Dr. Lee

PHILLIPS

2001 Richmond Highway Suite 1201 Arlington, VA 22202

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Sex and Disability: The Benefit of Sexual Pleasure

If we consider disability from a multiplicity of perspectives, both the importance and complexity of sexual expression of People with Disabilities (PWD) become more visible. The pleasurable aspect of sex in our culture has been largely ignored concerning PWD, particularly with gender minorities. The discussion of pleasure in populations such as women, older adults, large sized people, gay, lesbian, bisexual, gender nonconforming, and transgender individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in the medical and scientific literature. These disabled populations are not viewed as acceptable candidates for sexual pleasure.


When we do not include a discourse of pleasure, gender minorities with disabilities may perpetuate their asexual and victimization status. Negative sexual messages about gender minorities with disabilities fuel negative attitudes and misguided beliefs about sexual potential can take their toll on sexual self-esteem. Low sexual self-esteem combined with the likes of physical limitations, diminished sensation, lack of escalating arousal, difficulty with ejaculation, or difficulty with orgasm may make sex and sexual relationships seem pointless, and may reaffirm unexpressed beliefs of asexuality.


Sexual pleasure is critical to our lives. It is an affirmation of life. It is powerful in making one feel alive when so much of their life has been constricted with disability, pain, or illness. It can enhance an intimate relationship. Sexual pleasure can add a sense of connectedness to world and to each other to the world and to each other. It can heal a sense of emotional isolation PWD feel even though they are socially integrated. Sexual pleasure really is the anecdote to pain, both physical and emotional. #sexanddisability #chronicillness #chronicpain #sexualpleaure #genderminorities #sexualfreedom




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