Are you wondering if people in wheelchairs or people with disabilities can have sex?
Then you’ve found the right place to learn about sex and disability!
Just keep on reading!
READ MORE: Best Light Weight Manual Wheelchairs
Can People in Wheelchairs Have Sex?
Being disabled might change every aspect of your everyday life but doesn’t make regular human needs and instincts disappear.
One of these needs is sex, of course.
But it’s such a taboo topic many people feel embarrassed to talk about it or ask questions in face-to-face communication. Even people with disabilities might be shy to ask their doctor or physician about it!
So, can people in wheelchairs have sex? The short answer is yes – they can have an active sex life despite their physical disability.
However, their sexual functions might be affected by their type of disability or level of injury.
Since you probably want the long answer, we’re going to talk in detail about how paralysis affects men and women’s sexual life.
But first, let’s bust some of the most common misconceptions about people in wheelchairs and their sex life!
Just a quick note: this post includes some affiliate links to recommended products. If you buy through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
5 Myths About Sex and Disability
Most people relate sex and sexuality to the physical act of intercourse. That’s one of the reasons people think they might never have sex again after serious spinal cord injuries (SCI) or trauma.
But sexuality is also about intimacy, desire, body image, and being close to the person you love.
There are many ways people in wheelchairs can have a healthy sex life even when some sex positions are painful or impossible.
If you are a person in a wheelchair, dating someone in a wheelchair, or just curious, don’t listen to these common misconceptions!
#1 People with Disabilities Aren’t Asexual
One of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard is that disabled people can’t feel pleasure or that they’re asexual.
Being in a wheelchair due to an SCI can affect a person’s ability to experience sexual pleasure, depending on the level of injury.
But it doesn’t diminish a person’s sexual drive or desire to have an intimate relationship with their partner. It just complicates things.
Moreover, people with disabilities aren’t childlike. They have the same feelings, needs, and sexual urges as any adult able-bodied human.
Relationships, one-night stands, friends with benefits – people with disabilities practice most sexual-related activities regular people do and have active sex lives despite their physical disability!
#2 People in Wheelchairs Don’t Have Sex with Disabled People Only
Many people believe that people in wheelchairs can date or have a sexual relationship only with other disabled people.
However, people who use wheelchairs are not supposed to interact with other wheelchair-bound or disabled people only.
It’s all about chemistry and preference and not about what kind of disability a person has.
Many able-bodied people have partners who are in wheelchairs or have a disability. According to their experiences, both sides are fully satisfied with the quality of their sex life.
Indeed, some wheelchair-bound persons feel more comfortable being in romantic relationships or having sex with others in the same situation.
But they can have able-bodied sexual partners or date people without disabilities. It’s up to them and what they enjoy!
#3 People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Sex
As I already said, sex is more than the physical act of penetration, and the human body is nothing but adaptable.
So, even when a person is paralyzed or disabled, they can enjoy sexual activities and feel pleasure!
Many women with SCI achieve orgasm, despite the severity of their injuries. Men can also experience pleasure, even if they aren’t capable of ejaculations or maintaining an erection.
The erogenous zones aren’t limited to the genital area. All you have to do is work out what works for you and what makes you feel good.
#4 People in Wheelchairs Are Sexy
People say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and they’re right. What’s sexy to one might seem bland and boring to another.
Moreover, attraction is not all about a person’s appearance. Intellect and personality also determine how well you click with someone.
So, people in wheelchairs can be sexy, and it’s not weird to feel attracted to them.
#5 People in Wheelchairs Can Have Sex in Many Forms
Just like with people without disabilities, penetration is only one of the ways to experience sex when you’re in a wheelchair.
Besides vaginal or anal intercourse, people in wheelchairs might practice oral sex, mutual masturbation, fingering, and handjobs.
When penetrative sex isn’t an option, disabled people might enjoy other sexual activities or experiment with sex toys and sexual devices.
Can Paraplegics/Quadrapegics Have Sex?
Paraplegia results in motor or sensory impairment of the lower extremities and affects some of the main body functions below or at the level of injury.
On the other hand, quadriplegia is a condition that paralyzes one’s whole body partially or fully.
Both conditions are related to spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, or an injury to the neck area. Some diseases might also lead to full or partial paralysis of the limbs.
