Short Takes is designed to eavesdrop on readers' experiences of what it's like to be gay and disabled—in 1,000 words or less. This time we asked contributors to tell us about their first sex with another man. Was it a disaster or a little slice of heaven? Funny, fearful or ecstatic? Laughable, forgettable or sublime? Ricki Manning chose to write about his first time with another disabled man.


What Could Be Sexier?

by Ricki Manning


I'm thirty-three, slim, pretty in-shape, and good-looking—or so I'm told. I've got a hearing problem that's invisible to the non-disabled world, so I can pass easily and see both sides of the coin.

My hearing loss, the result of mumps when I was ten, is 60% now. I wear a device called a masker, that's designed to drown out the whistling sound produced by tinnitus, and I have a hearing aid that I use on and off, depending on circumstances.

I've learned ASL (American Sign Language), and in my spare time I'm involved with a deaf/hearing impaired theater group. As for dating, most guys are not aware of my hearing loss, at least at first, and these days a hearing aid is not usually such a big deal. I look at it this way: if a guy can't see past a problem like mine he's, not much of a man after all.

In a Manhattan bar late last summer, visiting from Dallas, I noticed a very handsome buff man giving me the eye from a nearby table. After a little cruising I noticed he was in a chair; hot guy, cool wheels. He is forty-two (we've been e-mailing!), exactly the type of man I go for, dark hair, broad shoulders, nice smile, great eyes. We started talking and it was pretty electric, the first time in ages I have had that tingly feeling—you know what I mean. He made me laugh and his confidence and control were attractive.

After a few drinks he suggested we start on what ended up as a whirlwind tour of the city. Whether you're walking or in a chair you reach the top of a skyscraper exactly the same way, by elevator, so access issues never even struck me. We went to the top of the Marquis (it revolves—very cool), followed by cocktails in the Rainbow Room (this guy has style, I thought). By then I was up about four Mojitos and had totally relaxed into the situation. I hadn't said a word about my hearing.

Like most guys, I know very little about spinal cord injuries, so when we got back to his apartment on the Upper West Side, I waited for him to take the lead, something he was more than happy to do. He told me a little bit about sensation, and how much movement and control he had, but the technical stuff was leaving me in the dust. I just wanted this man to kiss me. I figured I'd better tell him about my hearing, but you know something? It didn't bother him at all. He had guessed an hour after we met, but waited for me to tell him. He asked all the right questions, kissed me on the lips, and said Thank you. Perfect.

By the time he rolled on top of me I realized he was one totally hot guy, not just some hot disabled guy. Then he told me to climb onto his lap. He was rock hard, no Viagra or injections needed. This was one aggressive top, but with me on top! So much for my preconceptions about quads.

I met him again in New York again last week. Our lovemaking is very visual, something new to me, and very oral, which I love. This guy is sexy because he has the most amazing sense of presence and style, as well as being very handsome, which is icing on the cake. He makes me laugh and make things easy and relaxed. What could be sexier?

©2006 Ricki Manning


Ricki Manning lives in Dallas. He may be moving to Manhattan.


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BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/January 2006