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Sex and statistics

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Vaughan | 10:13 UK time, Monday, 27 October 2008

It's Monday morning, and there's a long week ahead of us. So let's talk about sex.

Ahem. Maybe I should rephrase that. I'm not just being salacious, I'm actually referring to the results, published over the weekend, of The Observer's 2008 Sex Poll, which includes some very interesting statistics about attitudes to sex and disability.

A sample of 1,044 UK adults aged 16-plus were interviewed in September 2008. Of these, 70%. One of the questions they were asked was: Have you ever had sex with someone with a physical disability?

- 70% said No, and I don't think I would.
- 26% said No, but I would not rule it out.
- 4% said Yes

Oh, and men are slightly more likely than women to rule out the possibility.

The question is, Ouchers: do these figures seem to reflect your own personal experiences?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Well I haven't had sex yet, but it wasn't because nobody would want me. I have EDS, and allthough I use a wheelchair, I look pretty normal. And I'm very flexible ;)

    In fact, most guys don't believe I'm disabled at all, they think I'm too pretty to have anything wrong with me. So I think, that if I really wanted to, I could have sex with someone who really doesn't want to with a disabled person.
    But why would I want to with someone that narrowminded?

  • Comment number 2.

    What an unfair question.

    Surely the response must depend llargely on what the responder considers to be a disability.

    For example some people might take it in the context of the question as meaning someone incapable of performing fully in sex.

    Would a blind or deaf person count? After all they could be just as adapt in most cases sexually. What about someone with a missing foot, a leg, a paraplegic? Where is the line drawn, it certainly wouldnt be the same for everyone.

    And is it as simple as saying that they don't want to? I would say not, in most cases it is more likley to be a fear of what it would be like. Or even more likely that they have never though of it and the fact that it could be so variable due to the disability mean that it is too much to thin about seriously when filling in a throwaway newspaper survey.

    Lastly we are talking about sex here and again it depends on interperatation as to what the question is asking. When you ask would you have sex with... most people think in terms of the act alone, a one night stand type situation, thus they would answer yes to someone and no to others. Yet in terms of who they would perhaps have a relationship with and then have sex as a result of that it would be very different. Many would say yes to a woman for a one night no strings attached encounter but would never consider a relationship with them due to incompatabilities. Likewise someone with an obvious disability might not be the first choice for the one night but that doesn't mean that a relationship could not happen on a mroe long term basis.

    The very fact that only 4% said that they have done so is a reflection on how people lack understanding of disabilities. 4% is stunningly low, most likely because most people either do not notice a disability at that point or do not consider it a hindrence so have not counted it. Again it comes down to interperatation.

    Now if it was more detailed and named certain disabilities then you would get a much more accurate (and I feel much less weighted towards No) result.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yeah, I must admit that if I had read the question somewhere else first, I would probably have thought about having sex with someone who is hardly able to move a limb, and drueling while trying. I probably would not find that an attractive one-night stand.

    And maybe lots and lots of people have such images in mind when this question was asked, because a lot of disabilities don't seem that relevant. (At least not to me.)
    Especially since I was under the impression that most men (my age) would have sex with just about anybody, they must have had some seriously disabled persons in mind when they said no.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well i am physically disabled and in a whelchair and my partner is not. I'm lucky that i'm pretty flexible and our sex life is great. When we met he didnt think 'oh no my sex life is ruined coz she's in a wheelchair', people who think like that are just so narrow minded.

  • Comment number 5.

    When we met he didnt think 'oh no my sex life is ruined coz she's in a wheelchair'.


    -----------

    When you met he probably didn't seriously think about sex life at all, that most likely came well after he got to know you and a relationship had developed, which was one of my point above.

  • Comment number 6.

    -----------

    When you met he probably didn't seriously think about sex life at all, that most likely came well after he got to know you and a relationship had developed

    -----------

    I may be wrong, but the implication here is that disabled people are not inherently sexy, that you need to get to know them first. It may be that you believe this is true for all relationships, and that's fine. But if you think it's specific to disabled people I would strongly disagree, my experience has been that I have been strongly attracted to disabled men as well as able-bodied, and that both disabled and able-bodied are attracted to me, often well before we get to know each other!

  • Comment number 7.

    It was attitudes like these, in the last century, that made me think I wasn't allowed to fall in love! Don't they realise that we have feelings too?

  • Comment number 8.

    I may be wrong, but the implication here is that disabled people are not inherently sexy, that you need to get to know them first. It may be that you believe this is true for all relationships, and that's fine. But if you think it's specific to disabled people I would strongly disagree

    ---------------------

    Indeed you are right in your second thought that I believe it is true for all relationships.

    In fact that's not quite right either, I believe in two forms of attraction.

    One is based purely on physical traights, the 'initial lust' so to speak, which is unfortunately almost entirely based on how close somene looks to the perfect model we have in our minds. This is built into us genetically, we can not help it and if we are honest a physical disability does often not fit in with this image. That's not to say that it would make enough difference to render someone unattractive at first sight, certainly no more so than having the 'wrong' body shape, hair color or clothing might.

    The second type is the type that grows on you, that you feel once you know someone.

    Sometimes, in fact often you can feel both for soeone, initial lust turns into long term fondness. Sometimes there is jsut the short term gleam which fades when personalities do not mesh. And sometimes there is no massive initial attraction but a growing one.

    Disability does not preclude nor exclusively include any of those three options, though realistically it will impinge on any first impression due to our genetic instincts.

    It's not just looks either, women are drawn to good looking, confindent men (who often turn out to be selfish and arrogant) rather than intelligent and gentle ones through the genetic disposition to find a hunter-gatherer type mate. Men are drawn to large breasts, wide hips and younger women due to the disposition to find a mate who would be fertile.

    It's how we are naturally, we can't change that. What we can change is our reaction to it. While I might see an imperfection as a negative naturally, that does not mean that I have to let it effect my thinking or feeling, in effect I have no reason to let it get in the way.

  • Comment number 9.

    I was previously married to a disabled man and am disabled myself. When we got engaged, a lady said to me 'oh I didn't think people like you did that,' referring to the sex. I was so astonished, I actually did not realise people would not only think that - but say it out loud.
    I wanted to talk about the complicated pullleys we could use to make it possible and have a joke about it - but my brain was frozen in; surely I did not jsut hear that.
    I am upfront in relationships about my disability - it's not an obvious one but has a lot of consequences on the lifestyle of me and a partner. I would be clear from the beginning that me being ill would have an impact on their life, and they would need to consider that as I'm a serious relationship only girl.
    I am currently engaged to a lovely man, who I've had interesting discussions with regarding this subject. I've probably more hangups than any decent guy could have- because I know it will affect our sex life, though not prevent it, and need reassurance that that is not a problem. However, it's like I've read elsewhere - it's a bit of a barometer for relationships - if someone baulks at your body, and it's differences - well move on.
    Thing is, people don't seem to have grasped that if you are used to an alternative life, well it might just make you a bit alternative in the bedroom, if you know what I mean ;). Nothing like having to constantly readapt your life to make you imaginative, and a bit playful...

 

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