The term sexuality comprises questions around function, reproduction, relationships, self-esteem and body image; all of which can really impact a persons confidence. Sexuality is one of the main concerns people have after spinal cord injury yet many healthcare professionals may not broach the topic of sexuality during rehabilitation. Perhaps they feel the person may be coming to terms with quit alot in a short space of time during rehab and maybe the subject of sexuality can wait until a later stage which is fair enough.
I was single leaving the rehab hospital so I never got “that chat”. The first gp practise I visited after leaving rehab, I watched in horror as the doctor automatically put “n/a” through sexual health information as if I was a non-sexual being from here on. Perhaps he felt because I was not with a partner it was something I did not feel I needed to discuss at that time. Perhaps you really need to feel comfortable with a doctor who will “openly discuss” these topics in a non-judgemental manner.
Of course there’s no denying there has to be an additional element of trust and communication with your potential partner because you are in a more vulnerable place than you may have been before your injury.
How Has HAVING A DISABILITY IMPACTED MY DATING LIFE..
In the beginning, I avoided dating for a substantial time after acquiring my injury. Eventually, feeling abit bolder I tried some dating apps trying to get to get people to forget about the disability and focus on myself. To be honest everytime I felt like I was making progress, chatting to someone nice, they woud hit me with a whooper statement such as “So can you have sex or not?”.
Why are people so shocked that disabled people have the same sexual desires as them and have sex lives too. We are sitting down not dead!!!
It’s no different from being a woman without a disability. We are still human beings!!!
I think there is also an assumption that if you date someone with a disability, you will become their carer. In reality, this couldn’t be further from what I want as a young woman. I have carers and whilst a partner may do some aspects of care, I am such an independent person that I would always want to maintain a high level of independence as I imagine most people may want. I don’t want a career to mother me and treat me like I’m weak/sick…I want someone to laugh with, to give me a hug when I’m feeling down, to eat dinner with on the couch after a long day…
I am my own worst enemy because I am always putting up barriers to prevent the possibility of a relationship maybe because I’m afraid of feeling like a burden. I think there is always something bubbling underneath my stubborn surface, wondering whether or not this would be ‘fair’ to a partner.
But I think if you met someone who truely loved you and saw you for the wonderful, worthy human being that you are, they would not think twice about helping you with day to day living.