Since I was concerned about the snow, I remained in doors for most of today, and got some writing done. I also finally managed to see Becky Adams’ and Mik Scarlet’s appearance on ITV’s This Morning off YouTube.
I’ve always liked Mik Scarlet’s writing on disability, his blog is something that everyone who writes on disability should check out, he’s a really good writer and role model for me as a disabled person. When I (re)-started this blog a few weeks ago, I read a lot of his and Victoria Wright’s work http://www.victoriawright.net So really check him out, his article in Disability Now ‘Mik’s rough guide to pulling’ is very good.
On the issue of Para-Doxies we do part company though. Mik Scarlet was on the show, as the ‘no person’ with regards to Becky Adams’ Para-Doxies. As he writes in his blog, he has three reasons he is against the idea of Para-Doxies, the second of which is:
I am opposed as it causes issues for the way society thinks about disability. It not only effects disabled people but everyone. For disabled people, it means they grow up in an atmosphere that makes them believe that they just aren’t sexy or potential sexual partners and for the non-disabled community it plays a part in continuing the prejudice around disability.
I have a lot of sympathy for what Mik is saying here. My initial reaction was a concern that a ‘special needs brothel’ to borrow Mik’s own phrase legitimises the idea that disabled people aren’t sexy and never could be. Decades of the disability movement and we’re still trying to convince the Average Joe and indeed Josephine that we are human beings and we have sexual need, screw that!
But then I realised something. Society, unfortunately, already sees disabled people as asexual. Becky Adams or the idea of Para-Doxies did not create this perception, but Para-Doxies’ exists because of that perception.
If you grow up or become disabled so assured that the only way you’ll ever experience sex is to pay for it, then that is what you will do. Thus the need for this proposed service is fuelled by the attitude, so it becomes self fulfilling.
Again, I had this concern, and as a matter of fact I did grow up thinking that only way I’d experience sex was to pay for it. Para-Doxies wasn’t even a possible idea when I was growing up, and I thought that way, although I was wrong to do so. And if I can think that way without the existence of Para-Doxies, I feel that the concern that existence of Para-Doxies will further entrench such an erroneous way of thinking about ourselves as disabled people to be moot. At least with Para-Doxies those people who indeed cannot respond to their sexual needs can find some relief.
Like Mik, I could be described as being ‘lucky’ with my impairment. I can still walk, talk, do most things, I am married. Like him, my disability has affected my ability to have erections and act on what sexual desire I do experience. However, I am aware that other disabled people put simply, are not so lucky. I am sure they would prefer to have their sexual needs met within a loving relationship, but that is not always possible. My early sexual experiences were had at University, I had good friends, but some disabled people truly believe that nobody would want to touch them. As I was researching this blog post, I found this a comment on the BBC Ouch blog from 2008:
Well I haven’t had sex yet, but it wasn’t because nobody would want me. I have EDS, and allthough I use a wheelchair, I look pretty normal. And I’m very flexible 😉
In fact, most guys don’t believe I’m disabled at all, they think I’m too pretty to have anything wrong with me. So I think, that if I really wanted to, I could have sex with someone who really doesn’t want to with a disabled person. But why would I want to with someone that narrowminded?
I don’t mind saying when I read that comment, I was close to tears, Para-Doxies didn’t create this perception ‘fatalefem’ came to that conclusion all by themselves, written in 2008 it was a Para-Doxies-less world in which he wrote these sentences. Whilst he may choose not use the services of Para-Doxies, he hopefully is in a loving relationship; I’d like to think so. But if he isn’t, or feels he will never be able to, then, there is Para-Doxies.