His hair — curly and the colour of Hobnobs — is what I expected. His body — slim and clad in a red tartan shirt — is, too. He wiggles his fingers at me, I wiggle mine back as I approach. I tug at my skirt, ruffle my hair. I hope he likes what he sees. I certainly do. Here, in real life, sitting on a high stool, a half-drunk pint in front of him, I see he matches all of them. And then… he grins. There, where his two front teeth should be, is a pink gummy ridge.
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Sex and dating with a disability can be pretty f-cking awkward, whether it's locating an accessible place to meet for a first date, or finding a caregiver who can operate your vibrator for you. Here, three women who have been there share their experiences—bad and good. Katherine Laidlaw February 14, Seven years ago, Stephanie Dixon, the time Paralympic medallist who was widely considered to be one of the best female swimmers in the world, appeared on billboards across the country. But her opponents might. Growing up in Brampton, Ont. But accessing the world of dating and sex felt terrifying. In university, she would panic when someone showed interest in her at a bar. Dating and sex are complicated under the best of circumstances. Imagine revealing a hidden physical disability to a date for the first time.
I have decided to tackle discussing a sensitive issue which impacts everybody in the limb loss community — sex after an amputation. My goal is to be honest without being graphic. I am certainly no expert on the subject. But as a sexually active amputee woman who is happily married with two children, I can speak frankly about my experiences. I began to worry about the impact of my limb loss on my ability to be intimate before my amputation surgery. Because it is a sensitive and personal issue, I did not feel comfortable broaching the topic with amputee mentors. I was left to deal with my fears and emotions on my own, which probably made my adjustment more difficult. It took nearly six months post-amputation until I was ready for intimacy. This extended time was due to an infection in my stump, but in retrospect, it was also because I was feeling ugly.
Was she some expert on disabilities or something? Was she, too, disabled? Had she - like me - fought a battle with cancer that cost her a limb? For a split second, my thoughts were paralyzed by her insensitivity. But, like a defeated fighter who returns to the ring to regain victory, I bounced back for a verbal round with Ms. I am a woman first, an amputee second and a person with a disability last. And it is in that order that I set out to educate and testify to people like Ms. Thing who are unable to discern who I am - a feisty, unequivocally attractive African-American woman with a gimpy gait who can strut proudly into any room and engage in intelligent conversation with folks anxious to feed off my sincere aura. It is rather comical and equally disturbing how folks - both men and women - view me as a disabled woman, particularly when it comes to sexuality.