Accessing Sexuality-October 2013

Wow!  What an amazing response to the first column of SEXABILITY!  Last column, we talked a little bit about what you told us you wanted and started the conversation about sex!  We’d like to continue talking about sex and accessibility-or how in touch with (i.e., how much “access” we have to our own sexuality.)

You may be wondering what sexuality even is or if you can have sexuality without having sex!  Sexuality can include self-expression related to intimate interactions.  This can include the way you dress, the way you talk, the thoughts and feelings you have, your values & beliefs, curiosities and creativity and/or your behaviors.  You may not have any idea about what you want for yourself or you have some ideas but aren’t sure how to explore them-of if you even want to.  

Take a minute to think:  

Do I know what kinds of interests, if any, I have in sexuality and/or relationships?

What kind of sexuality education have I received? What is adequate? Do I still have questions?

Who am I able to talk to about sex and relationships?

Do I deny what I really want in a relationship and/or intimate experiences?

Am I afraid of being a sexual being?  Have I been told by others I shouldn’t have thoughts or behaviors about sex?

There is an outstanding lack of information and discussion about really positive and healthy sexual interests, including discussions for those who do not identify as a sexual being (i.e., asexual).  Have you ever just talked with a group of friends about what you are interested in, what you are curious about, what you like and what you don’t like?  

How does your disability affect your ideas about relationships and sexuality?  How are your ideas about relationships and sexuality independent from your disability?

Your sexuality is yours.  You have a right to be able to explore yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally as well as express yourself physically, emotionally and mentally-in ways that feel good to you.  You also have the right to choose not to!

Here are some resources to help you explore yourself!

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness

Miriam Kaufman, M.D. Cory Silverberg, Fran Odette

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability is the first complete sex guide for people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions. Useful for absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, the book addresses a wide range of disabilities — from chronic fatigue, back pain, and asthma to spinal cord injury, hearing and visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, and more. Expertly written by a medical doctor, a sex educator, and a disability activist, The Ultimate Guide provides readers with encouragement, support, and all the information they need to create a sex life that works for them. The authors cover all aspects of sex and disability, including building a positive sexual self-image; positions to minimize stress and maximize pleasure; dealing with fatigue or pain during sex; finding partners and talking with partners about sex and disability; adapting sex toys; and more.

Naked Brain Ink

Is a blog written by a female individual about “sex, love….and relationships from a unique autism perspective.”

What is a resource you would like to see in the next column of SEXABILITY?

If you are interested in writing a piece for this column, please let us know!  We’ll keep feedback confidential and anonymous.  We want student voices and if you want to submit a question, topic you’d like to read more about, suggest a name for the column or give us feedback, email Susann Sears. We’d love to hear from you!