BENT's own Bear
Everybody knows what bears do in the woodsthey
sit around telling each other their life's stories and giving one
another advice. What else would those big, hairy beasts do when
they get together for their Teddy Bear Picnics?
Inspired by the wisdom of my fellow growlers, I'm
here to give advice, when asked. So, if any of you have questions
you'd like answered by someone who's been around the block a couple
of times, please send them to Bear@bentvoices.org.
And in case you're worried that you might have to
censor your thoughts, please remember that my walks around the block
were often done while dressed in kinkwear and with a thought or
two about who I might encounter along the way.
So let me know what's on your mind. If it's a Big
Unanswered Question (or even a little one), let me have
a crack at it. It is, after all, what bears
There Sex After SCI?"
years ago I had surgery for a spinal cord tumor at C7. My doctor
told me it was no big deal and I'd be back to work in four to six
weeks. To make a long story short, four years later I find myself
an incomplete quad living in a nursing home with people old enough
to be my grandparents. But that's another story.
dealt with, and have learned to tolerate (though never accept),
my disability. I am just now realizing that I can still have a sex
life. I have full sensation and all parts are in working order.
I just didn't think I'd ever find anyone interested in a man in
a wheelchair. It just does not fit the typical gay stereotype. Well,
I met an able bodied man on-line who I am very interested in. He
is talking about meeting in person someday and the thought of this
terrifies me. I have been as truthful as possible with this man
about my disability so there won't be any surprises for him. I am
also concerned about my safety.
years ago I would not have given this a second thought and probably
would have met the guy already. I thought of bringing someone along,
but that's not possible. Any advice?
you are absolutely right to be concerned about safety. There would
be something wrong with you if you weren't. Let me read between
the lines and assume that if the man has been in touch with you
for any period of time, is fully aware of your physical limitations,
and still wants to meet up with you someday, then he may very well
know more about your disability in some ways than even you do. I
don't know any subtle way to say this, Pete, but at some point you
might want to ask him if the idea of your disability is itself a
sexual turn-on. If the answer is anything resembling a "yes," I
hope that you will grin from ear to ear and think about how wonderful
that knowledge could be for you, not how weird. If he answers that
your disability is not a turn-on, but something he can get past,
you should still be grinning.
I've got my finger pointed in your face, let me ask why it should
come as such a surprise that a nondisabled man might want to hook
up with a man in a wheelchair? And furthermore, if he can accept
the fact that you use a chair, I don't want to hear another word
about you only tolerating and never accepting it yourself. We bears
hate compromise, so please, never say neverand a thousand
other words to tell you that you won't earn that happy-ever-after
house with the picket fence and a stud-muffin in your bed until
you accept Pete, wheels and all.
will read further between the lines and presume that some of your
terror comes from wondering why the man would want to hook up with
a disabled guy. I might have answered that question already, but
some of your uneasiness might also come from wondering whether or
not you can please him. Only you can answer that one and I sincerely
hope it's with a resounding "yes." I have a feeling that you're
wondering if all this is too good to be true and if the man might
turn into a hatchet-wielding psycho once you're alone with him.
Can we ever know? But yes, you are more vulnerable than some, so
your fears are logical. Can you invite someone along to your first
meeting? Not not one of the residents of the nursing homebut
maybe a hunky orderly. Seriously, Pete, there's nothing wrong with
arranging a first meeting for dinner only, with plenty of time to
talk afterwards. Oh, my God! Did I just suggest a . . . date? Well,
have lived through a lot and I am sure that it has afforded you
plenty of wisdom. Certainly, it has given you caution. No doubt
you will be able to tell pretty quickly if the man is a serial killer
or just a regular guy who has no problem sharing his mattress with
a disabled partner. But please, do meet the man. Tell him about
your fears and concerns. Don't apologize for having to meet him
seated instead of standing. And if you do get beyond that first
non-sexual meeting, make sure others know where you are. Carry a
cell-phone. Carry mace. Carry condoms. But don't carry around fears
that will make the distance from your wheelchair to his face a chasm.
If he's a decent man he should be able to understand your concerns.
If he can deal with some physical baggage then he can deal with
some emotional baggage as well. Let him earn your trust. Let him
wait for that first sexual encounter until you are comfortable enough
to spend the night thinking about your pleasure and not your safety.
Then name the first child after me.
I'm a T8 para. I've been in a chair for twelve years now due to
an accident. I think of sex in a different light now because of
my injury and have only had a few sexual xperiences, all with with
women. Over the years I have been interested in having some bi-oral
fun with a man but never knew how I should go about it. How can
I start out in my sexual adventure in finding someone who might
be interested in teaching me about oral pleasure? Which first step
would be good for a para like myself?
On the Internet
Jim, much as I would love to volunteer my services as instructor,
I would never be so blunt or crude or downright forward. I think
that if you've had any oral experience with women, transferring
your technique might not be the leap you think. After all, a tongue
is a tongue is a tongue. But the key here is wanting to offer pleasure,
loving what you're doing, and merging the two to provide an incredible
experience for your partner. I'll give BENT a plug and say that
there might be some very willing readers out there (besides me)
who would be more than happy to help you out.
the right man to begin with is the most important first step. You
might also think of trying to find a bisexual couple willing to
experiment with you. There are a number of free Internet listings
where you could place an ad, including BENT's own Direct
I don't know where you live, so I can't say whether or not haunting
any local clubs would be productive. No doubt, all of the usual
problems associated with a disabled person seeking out sex partners
would come into play.
please, don't close yourself to the option of finding someone who
is attracted to disabled men. I hope that your first encounter will
be with someone sensitive enough to understand that it is
your first, someone able to make you comfortable enough to take
that first step. But it should be with someone able to guide you,
as well. Nobody comes into the world with an expert technique. Developing
it is half the fun. But doing it with someone who pulls his zipper
down, lets you work your magic, then zips back up without as much
as a thank-you is not the person you want to begin experimenting
with. So, don't rush into this with just anyone. There are safety
concerns as well. But more important, there are emotional concerns.
while I'm on the subject, I hope that you also consider the fact
that oral sex can and probably should be a two- way street. Don't
presume that your disability will automatically make you the giver
and not the receiver. I'm aware that all this places one hell of
a burden on whomever that first man is. Remember, whether or not
you have a second encounter might depend on the success of the first.
Even if the man proves to be only a one-nighter, be realistic and
remember that you fall in love with the person, not just his organ.
But you can fall in love with giving pleasure. And getting it. Consider
whether or not you would feel more comfortable having that first
encounter with another disabled man. But no matter who it is, you
should let him know specifically how your body works, then let him
use his own imagination to make the encounter a success.
know, Jim, you've taken the fist step already by contacting BENT.
Your next step might be as close as a few key strokes away. Let
the world know what you want, that you expect someone with sensitivity
and ability to guide you. Buy or rent one or two gay videos to get
an idea of how it's done. There are some that feature mostly oral
action. Consider the fact that there is an entire body to be oral
with, not just the one set of organs. But remember, no video is
going to give you a glimpse into the intimacy that you can experience.
And I certainly hope there will be plenty of intimacy. Only you
and your first male partner can create that scenario. I hope you
experience the same kind of pleasure I've enjoyed for so many wonderful
years with so many wonderful men. And all that, my eager novice,
is truly a mouthful.
© 2001 Max Verga
been an activist ever since getting a call from a friend reporting
that he'd been in a riot at the Stonewall Bar only hours before.
He began his activism with the West Side Discussion Group, later
became involved with its offshoot theater group, and was one of
the founders of Mainstream, a gay-disabled group. For more about
Max, see his longer biography.