How to Have Great Sex with Limited Mobility

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Justin Lehmiller (Social Psychologist) wrote this article.

It is an issue that is rarely discussed: Sex and disability. It is rarely—if ever—addressed in sex education courses, and few doctors are comfortable talking about sexual issues with disabled patients. 

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The reason is that disabled people are a large part of this. Often stereotyped as an asexual. This is because people are more likely to have Rather narrow and heteronormative views about what “counts” as sex, often defining it strictly as penile-vaginal intercourse—but it’s also due to a lack of education and awareness.  

It’s important for us to start talking more openly about sex and disability for multiple reasons. First, there are many disabilities. Actually, One in four adults in the United States is a woman One in seven people has some type of disability. 

Second, any person who lives long enough may develop a disability. This can be caused by age-related changes, chronic illnesses, or accidents. Even if you’re able-bodied now, having a better understanding of disabled sex will help you to more successfully navigate your intimate life in the future. 

Third, sex can be good for your health. Both physically and psychologically. It’s a form of exercise that can improve mood, enhance our sense of meaning in life, and deepen the connection we have with our partners. It is wrong to deny anyone the pleasures and benefits that sex brings simply because they are disabled.

In this article we’re going to explore sexuality and disability in the context of wheelchair users and answer some of the most common questions people have about this. You can also find sexuality resources that address other forms limited mobility, such arthritis or chronic back pain. This article

What is the best way for people with disabilities to have sex?

A lot of people mistakenly assume that if you’re in a wheelchair, whatever is between your legs necessarily doesn’t work; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s important to recognize that the reasons people use wheelchairs are many and varied, so don’t make assumptions about what someone in a wheelchair is or is not physically capable of or what they enjoy in bed. 

“There are so many sexual assumptions people have about the disabled body that are entirely inaccurate,” says Andrew Gurza, a disability awareness consultant and host of the Disability After Dark podcast. “Some people with paralysis do have function of the genitals, some do not. Even if their genitalia doesn’t work in conventional ways, that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying themselves.”

What this means is that persons with limited mobility might engage in vaginal and/or anal intercourse, oral sex, or anything else that’s on the menu for able-bodied persons, from using sex toys to kink/BDSM. Others might not have intercourse, but there are still other options. 

Whether your partner is able-bodied or disabled, don’t make assumptions—instead, communicate. Ask each other about your sexual wants, needs, and boundaries—and be sure to listen. 

“What people should be asking is, ‘How does sex and disability feel?’ This gives the disabled person the opportunity to share with you so much more than just the mechanics,” says Gurza.

Sex positions for wheelchair users

A lot of people might assume that a wheelchair necessarily limits the positions you can try during sex, but that’s false. A wheelchair can actually lend itself quite well to modified versions of a number of “classic” sex positions. 

It is important to consider whether either one or both of you have disabilities. Also, what type of disability it is and how comfortable and preferred the partners are. Some people may prefer to sex in their chairs, while others may prefer to lie down on the bed. 

It’s therefore a Very It is difficult to create a complete guide to wheelchair sex. 

  • Oral sex. A wheelchair-bound person can give and receive sexual stimulation from this position. If you place the chair on the bed, and your partner is seated there, it can be a good position to provide both manual and oral stimulation. A partner can also position their legs so that they receive oral stimulation from the partner who is sitting in a chair.
  • Intercourse between two people, face to face or seated. For interabled Couples (couples in which one of the partners has a disability and the other doesn’t) can sometimes be in a very advantageous position. The able-bodied partner sits on the partner’s lap and straddles them. This may allow for comfortable penetration, while also offering the intimacy of being able to look into each other’s eyes.
  • Doggy style: Seated. In a wheelchair, it is possible to do a variant of the doggystyle. The able-bodied partner can stand at the edge of the bed—facing toward it—and lower down onto their partner’s lap, using the bed for support. 

It’s also possible to adjust to different positions in a chair, such reverse cowboy/cowgirl, and to move to the bed to experience other positions, like missionary-style sex, or 69. The key to success is communication. However, it’s also important to experiment, explore, and find what works for you and your partner.

“I think you have to have a larger conversation with partners about what your access needs are, what you can and can’t do,” says Gurza. “Talk about what you want to do, but also dive into why that may not be accessible. Open to the possibility of sex that requires slings or wheelchairs, walkers, pillows, and other assistive devices. You might be surprised at how different it is from what you imagined. Check in on your partner’s disability status during sex.”

People with limited mobility can still enjoy sex

When one is limited in mobility, creativity and adaptability are key to having sex with someone you love. As disabled people often adapt their daily lives to accommodate their needs, so too should their sex lives. There’s nothing wrong with that either. There isn’t just one “right” or “correct” way to have sex.

Disabled sex necessitates dismantling traditional and heteronormative notions of what “sex” means and taking a more expansive view. “I think that being disabled allows someone to open their borders on what sex is supposed to be,” says Gurza. “A lot of the definitions available as to what sex should be are ableist, and downright inaccessible. A disabled person ought to define sex as whatever feels pleasurable and accessible to their disabled bodies.”

Put another way, sex can be anything you want it to be—and that’s an important lesson for everyone to learn, regardless of your ability status. Sex doesn’t have to look a certain way, and it doesn’t have to follow a certain script. It is possible to customize it for your body according to what is both practical and enjoyable. 

Intercourse may or may not be involved in disabled sex. It can be plain or kinky. It could involve a couple or a trio or group. You might also find role-playing, sex toys or other novelty activities. As disabled people have many options for having sex, just as able-bodied individuals do. 

Sex and disability is a topic that has been on the margins for far too long—and we all stand to benefit from talking about it openly and incorporating it into sex education.




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