No matter the cause, loss of mobility changes how the bladder and bowel function and might disrupt a person’s sexual abilities.
Since spinal cord injuries are the most common cause of paralysis, we’re going to talk about how it affects sexual functions in different manners.
How Does SCI Affect Men Sexual Function?
Often believe that men paralyzed below the waist can’t have sex because they might not maintain an erection. But it all depends on what’s how severe the spinal cord injuries are.
Some paraplegic men might not achieve an erection just by thinking about arousing sights and sounds (psychogenic erections).
That’s because injuries about the T11 prevent the brain messages from reaching their destination and produce the necessary body response.
Fortunately, most paraplegic men can get an erection through physical touch and stimulations (reflex erections).
Changing a catheter, washing the genital area, or putting on clothes can be enough to trigger a reaction.
Most paraplegic men might also get spontaneous/night erection at night or early morning. If these last long enough, they can be useful in the bedroom.
Moreover, there are ways to get and maintain an erection, including construction bands, vacuum erection devices, medications, penile injection therapy, and more.
Unfortunately, very few men with severe SCI can have ejaculations. But they still can have a satisfying sexual experience.
How Does SCI Affect Women Sexual Function?
It’s slightly easy for paraplegic women to have sex, but females also experience changes in sensation and the ability to achieve orgasm.
Since their vaginal area might not lubricate enough or take longer to achieve sufficient lubrication, women might have to use water-based or silicone lubricant.
Using lubricants also makes intercourse more pleasurable and painless and prevents vaginal irritation and friction injuries. Don’t use oil-based lubricants because they can cause bacterial vaginal infections.
For women in wheelchairs, having an orgasm is not compulsory, but it still can spoil sexual intercourse to a great extent.
But according to studies, a large percentage of women with SCI achieve orgasms. However, they might need more foreplay to reach climax than before.
Actually, most female paraplegics worry more about whether they would be able to have children.
Fortunately, a spinal cord injury doesn’t affect a woman’s child-bearing abilities, and the pregnancy rates are the same as non-disabled women.
Paraplegic women also have their menstrual period, even if it disappears for a couple of months after the injury.
It is important to remember that while paraplegia paralyzes one’s lower limbs and disables some of the body functions, it still leaves you space for physical pleasures.
If you are willing to experiment a bit and explore your body functions after the injury, there is a great chance you will have a more than rewarding sex life afterward.
Is It Possible to Have Sex As a Quadriplegic?
If you’ve watched the 2016 romantic drama Me Before You, you might believe that having a fulfilling sexual life or good quality of life is impossible as a quadriplegic.
People with quadriplegia usually lose both control and sensation, which might seem like a great obstacle to sexual activities.
However, many sex specialists pointed out that sexual pleasure and having sex is doable for people with quadriplegia.
It might not be easy and might take time to rediscover pleasurable feelings, but it’s not out of the picture completely!
Unfortunately, most patients give up on sex after severe spinal cord or neck injury because they can’t masturbate or experience the same level of orgasm and pleasure.
However, men with quadriplegia have reflex erections (their genitals react to physical touch and stimulation).
While some erections might not last long or produce a rigid penis, it’s possible to have sex with a little imagination and bravery to experiment.
For women, stimulating the G-spot might actually reduce pain and spasticity!
The important thing is to have the right attitude. Believing that sex is impossible if paralyzed can have an adverse effect on human sexuality and block a person’s ability to feel pleasure!
5 Sex Positions For People with Disabilities
As we already pointed out, people with disabilities aren’t asexual because they don’t have full use of their hands, legs, and hips.
It’s all about being open-minded about the positions you try in bed. These modified sex positions can help most disabled people enjoy intercourse just like non-disabled people do.
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#1 Modified Doggy Style
Doggy style is not reserved for regular people only, and a wheelchair can be a piece of adaptive equipment:
- The disabled partner moves the wheelchair close to the bed’s edge.
- The able-bodied person gets on top of their partner with their face facing the bed and the back facing their partner’s stomach.
- Use pillows placed in strategic places to make the position more comfortable
This position requires the receiver to be more active here, so it’s suitable for a wide range of disabilities. It’s also an excellent choice for people with hip pain.
#2 Modified Missionary
The classic missionary position can be easily modified for a disabled person. It works great for couples in which one partner is able-bodied, and the other has limited mobility:
- The disabled partner should lay with their hips on the bed’s edge of the bed.
