Sex and disability25 November 2010
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS ADULT THEMES. SOME OF YOU MAY NOT WISH TO READ ON.
Lewis Rose is 23 years old and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. With a strong head and an artistic mind, he has some really inspiring and firm views on the relationship between sex and disability, and the taboo that surrounds it.
Sex is a very natural occurrence, and in the sexually rich environment, we now live in, sex is not hidden, it's totally at the forefront of our daily lives, mainly through the media and consumerist world, as we all know, ‘sex sells’…
As a sufferer of Duchene I’ve grown to accept the limitations caused by the disorder, however in terms of learning and socialising I’ve never let it get in the way.
I attended mainstream school, where I was effectively integrated, eventually achieving 10 GCSEs and 3 A-levels. My favoured subject was always Art and this interest has continued. I feel attending mainstream school was always the right choice as it helped me develop both academically and socially. I then went on to study Art at University, completing a Foundation course and then graduating with a BA Honours in Visual Arts at Birmingham City University.
My art itself has taken an interesting journey through a transition from traditional techniques when I was younger and more able, to a sole reliance on digital techniques. During the foundation course I became interested in digital photography which led me to discover further possibilities offered to me using a computer.
Art is very important to me and above all it gives me a purpose and the motivation to get up in the morning; this is what we all need in life. Having a passion or hobby really helps to keep your mind active and helps to divert some of the attention away from other things. I know if I didn’t have my art, I would spend too much time dwelling. It’s easy with Duchenne to sometimes feel like giving up but giving up is never an option.
From my experiences it still seems as many people still view the disabled as asexual, or at least people that don’t have similar needs. Obviously disabled people have different needs in so much that they need help to carry out tasks able-bodied people can perform easily; however I’m referring to the ‘core’ needs, one of which includes sexual needs.
For an able-bodied person dealing with sexual needs is a lot less problematic as it is something that can be done in their own privacy without others having to be involved, unless of course it is their partner, wife, girl/boyfriend, which ever the case may be.
However for a disabled individual that is totally reliant upon a carer due to the severity of their disability, being able to have sex or masturbate is very difficult and isn’t something that can be taken for granted.