The Sex Educator Teaching BDSM to People With Disabilities

It’s impossible to miss Robin Wilson-Beattie when she walks into a room. With chin-length purple hair, perfectly drawn red lips, and cat-eye glasses, she looks like she walked off the pages of a punk rock Sears catalog from 1960. Then there’s her walker, which is covered in flower stickers.

Wilson-Beattie is a disability and sexual health educator spreading the message that people with disabilities want to have sex—and that they’re into the same things as anyone else, from missionary to full-on BDSM.

“People just assume that people with disabilities aren’t interested in having sex,” Wilson-Beattie told Broadly. “I don’t understand that thinking at all. It’s part of human instinct. Having a disability doesn’t mean you don’t want to eat. Or you don’t breathe. Or you don’t want to sleep.”

Wilson-Beattie was born able-bodied, but an extremely rare birth defect caused an aneurysm in her spine in her early 30s, disrupting the sensation and function in her lower body. One week after she found out she needed surgery to remove the aneurysm, doctors also told her she was pregnant. Wilson-Beattie continued with the pregnancy while relearning how to do everything involving her lower body, like sitting up, walking, using the bathroom, and having sex.


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Though the doctors spent weeks teaching her bladder and bowel function, the segment on sex was only 45 minutes. The patients in her rehabilitation facility were separated by gender, like a middle school health class, and shown a film featuring women talking about sex after a spinal cord injury.

“The film raised more questions than it answered for me,” Wilson-Beattie said. “It made it sound as if your sex life was over and would be nonexistent in the future. It was very discouraging and dire about the ability to express yourself sexually, in my opinion. I remember getting angry and thinking it was bullshit.”

Despite complications from her spinal injury, Wilson-Beattie successfully carried her pregnancy to term and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. And while she wasn’t very sexually active during the pregnancy, she was eager to rebuild her sex life once her daughter was born. She quickly learned, however, that she was going to have to figure that out on her own.

“Doctors are a product of our own society,” Wilson-Beattie said. “A lot of them don’t get disability awareness and sexuality education.”

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