- The non-disabled person moves between their partner’s legs and positions the ankles to rest on their shoulders.
Wheelchair users appreciate this position, as it excludes the wheelchair and makes them feel more relaxed for the intercourse.
Another position for people with disabilities is spooning. It’s a simple one but keeps both partners comfortable and allows for some freedom in bed:
- The disabled person lies on their side, while their non-disabled partner snuggles close to them from behind.
- This position allows both parties to use their hands to stimulate the sensitive parts of the body sexually.
#4 Oral Sex
Oral sex can be a great way to give pleasure to your partner or spouse. One way to do it is for your partner to lie on the bed with half their lower part in your lap or over your shoulder.
If this position is not comfortable, your disabled partner can roll over on the side, which gives you access without you having to maintain an uncomfortable pose.
This sex position is also a great choice for people with spasticity in the legs and hips.
Sex doesn’t always include another person. Sometimes you want to take your time to play with some sex toys and explore your sexuality.
Some wheelchair-bound persons also lack confidence because of their inability to participate in intercourse fully. In such cases, masturbating or using toys seems way easier.
Once you get more comfortable with yourself, you will be much more open to exploring new aspects of sexuality with your partner.
5 Tips on Having a Relationship/Dating When Disabled
Finally, allow us to give you some tips on managing dating and relationships when disabled. We know how hard it is to how much bravery it takes to face the world.
#1 Communication Is Crucial
It’s normal to have fears that you won’t enjoy sex again or that you won’t be able to satisfy your partner. But living with a disability shouldn’t stop you from trying new things or make you swear off intimacy.
Remember that communication, understanding, and creativity are the keys to a successful relationship.
You and your partner should openly talk about your sex life without embarrassment to find what works best for both of you.
Share your fears and feelings so that you can find a solution. Be honest to receive honesty in return.
Different positions, toys, cushions, kinky, bondage – discuss with your partner and do whatever you like. Don’t be ashamed if it feels right.
If you have a power chair that raises and tilts your legs, many things can be done. Turn your disability into an advantage, and don’t let it stop you from enjoying yourself.
#2 Don’t Be Afraid to Date
Let’s be honest. Dating is a challenge both for non-disabled and disabled people, even though it is difficult in different ways.
It takes time to find someone who you like and even more time to find someone who likes you back, too. Sometimes you might feel that you’ll never meet your soulmate.
Don’t let such feelings discourage you.
Many couples have one partner, or both are disabled, and they have figured out a way to be with each other.
You can find your potential life partner through online dating, friends, or social media. But you have to brave enough to try disabled dating.
#3 Don’t Explain Yourself
Some people always have something to say about relationships and often don’t realize how much they hurt others with their words.
Some would think your partner is a hero if he/she is with a disabled person. Others would say only a pervert could date a person in a wheelchair.
You don’t owe an explanation to anyone that asks about your situation in the bedroom. Remain silent or make it clear to the other person that they’re crossing a line.
#4 Never Lower Your Standards
When you have a disability, it might be tempting to settle for the first person that pays you attention. However, don’t lower your standards just because you’ve got a disability or are in a wheelchair.
Find someone that makes you feel good about yourself and doesn’t care that much about your disability. Remember that you have a lot to offer, and if someone doesn’t want to date you, it’s their loss, not yours.
#5 Have Fun!
Dating should be fun, not something that feels like a chore or a responsibility. If you don’t feel ready to get back on the “horse,” don’t let anyone pressure you.
But don’t close yourself to other people because of your disability. Try to have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Can People in Wheelchairs Have Sex – A Quick Recap
Disabled people have sexual urges as non-disabled humans and can have sex, even if things are a bit complicated for them.
But lots of people in wheelchairs are married, have partners and kids. They can experience sexual pleasure and have fulfilling sexual experiences.
It just takes a bit more planning in the bedroom and rediscovering what works and doesn’t work for you. Open-mindedness and willingness to experiment also can help you have a healthy sex life.
Looking for a wheelchair that will give you the range of motion you need for a satisfying sex life? With its reclining back, high-density foam seat, and unique suspension system, the Merits Gemini Power Wheelchair is a stellar option.
What do you think about this topic? Please share your experience with us in the comment section, and don’t be shy!
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years. Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.