we’re in a mess, babe
your more is less, babe
– Ellie Goulding, ‘Under The Sheets’
People have asked me to write about sex. I haven’t because it’s very uncomfortable and I don’t really feel that it aligns with the purpose of this blog. I wanted to write not so much about personal experiences, but therapies and practices that are part of my rehabilitation. I aim to be more informative than personal, but I realize now that it’s something people want to know about. They are curious. I planned to write a list of facts concerning my abilities – given my limitations – but I recently had an experience that gave me a different way to frame a discussion about disability and sex.
I recently went on a date with someone with whom I didn’t click. He found me too quiet and closed (I was unwilling to open up to him) but later expressed that he was interested in a no strings attached sexual relationship with me because he found me attractive. If this had happened three or four years ago, I probably would have said yes and ‘gone with it’ because it was another step in a similar pattern: settling for what I believed I was worth. I briefly considered the possibility – particularly since I haven’t had sex in a long time – but I decided against it. I turned him down late at night and woke up the next morning believing that I was worth more than not only falling back into an old pattern, but engaging in an ultimately unhealthy relationship.
I know some people who can have healthy no strings attached sexual relationships, but I know myself and I know I’m not one of those people. After I had those kinds of relationships, I came to a point where I decided that – for my own emotional health – I would abstain from sex until I was in a committed and meaningful relationship. I knew that if I did sleep with the man who offered me casual sex, it would feel good in the moment but mean nothing to either of us, and I’d been through that enough to know it wasn’t worth it for me.
The bottom line is: yes, I can have sex. I am capable of sex and sexual relationships. I am somewhat limited because of my balance and flexibility, but sex isn’t impossible. I was extremely reluctant to write about it here because my sexual relationships and experiences have been unhealthy – as a result of my low self esteem – but I did want to go on the record and say it’s something I am capable of and is a part of my life.