It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SEX: The Elephant in the Room

Over the last 8 months that I have been blogging here there has been a fair amount of discussion on sex, as there should be. Everyone loves good sex, don't they? But no one ever wants to talk about sex. In fact I just took my final exam for adolescent psyc, where of course there were questions about sex. How are young adolescents exposed to sexual information? Their friends--other 12yos. What does a 12yo know about sex? Nothing really. Where do those friends get the information that they get? 15 yo siblings/friends. 15 yos may very well be having sex, but do they really know anything about healthy, safe sexual relationships? I highly doubt it. In my opinion, the ones who do are the ones that at least wait until college to have sex. They're the smart ones. Pregnancy, STIs, they don't seem like they'd be much fun. Where are parents and/or other adult role models?

Add disability into the mix, and life becomes tragic. To me at least. I've been bipolar for the last 8 years. Love my meds, but I only got those this last winter. Most of the time I've been depressed. Usually just a little depressed, but I've had my share of bad episodes as well. Why am I depressed? SEX. On the list of things that make me depressed, sex would be #2. Sex on rare occasion has increased my level of depression pretty drastically. Well, not sex, I'm misstating myself a bit. Desirability. I wasn't interested in sex at that time, I just wanted to be sexy is all. And what is wrong with a 16 yo wanting to be sexy? Nothing. It's perfectly healthy. I hope to work with teens who have complex medical needs. If one of them comes to me and isn't experiencing the same issues I did, that's when I'll get worried.

I wrote another post about sex back in January. In it I spoke a little about not feeling desirable because of my intense belief that all guys would perceive me as a huge burden. What 16yo AB boy would ever be caught dead with a 16yo gimpy girl? And forget about finding a crip, there was no way I'd even consider doing that. This is the biggest load of crap, but I walked around with it floating around in the back of my head for years. That'll make somebody depressed. It's ableism at it's finest, and I have peer reviewed journal articles to prove it.

Your final paper in Research Methods in Family Studies has to be on domestic abuse. It is a much wider topic then you think at first glance. There were 14 people in the class, and I don't think anybody had the same focus. My paper was on physical and sexual abuse of woman with disabilities of course. An estimated 25-33% of AB woman are abused while an estimated 40something- 60something or 70ish% percent of disabled women are abused. That's double. It's a very serious problem. There are several reasons. I turned in that paper over a year ago, let me see if I can remember.

  • Lack of suitable PCAs. Some PCAs demand sexual favors in order to help you shower or whatnot. Or PCAs or family members caring for you start to burn out and take it out on you. They beat you. And if you can't shower or even get out of bed by yourself, what are you going to do? You're going to take it. I've heard enough griping on here about people's PCA issues. If you fire one it's going to take effort to replace him/her. Another reason to stay with abusers is our lack of financial security. At least 70% of working-age PWDs are below the poverty line. If your dad's hitting you but he makes a 6 figure salary and you're on SSI, are you really going to leave?
  • Lack of education. This refers to general education, sex education, and cognitive levels. People don't put disability in the same sentence with sex. We don't get taught about sex because we shouldn't be having sex. In terms of cognitive levels, you might just not know that being molested is wrong. You might think that's what people do. People who have higher cognitive levels are much more likely to pick up on this whether or not they have received the best sex ed.
  • I'm not sure if there was another reason,or if I combined reasons. I'll have to look at my old stuff. The last reason, the overwhelmingly highest predictor of partner abuse according to my research, was socital devaluation. Just plan old ableism. I'll stay with this guy because if I leave him I'll be all alone. Who would want me? I don't deserve anything better then this scum, so I'll take it. He's all I can get.You, me, and plenty of women in the 5 studies I read will all admit to it. There's a reason that this article is on this site. I'm glad I value myself more now.

I started this post in response to the article posted yesterday, but have decided to respond to all 3 news articles floating around this site:

Is it OK for Disabled People to go to Brothels?
School Helps Disabled Teens Find Love & Sex
Hospice Helped Man With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Lose His Virginity

Here's a question, all 3 of these articles are from British news. Why are the British so much more open about dealing with issues related to sex? Why aren't Americans or Canadians tackling these issues as well?

The article from yesterday hit a bit of a nerve with me. Then I remembered the other articles. I just don't agree with PWDs going to prostitutes. If you're competent enough and have the capacity to make decisions of this nature for yourself, save your money, go find a good shrink and a sex therapist and deal with all of that negative self-talk in your head. Then go out and get a date. I know, there are some people on here who are thinking I'm from mars. It is just not that easy. No, no it's not. I'm 23 and I haven't gone on a date yet, never had my first kiss. Residual effects of spending adolescence feeling awful. Right now though I could care less. All I want more then anything in life is to pass my 50hr placement this time. Then I'll go out and find my mid-20s Jewish uppity crip (specific aren't I?) and have my way with him. After I pass my placement.

But I digress. What got to me was that Nick Wallis is only 22. What does it say about society that people give up that young? That they think their lives are that hopeless? "It was not emotionally fulfilling, but the lady was very pleasant and very understanding. I do not know whether I would do it again. I would much rather find a girlfriend, but I have to be realistic." Doesn't that say it all? I want to have sex. I have wanted to have sex for some time. But I am not going to pay someone in order to have some. I'm worth more then that. I will find my Jewish uppity crip eventually and then things will go however they go.

I sent the link to my adviser yesterday. She hasn't answered me yet, and there is a decent chance that she won't, that my question to her was crossing some sort of boundary. I tried to phrase it professionally being that this is my area of interest career wise and she has experience working with children/teens with chronic medical needs. "Wondering not what you think about this, but rather what you think can be done about this... Self esteem is a big issue with teens with chronic medical needs I think.... So the question is, how to work with teens so that they aren't getting depressed? ... I think [teen self-esteem/sexuality is] a major problem that needs some serious attention." Disabled teens I mean.

I do applaud the staff at Treloar's College for instituting the policy that they did. Can't we have more of that? I think, personally, that it would go a long way towards solving the problem.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I never considered before that my lack of a boyfriend until I was twenty four had anything to do with my disablity. I think it had a lot to do with social anxiety. I disagree with your position that disabled persons shouldn't see sex workers if they want. People see them for a multitude of reasons. Some people may not want a partner, but they still want sex. Also, some might want sex with someone they pay until they get the skills to have a relationship, or they could want some comfort. We do the best we can and there are different solutions to problems for everyone. BTW, for everyone who doesn't have the pleasure to know Cheryl she is very sexy. She has a beautiful waist, a very pretty face, and she is right about her waddle even though I would describe it as a her gait. It is adorable (I am twenty years older than her. That could be why adorable is my favorite adjective for her.) I just wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong impression of her from her descriptions of herself, which can be less than favorable.

Cheryl said...

First off, social anxiety is a facet of your disabilities, and second, as I said, this was written in 2008. What I didn't say was that I was going through a really bad depressive episode when I wrote it.

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