Dating disabilities

It can be all too easy to use your disability as a comfort-blanket by telling yourself you can’t chat someone up because you’re in a wheelchair – it may actually be because you, like many people, feel shy and need some tips on how to boost your pulling confidence. If you’ve been rejected before, it may make you afraid of making sexual approaches again for fear of facing more rejection.Tom Coogan, who has a curved spine, says: “I have lots of great female friends, but I’m very aware that to many of them I’m almost like a gay male friend and completely off the sexual radar.

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Even something as simple as wearing sexy underwear can give you a massive confidence boost.As Penny says: “Don’t let people’s prejudices stop you from trying and trying again.Countless numbers of disabled people have formed successful relationships, from quick shags to long-term bliss.” Taking the first step to leave the house and go and meet new people isn’t always easy.‘Dating and disability’ are two words that are rarely seen together: all too many people assume that just because someone is physically or mentally different, they lack the desire to fall in love or have sex.Sadly, we live in a culture in which pressure to be ‘perfect’ is rife, which can make it all too easy to believe that disability equals sexual exclusion.

Penny Pepper, author of Desires, an erotica anthology about disabled people, sex and relationships, says: “Disabled people are fed an idea of being inferior, especially by modern media, which values and reinforces artificially created ideas of physical perfection.But this also pushes the ‘able-bods’ to feel inferior with less-than-perfect eye candy on their arms!All this eats into our self-esteem and somehow, we have to remain confident regardless of whether we feel able to approach people.” Before you start dating, you need to make sure your head’s in the right place.Regardless of disability, starting a relationship when you feel rubbish about yourself may not be the best way forward.If you believe you’re inferior, you’ll be perceived that way: but if you think about what maintains a relationship after initial attraction, it’s more likely to be a great sense of humour, thoughtfulness or a sense of adventure, than a ‘perfect’ outer form.So don’t define yourself by your disability; it’s only one part of you.