|Where Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)|
|Chapter 9: Women with Disabilities|
|Sexuality and Sexual Health|
Many people believe that women with disabilities cannot have, or should not have, sexual feelings. They are not expected to want to have close, loving relationships or to become parents. But women with disabilities do have a desire for closeness and sexual relations just like anyone else.
¨ Be careful not to let other people take advantage of you. It can be difficult to protect yourself against violence and abuse.
If you were born with a disability, or it happened when you were very young, you may have a hard time believing you are sexually attractive. Talking with other women who have disabilities about their own fears, and how they overcame them, is often the best way to learn to feel differently about yourself. But remember to have patience. It takes time to change beliefs you have held for a long time.
If you are a woman with a new disability, you may already be used to thinking of yourself as a sexual person. But you may not realize that you can continue to enjoy sex. You may think you are not sexually attractive any more and feel sad that sex may be different now.
All women with disabilities can be helped by reading the same information about sexuality that women who are not disabled read. Try to talk about sexuality with them and with trusted teachers, health care workers, and other women with disabilities.
You and your partner will both need to experiment with how to please each other. For example, if you have no feeling in your hands or genitals, during sex you can find other body parts that will create sexual feeling, such as an ear, or breast, or neck. This can also help if a disability has made sex in the vagina uncomfortable. You can also try different positions, like lying on your side, or sitting on the edge of a chair If you and your partner can talk together honestly, a satisfying sexual relationship can happen. But remember that you do not have to settle for less than you would like. You do not have to have sex with someone who does not care about you.