“Hugo” is the pseudonym of a disabled reader in the UK whom I asked for his perspective on the intersection of sex work and disability. As regular readers know, I am an advocate for the right of disabled people to hire sex workers, and I have written on the subject a number of times. But since everything I can write myself is from the sex worker’s perspective, I felt it was important to also present the view from the clients’ side.
Sex is everywhere; it is pleasurable, and as natural as breathing. Sex is also life-affirming and helps human beings connect to one another on a spiritual level; it releases endorphins that reduce pain, it eases frustration, and it reduces the effects of loneliness and depression. Sex is even a soporific that can help with sleep problems. It’s at the core of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (under the banner of physical needs). Sex is the reason why the human race continues to exist.
NEWSFLASH: DISABLED PEOPLE LOVE SEX, TOO. Since the arrival of the internet, it has become easier for a lot of people to have a lot of sex, but this is not always so for disabled people like me. I am reminded of the scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where all the golden ticket winners enter the room where everything is made of chocolate and they can eat everything; I feel as though I am in that room and I am the only one not allowed to fulfill my natural appetites because I am different. Can you imagine someone telling you by the time you are in your mid-thirties you may never see a naked woman again, or share a bed with a lady for intimate experiences? In the past I was able to see escorts on a few occasions; these sessions helped with my depression and pain, and even with my self-esteem (I often feel ugly because women don’t choose me). But now I can no longer see escorts; because of my worsening physical condition I am reliant on other people, and they tend to impose their moral value system onto the proceedings. Unlike the able-bodied, I cannot even be in charge of my own sexuality; I am totally reliant on other people as to whether I will experience any earthy pleasures before I pass away. I can barely even masturbate any more, except when I happen to hit my prostate from a certain angle. Because of this degeneration in my physical condition, the future scares me. I would have loved children, but alas that can never be; I must face the march to the undiscovered country alone.
I understand that able-bodied people tend not to look in the direction of disabled people for mates; I cannot imagine a woman thinking of emptying her dream man’s catheter. The biological imperative drives people to desire strong physical specimens in order to produce healthy offspring (damn that prefrontal cortex), and even fairy tales teach everyone from a very early age that good people are attractive and well-formed; anyone who is different, with a withered hand or a crooked nose, is always a witch or some other wicked character. Difference equates to undesirability, both biologically and socially. We can intellectualise this argument all we want, but as I type this tears are rolling down my cheek and I need a cuddle…or any human contact at all. But neither society nor its leaders care about that; people with disabilities are dehumanised to a set of symptoms, living packages to be physically maintained but nothing else. Nor do feminists give a damn about their disabled sisters; they just sit there sipping their gin and tonics fretting about “glass ceilings” and “objectification” while disabled women are denied both employment opportunities and sexual opportunities.
The female body is such a rarity to me; I appreciate every inch of it in every shape and size, and I tremble at the thought of touching a naked woman. Can you imagine never again feeling a woman’s lips on yours? It’s maddening to need human contact, but to be shut off from it; I sometimes cry myself to sleep, and have even been driven to suicidal thoughts. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a disabled person with a particular kink; it must be soul destroying. But those in power never experience need; they’re able to have all the sex they want, which is why they have such a blinkered attitude towards the sexuality of disabled people and other sexual minorities. The saying is that one should never judge anyone else until one has “walked a mile in his moccasins”, but politicians never even have to walk a mile in their own shoes, let alone anyone else’s. Sex workers and disabled people really have a lot in common; we are both marginalised groups who are misunderstood by society and maltreated by the powerful for being different. Have you ever seen a disabled person as a sexual being with the same urges? Sex workers do; they understand our needs and are willing to provide for them, so in my eyes they are the most human and understanding of people, and I will always stand in solidarity with them.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Maggie for letting me post on the best and most informative blog on the internet.