On the first page of The Ultimate Guide to Sex & Disability, the reader is introduced to a list of myths that exist. I’m not going to address them in the order they were written in but, in order of how they resonate with my experiences. I’m a sexual person, who just happens to have this weird neurological disease that can act up out of the blue.
People living with disabilities and chronic illnesses are not desirable (p2 Kaufman, Odette, & Silverberg, 2003)
Please, please, listen to me when I say that this isn’t true! I know for almost two years, I was told no one else would ever want me, because they would have to deal with the MS (Multiple Sclerosis), too. Everyday that I listened to that sentence it reinforced that ideology to me. I seriously thought NO ONE else would ever want to be in a relationship with me again.
I believed it, because over the course of my 20 year relationship, I had gone from a cute bubbly girl, whose body could’ve inspired the writer of the song My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard, to a very pleasantly plump woman. I’ve had so many rounds of IV Solu-Medrol (Steroids), I think I lost count somewhere around fifteen times of 3x’s a day/1000mcg. While it wasn’t as bad the first or second times because I was younger & more active, I became greatly effected by the treatment with each round of Solu-Medrol.
I’m recently single, and you’ll never guess what I discovered….(in my Sally Fields voice): They like me, they really like me! Yep, there are people in this world who value the person as a whole, and not just for their physical attributes. In fact, I’ve been approached by so many people that I’ve felt overwhelmed, at times.
As I’ve gotten back into the dating scene, I’ve discovered that there are people who don’t mind if I need to use a walker, or motorized cart. They don’t care if it takes me a little longer to do things; one guy actually enjoyed assisting me. When we would walk up stairs, he would stand behind me in case my balance would become off. It turned into a game where he would feel my ass, at unexpected times.
I know, some of you are probably thinking that I just got lucky. Well, I will admit I have been really lucky. However, I’ve also been really honest. I learned early on in my days in the lifestyle , that honesty is one of the most important part of any relationship. When you’re dealing with kink, some of the activities can be effected if a person has a disability & doesn’t tell their partner(s).
As I end this piece, I want you to take with you the knowledge that my experience isn’t unique or lucky. I talked openly and honestly about the ways Multiple Sclerosis, could effect my relationships. I took a chance, and I discovered that there are a lot of people who don’t see Multiple Sclerosis, as something that lessens my appeal or desirability. When you find the right person, they won’t care that they may need to make modifications (such as knowing that when it’s a hundred degrees outside, it will take a major toll on someone with MS). They’ll know you’re worth it!
Kaufman, M., Odette, F., & Silverberg, C. (2003). The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness. San Francisco: Cleis Press.