End the Awkward: sex and disability

Video describing Five awkward things disabled people are tired of hearing about sex
Read transcript of Five awkward things disabled people are tired of hearing about sex video

Sex, dating and relationships

Loads of potential for awkward moments, right? 


When it comes to disabled people and sex and relationships, there are a few common myths and assumptions that can make things a bit awkward. Let’s get over it.

What not to do

“Can you have sex?”

This is one of the most common awkward moments! Just because someone’s disabled doesn’t mean you can ask about their sex lives as soon as you meet them. Start with something less exciting and get to know them as you would anyone else.

“Disabled people have relationships?”

Yup. Disabled people date, use Tinder, have relationships, have sex, get married, have children, all that. Many have partners who aren’t disabled. Some disabled people are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just like everyone else. 

“You’re too hot to be disabled”

This might sound like a compliment, but it’s really not. Don’t expect disabled people to look a certain way. Disabled people like to dress sharp and look good like everyone else.

Dating and disability

So, you’ve got this far. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dating a disabled person.

  • Check the bar, restaurant, cinema or wherever you’re going to is accessible. If your date uses a wheelchair and the place doesn’t have ramps or lifts, it might be tricky. Several websites give information on access at different places, such as Disabled Go.

  • Dating can be nerve-wracking. But don’t worry if you don’t know everything about your date’s impairments. Disability can be complicated and if your date needs some help they will probably ask. 

  • If you’re having trouble communicating with someone who’s deaf, or has a speech impairment, try and focus on the message instead of the medium. Use a pen and paper, tablet or your phone to write things down.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for things to be repeated or check that you’re understood.

  • ​Feel like you’re getting the brush-off? Consider your date’s impairment before you think it’s all over. Someone who’s hard of hearing might not have heard what you’ve said.

    Someone with a mental health problem might not want to see you for a period of time while going through a bad patch. Like any relationship, communication is key.

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