Disabled does not mean impotent

In a conservative society, with taboos around sex, this lack of communication doesn’t just affect the relationships of non-disabled people; couples where one partner is disabled also suffer.

A female acquaintance of mine recently told me about a friend of hers. This friend had asked whether it is possible for a disabled man to get an erection. She was asking whether disabled people have a sex life.

These questions are on a lot of people’s minds. They wouldn’t ask openly, yet they make their own weird assumptions. They think that disabled people do not have sex lives; some even think they shouldn’t in the first place.

The situation is so bad that every so often when a healthy man becomes disabled, his girlfriend or wife leaves him assuming he can no longer be sexually active. Just like that, without even talking about it. The relationship is over.

In a conservative society, with taboos around intimate topics such as sex, this lack of communication doesn’t just affect the relationships of non-disabled people; couples where one partner is disabled also suffer.

And it doesn’t matter whether it is a man or a woman; I know a lot of people facing these obstacles. They used to be perfectly healthy, and at some point as a result of an accident they became disabled. Once they became disabled, many of them were left their lovers, partners or spouses. All they heard was “you will never have sex, or a child for that matter, again.”

Although the main issue here is infidelity, the lack of public awareness also plays a role. Even though we live in the internet age, people do not want to learn about simple things. There is a lot of information about disability and the sexuality of people with disabilities online.  Perhaps if those partners who left had instead chosen to learn more about the situation, they might no be so quick to slam the door. At the least, leaving wouldn’t be such an easy thing to justify.

The issue is not just about love or sex. These sorts of break-ups leave children without a parent. They face new challenges – it isn’t only about having a disabled parent, but also about having a single parent. And so often among peers with ‘traditional’ families and parents, they might feel inferior or incomplete.

I also have physical limitations. My point is not to lecture you on sexual behaviors.  However, as someone with insider knowledge, I can tell you something. Sometimes the sex lives of people with disabilities is no different to any one else’s. Depending on their characters, openness to the world – it might even be better. For a good sex life, the harmony between two people is a lot more important than the physical capabilities of either of them. If they share this harmony and love, physical limitations shall bear no obstacles. They can even choose not to see it as a problem. Their love, desires and fantasies can only help. If love and harmony are not there, then physical limitations are just an excuse for an inevitable break-up.

A lot of Azerbaijanis consider Europeans to be ‘indecent’. However, those you call immoral see the decency not in between the legs but rather in devotion in such difficult moments. People who live free and full sexual lives are not looked down upon. However, those who leave their partners, lovers, spouses in such difficult moments are judged. Before labelling other nations immoral, first check on yourself; take a look at your own moral codes.

You care for the honor of your mothers and your sisters, and yet you sexually assault other women on the streets. You sing segahs, songs devoted to mothers, yet your own might be starving at the moment. Which one of you has taken his mother or father for a walk? Who regularly talks with their parents, spends time with them? Perhaps there are children who do that, but those are too often exceptional cases.

My dear friends with disabilities, I understand you. Your problems are countless. You now have a weaker nervous system. You are deprived of educational opportunities. You live in poor conditions. Your disability pension is inadequate. My point in writing all of this is to raise awareness of our issues. People are poorly informed about our problems. Due to this lack of awareness, they tend to avoid relationships with us. Let’s admit that a lot of our disabled friends have been left by their lovers and spouses due to their physical limitations. The goal of this article is both to show you some solidarity, and to open people’s eyes to what is going on around them.

Dear everyone, disability is not the same as impotence or a rejection of sexuality. Disability is simply a physical limitation in one way or another. It is not an end to love or sex.

The ideas expressed in the article are the author’s own; Meydan TV does not bear responsibility for them.

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