Dating and relationships
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Sex and disability

cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
edited October 2018 in Dating and relationships
hi guys I’m recently diagnosed with Ataxia it’s main symptoms are balance, coordination and speech problems. I have always been a very sexual person but this condition has had a profound affect on my physical capabilities and my partners thoughts on sex, she doesn’t feel it’s important and when we try it’s feels different for her like it’s not me she’s having sex with. I can’t touch her the same or touch myself the same but the inner urges are still there and very frustrating, I am very happy to hear advice and similar stories that may help 


  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you so much for sharing @cjoy88317
    Do you and your partner talk about these things? Communication is so key to a good relationship and intimacy.

    Im hoping @PSHEexpert will be along soon and be able to offer you some support, she is brilliant!
    Senior online community officer
  • cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
    It’s a bit of a taboo subject that I feel I can approach too much as it causes problems but I am suffering too not sure wot to do next 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    One of the main reasons for relationships failing now imo is that people don't seem to tolerate the changes that happen as they or their partners age (not even by a few years). Disability is a seriously large change to cope with and discussion with a partner is even more important. Unfortunately, intimate discussions always seem to be the hardest to have for most people. I will admit to being just the same during my first marriage but my first wife wasn't ever interested in it anyway. From then on though I have always tried to be as open as possible and always discussed not only things we did but things we might do. Surprisingly it was much easier than I had assumed after the first couple of times.

    I have noticed sometimes that many healthy women that have initially appeared to be attracted to me would immediately lose all interest if they saw me using more than one stick or using a wheelchair. I guess they wonder if things are actually possible. Also quite odd is that I have experimented much more since I became disabled, perhaps because I might not always be able too I guess. Ofc I move more carefully now and cannot do some things but I have compensated by learning much more and giving much more than I ever used too.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,449 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @cjoy99317

    Me and my fiancé went through a very similar phase. When symptoms became apparent, it was me who lost confidence in touching or any sexual activity. So much so I wouldn't even let him cuddle me in bed. It broke his heart. Over time when I learnt to accept my disability, I accepted this was the new me and I found ways to deal with it. 

    My point is it takes time to come to terms with your disability, I'm sure your partner would understand that this is a big change for you, as much as it is difficult for you, loved ones have to accept this as well. Time. Communication is important during this time too. Tell each other how you feel and how it's affected you both. You will begin to find ways of being intimate that are right for the both of you.

    You both will come through this, it just takes time.
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
    Thank you it’s been 2 years which is not a long time in the scheme of things, I am happy as u can be with my Ataxia it isn’t ideal but I’m coping it’s my partner who is really hurting unfortunately I can say or do nothing, just have too wait it out 
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,449 Disability Gamechanger
    Has she really opened up to you? A heart-to-heart?
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
    Its not a thing she does sex isn’t a priority at all but I think it’s an important part of a relationship 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    I’m just saying hi - im delivering training so I can’t chip in much right now but will be back later on! 
    - Gill 
  • cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
    Ok great I look forward too ur input later 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    Hello - sorry for the delay, I was not around yesterday and am just grabbing a few minutes between students now.  

    This is a difficult one for sure - as many have already said above in the thread, communication is really important, but it's hard going when it feels like one of you won't be able to, or might be unwilling to, take part in that conversation, which is how it sounds things are with your wife - you say she seems uncomfortable with the subject matter (ie sex).  Unfortunately lots of people find it a difficult subject to talk about - if only it were easier to just get it out there and over with! 

    So I've been thinking about this since reading your posts yesterday and I think that even if this is something that your wife struggles to talk about there still needs to be a conversation initiated, because both of you are suffering.  It might even be that someone else - a neutral third party -  needs to facilitate it, but it can't just be left because you will feel more and more rejected, and that will put a strain on everything.   Your wife may need support coming to terms with the differences in your physicality and how that affects different aspects of things, too.  Have you ever had a look at Ataxia UK's website?  They have different support elements that might be able to offer some help and suggestions.

    You don't mention how the rest of things are - are you still intimate in other ways, for example kissing/cuddling, talking about other stuff, sharing time together?  I know not everyone is very cuddly obviously but in general, is the intimacy there for you or has it been affected more generally?  I realise that is a very private question and you are welcome to not answer it here - I am sure that it could be moved to a private conversation if you don't want to carry on with everyone able to see. 
    - Gill 
  • cjoy88317cjoy88317 Member Posts: 16 Listener
    I m afraid our intimacy was always based around sex hence y I miss it so much unfortunately a 3rd party isn’t an option as she will shut down even more, until she realises how intimacy is a huge part missing from our relationship there is nothing more I can say or do, I hate to say it but she holds all the cards 
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