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The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability   book icon  
by Miriam Kaufman et al. (2003)

read: 12 June 2004
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

This is actually an excellent ultimate guide to sex in general, with particular emphasis on people with disabilities or other temporary or permanent infirmaries. Written by a sex-shop owner, a therapist, and a disability activist, this book really approaches sex from all sort of different angles, but all of them positive. The basic assumption is that disabled people have sex and are curious about sex just like everyone else. However, the sex information that is available to “everyone else” may not apply to them... at all. This book fills in the blanks.

Unlike other books about sex and disability that can be more for caregivers [how to explain sex to your developmentally disabled kid, for example, or as a side note in other books about disabilities in general] this one is for the disabled themselves. It covers tricky topics like how to talk to your personal care attendant about putting on your condom, how to use flagellation devices if you have very little upper body strength, and what sexual positions are best for people with lower body spasms. The authors are straightforward when it’s needed but also have a light tone. Their basic perspective is that sex is fun, and it’s more fun if you sort of know what you’re doing, and so they aim to help. The authors did many many interviews with disabled people and their partners and these narratives are interwoven with the text of the book itself. As a result, you don’t have to take their word for it about orgasms and quadraplegia, you can read about it from an actual quad. Interviewees don’t pull punches and some of the stories they tell about the ups and downs of their sex lives can be inspiring, poigant, and sometimes just hilarious. The authors also don’t assume that the reader has much prior knowledge of sex or even how their own body works [or how others' bodies work] and there are some early chapter devoted to that. As you might expect, it’s not at all hetero-centric and while the authors present sex as a positive thing, they also respect a person’s choice not to have sex, so it’s not all “Rah rah you must have sex!” all the time.

This book is mainly geared towards people with physical handicaps -- which will apply to anyone who is disabled, aging, tired or just temporarily out of commission in some way or another. It does talk somewhat about people with emotional and metal disabilities as well, though not in as much depth. The text itself has many accompanying photos, is well footnoted, and has some cheerful illustrations of sex positions with people of all body types, genders and races.

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