I am in my early 20’s and I have almost no sexual experience. I have a degenerative illness that means I use a wheelchair. I’ve heard some comments over the years that have made me feel quite insecure. I don’t think people really see me as a sexual person - hence my lack of experience I guess.
I think other than the wheelchair thing I’m pretty normal looking and good company or whatever, I have guy friends. But I just don’t even know where to start with dating or sex. I know it might be more of a challenge for someone to be with me than to be with a non-disabled person but I also don’t want to be a 40 year old virgin. So what are your tips on life and sex and dating? Help a girl out. Thanks!
This is a great question. Firstly, you are not going to end up a 40-year-old virgin. (Not that there is nothing wrong with that.) You are very young - it may seem like everyone else are "doing it" but believe us, lots of folks have limited experience at your age. Lots, too, whatever their able-bodiedness, are not bounding about with sexual confidence - that tends to come with age and experience.
Unfortunately, we still live in a world that still seems to struggle with the sexuality of disabled people and it is clear that you have experienced some of this.
But that doesn’t mean no one wants to date you. There will be people who very much do - but just like everyone else - you need to get out there and find them!
The great news is there has never been a better time for any of us to do this.
You are not alone
There are specific sites for singles with disabilities and the brilliant Outsiders (a social, peer support & dating club), run by and for socially and physically disabled people. Or sign up for Tinder, OkCupid, or whatever app/site you feel most comfortable with - there is someone for everyone, and they are all on the internet somewhere...
Internet dating is supposed to be fun, but like all of us, you'll have to grow a protective shell and not take any swipe-lefts to heart. Remember: The world is not your senior school. Even those people will (hopefully) have grown up a little by now!
Sexual experience with other people might be a work in progress but sexual experience with yourself is something you can do right now!
Our advice is always to get to know your sexual self, before playing with others.
Yes, we're talking masturbation and there's lots of reasons why this is a great time for solo play.
You’ll feel more confident and enjoy partnered sex more if you've already explored what works for you. (And confidence is cited as one of the most desirable qualities in a person.)
Knowing how your body responds, the best positions for you, what you may find tiring or what thrills you to bits will also mean you can give pointers to future partners.
We don’t know how mobile you are, but you'll be able to find sex toys that work for you. For example, the Rocks-Off Ruby Glow Ride-On Clitoral Vibrator is designed so you can sit on it and enjoy the sensations hands-free. Also check out our list of sex toys for women with reduced mobility.
We also recommend the Ultimate Guide to Sex & Disability. This is a great practical guide to everything you might need to know about positions, toys, self-image and communication.
Last but certainly not least, check out Enhance the UK's Love Lounge, where you can get brilliant advice on love, sex and disability.
We haven't been able to cover all our tips on life, sex and dating, but we hope this advice helps you get out (and stay in) there!
Team Sh! xx