Two of the best examples of motion pictures that have attempted to enter the world of disability and sexuality have been released in the last few years.
In 2012, The Sessions hit theaters and portrayed a disabled man who seek’d the services of a sex surrogate to lose his virginity and explore physical intimacy. In 2016, Me Before You hit the cinemas and was met with a lot of criticism from some members of the disabled community.
While Me Before You didn’t hit on the sex lives (or lack thereof) of people with disabilities as much as The Sessions did, both movies had a common underlying theme.
That theme was struggle, both in finding relationships and having a sex life. Both movies were the motion picture transformation of novels written years before.
Is it time to see sexuality, as it pertains to people with disabilities, portrayed in a more positive light in media platforms? Words like raunchy and edgy could describe a lot of televisions most popular shows, but next to none of these have a sexually desirable character with any sort of physical or intellectual disability.
Perhaps it isn’t too much of a stretch to presume that society today is too focused on image, and in media especially, sex sells.
Tiffanie DiDonato writes in a recent column that her sex life is more exciting because of her disability, not restricting. Sadly, that mindset is not present in the thoughts of most able-bodied youngsters when they contemplate what it would be like to have a relationship with someone who has a disability.
As time goes on, more and more members of the disability community are trying to break down the social barriers they face. A big social barrier is assumption, and to many, there is no bigger or more commonly thought assumption about disabled people than their inability to have an engaging and enjoyable sex life.
There is no doubt that mindset exists, and it is time to change it. If non-disabled people can start being exposed to a more engaging, edgy, and hard-hitting media that projects disabled people as sexual beings, then that is the best way to start changing mindsets.