I’ve said for years that disability and desire go together like oil and water, I’ve never felt ‘sexy’. Saying the word itself makes me cringe, and I don’t think I class myself as beautiful either – partly because, if you go round rating yourself as above average people will begin to hate you – and besides I’m not deluded, I’m no Jennifer Laurence.
The word Disabled, in it’s self doesn’t give you a image of desire, nor does it make you feel passionate. In the main, it’s a massive turn off, prompting pangs of panic and the inevitable stupid questions from the opposite sex. interest in romance is often non existent and when it is present, it comes with curiosity in the driving seat.
‘Can you feel your legs?’ and ‘Can you have Sex?’ are the most popular questions I get when blokes approach me. The answer is Yes, if your wondering.
Society has a very narrow view of what beauty is and what you should deem to be desirable. People like me, don’t fit in that category, when I was a kid there was no disabled people used in Television, Film or in Literature who are the romantic leads, people with affliction, illness or deformity have historically been seen as the villainous bad guys, No one has ever had a secret crush on a fictional disabled person or at least if they have, they would never admit it. Maybe this is the reason, I find it so hard to make myself appear alluring to the opposite sex, for years, it’s been a mythical unknown land and the thought of the differently able having a sexual appetite is, to many, a stomach churning thought, that others don’t wish to consider.
Disabled people should be the Baddies in Bond not the desirable forms in a Mills and Boon.
Sexy Sick Lit is a new literary genre and is written about women who have chronic illnesses such as Breast Cancer, MS and Parkinsons as well as Disability that features, content of a sexual nature often describing passionate encounters with able bodied people. It’s caused controversy, Many critics have called this the downward spiral of publishing, and parents are outraged at the content of such stories, with many worried about the effect it will have on teen readers, I can almost hear the cry of Helen Lovejoy from the Simpsons, screeching ‘won’t somebody think of the children!’ before I’ve even start to talk about this issue.
I am an advocate equality in all forms of our daily lives, disabled people have the same sexual desires and experiences as everyone else and like everyone else we have needs, I wish people would understand that just because we are unable in some aspects, we still have capacity to be passionate, sexual beings. I will be honest, there’s a bit of this Sexy Sick Lit that makes me feel weird.
Firstly the name of the genre is horrible, using the word ‘sick’ in anything in the traditional sense immediately makes people think ‘If people know I’m reading this stuff, they’ll think I’m a pervert’. Like its wrong and dirty.
It happens, get over yourselves, this is 2014. Sexy Sick Lit shouldn’t really exist as a genre, how about sticking disabled people, both Men and Women in the more socially acceptable Chick Lit, or Mills and Boon, in formats suitable for Teens and Adults.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to read a story about love that happens to feature one, or both of the characters that were disabled, not made out to sound like a freak show, but something that shows love as just that
Love in all of it’s glorious forms, that didn’t make the reader feel grubby and ashamed?
Maybe steps like this would begin to change perceptions of love, sex and disabilities in today’s society.