortable so a supra pubic catheter (a surgically implanted device that accesses the bladder through the belly) is often used. Depending on the severity of the injury, men can have issues getting or maintaining an erection. Viagra and vibrators can help tremendously.
Can you recommend anything that could make sex easier for someone with poor mobility?
Sex swings are very helpful and a lot of fun. Many of us have a hydraulic lift that can used as a gimpy sex swing.
Sex furniture is very popular with able bodied people.
For those who have problems with movement, The Intimate Rider can assist with thrusting. It’s basically a sexy, gimpy rocking chair.
So does your husband have a fetish and that’s why he is still with you?
I won’t comment on my Hubby’s kinks in general, but I will say that he isn’t a devotee and he isn’t trolling the medical supply store for dates. A devotee is someone who has a fetish for disabled people. I’m fine with whatever happens as long as it is safe, sane, and consensual, but I do have an issue with using someone as a gimpy sex toy. Don’t use us as some weird bucket list item, but then refuse to date us. We’re people, not sex slaves on wheels.
The Happy Ending
This has become a ridiculously long post, but I think I covered most of the questions. I hope this is helpful for curious able bodied people, but also for wheelchair users who think they can’t have sex. Doctors and caregivers often overlook sexuality in the disabled. Many treat us like children which is very unfair. Sex and intimacy are an important part of relationships and life in general. I also wanted to note that I am not a doctor and this isn’t a replacement for medical advice. This is based on my friends and my experiences so other people do things differently.
What a great idea!
Parenting from a wheelchair can be challenging, but it is a privilege that a lot of people never get.
Celebrating can be an exciting part of growing up. I still feel nostalgic whenever I watch “A Christmas Story” or smell gingerbread. But for a kid with special needs holidays can be overwhelming or inaccessible.
I want to start a series on tips and tricks for modifying the normal traditions so they can be sensory friendly and accessible for everyone. Halloween is only a couple of weeks away and I want share some of the things that we do so N can enjoy the holiday, too.
Sensory Friendly Costume Ideas
Like many kids on the spectrum, N has problems finding normal clothes that feel comfortable to him. He currently wears ladies leggings because they are too big on him and fit like sleep pants. (Believe it or not, the school suspended him for “crossdressing” the first time he wore them. It’s a weird story of ignorance and foolishness that will get its own blog post later on.)
Because of his sensory issues, the costumes at Party City with hot polyester with itchy seams are out of the question. I like to sew, but most busy parents don’t have the time. Don’t worry — I have a few ideas that require little to no sewing.
- Try some PJ’s. Onsies are very popular right now and could be used as a head to toe costume. Even Walmart has superhero PJ’s with detachable capes.
- Sweatsuits are super comfy and can be decorated in minutes. You could add a cape and use fabric paint to make the logo for a superman costume. Sew or glue pompoms to the top and decorate the pants to create a gumball machine outfit. Here is a link to some great ideas that can be thrown together with a little fabric glue and paint.
- Try masks instead of face paint or just go without. Some kids can stand the feel of body paint, but like masks. Some can’t do either so the costumes themselves just have to do.
- Try wearing normal clothes underneath a costume. Some little ones are fine with the outerwear if the fabric that touches their skin is soft.
These can be lots of fun because you can turn the wheelchair into a prop and it’s great to have a “vehicle” to ride on instead of walking around the neighborhood. I usually end up with my own kid and a couple of hitchhikers before the night is over.
- Kids in powerchairs have an advantage because the only part that they need access to is the joystick. Cardboard or foamboard can be painted to look like the Batmobile or Cinderella’s carriage and strapped to the sides. There are so many ideas on Pinterest, but I really like this site:
- Manual wheelchairs can be a little tricky because you need to have access to the wheels. You can still decorate the back or the front as long as it doesn’t interfere with pushing the wheels.
- I usually use a manual chair, but I like to rent a powerchair or a scooter for the week of Halloween. It allows me to move around easier plus the weight limit is much higher. Last year I was a train conductor and I added wheels to 55 gallon totes so I could attach them as train cars. I had a baby in my lap, N plus two other kids on the back and hubby on the platform attachment. It’s not just the disabled children that get tired of walking; the little ones and lazy husbands need a break, too.
Next time, let’s tackle candy and other treats.
Like many people who have a chronic illness, I am always cold. Trying to stay warm in a wheelchair can be challenging. Coats can be bulky and hard to remove while seated. Blankets can get tangled in the wheels. I really envy those babies who are warm and cozy in their little car seat covers. I have yet to find one that is big enough to go over me and the wheelchair, but I do have some crafty solutions.
Modify your clothes so they are easier to use.
There are a few companies that make “wheelchair garments” but since they are speciality items, they can get rather pricey. I cheaped out and just cut my jacket down the back, then I added a couple of buttons at the top. Now it is much easier for my hubby to slip it off with me having to transfer.
Mermaids are warm and gorgeous
I’m sure you have seen all of the cute little mermaid tails that are so popular right now. Since they are more like a sack or cocoon, you don’t have to worry about it dragging the ground, falling off or getting tangled up in the wheels. There are plenty of patterns for making your own, but I just decided to wing it. I think it turned out well and it is really warm.
If you can’t crochet or sew, you could also make one using fleece and liquid stitch.
I also made one that looks like a slice of pizza, because I am completely ridiculous. I also think it is a good conversation piece particularly around kids who may be frightened by a wheelchair.
Always be yourself…unless you can be a Disney princess.
I came across this pattern on ravelry and I knew I had to have one.
I modified it so it is the perfect length and added a belt to keep it on my waistline. I also made a Cinderella wig to completely the look, because there is a fine line between eccentric and crazy which I like to play jump rope with.
I hope these ideas can help you stay warm and comfortable. For My able bodied friends — these would make great gifts for a loved one who is ill.
The medical applications of such a find are very promising. I’m not quite ready to sign up for brain manipulation, but I certainly appreciate Mickey Mouse’s sacrifice for science.
I loved Push Girls and I was so sorry to see it go off the air. As a wheelchair user, I feel that we are woefully underrepresented in the media and when we are, we are shown as victims. These women are anything but. They have relationships, jobs, friendships, families, hobbies, and ……sometimes they fight like the real Housewives. It’s a very authentic look at life as a paraplegic or quadriplegic without feeling like a documentary. I personally couldn’t relate to the Hollywood vibe or the abundance of assistive technology because of their money. However, I think we can all relate to the newly injured girl who still believes that it is temporary and that her parents will find the magic cure. My heart broke when one of the ladies said she got pregnant right after her injury and that she will always regret her abortion. I was so happy when the only quad who requires 24hr care got a sweet boyfriend who isn’t scared of her problems and actually enjoys taking care of her. It takes a special man to change a catheter. It’s still reality t.v. so there is still a lot of drama, but I like that it is there. It shows that we are not inspiration porn and can be capable of backstabbing, drama, and have sex with strangers just like able bodied people.