Voices

The Best of the Sexuality and Disability Blog 2016

Two figures with their back to us are embracing each other lovingly. They are surrounded by circles of bright colours – shades of yellow and red. The text on the image reads 'The Best of the #SexDis Blog 2016'.

Our ten best posts from the year gone by.

Dating

1. Tinder-ing as a one-legged girl in Mumbai
by Antara Telang, illustration by Upasana Agarwal

‘It sounds weird, but the more guys I spoke to on Tinder, the more I realised that most people didn’t really care about the fact that I was an amputee. My obvious good looks, sparkling wit, and amazing sense of modesty (cough cough) were clearly enough. I started putting myself out there more, and it got a lot easier to ignore the hateful comments that came my way, because now I actually had proof to the contrary.’

An illustration on dating that is divided into three sections. The first, has a young woman holding a phone, the second has two steaming cups and two young men next to it and the last has a couple holding hands. The text says "Many dates down the line I must admit that not every guy I met on Tinder was a knight with a shining IPhone cover but dating was still good fun".

Sex

2. Beyond penetration: Why touch is important
by Abha Khetarpal Maurya, illustration by Anushka Bhansali

‘Many people with disabilities have sexual intercourse like non-disabled people do, but some don’t. This does not in any way imply that the intimacy that they crave or enjoy is any less relevant. A good sex life is about much more than just intercourse. We can take the pressure off people living with disabilities by expanding the idea of sex to include more than just penetration. Intimacy, pleasure, and connectedness can be fostered by touch, which we can call ‘outercourse’.’

An image of nine symbols stating people with disabilities have the right to nine sexual rights.

Relationships

3. ‘We’re making beautiful memories together’: Abha Khetarpal Maurya
interviewed by Shreya Ila Anasuya

‘In our country, privacy is unavailable to persons with disabilities. When I went to public places with him, people assumed that he was my brother, my cousin, or at the most my friend. How can a girl in a wheelchair have a boyfriend?’

4. Pyaar Plus: Adil and Majeda
by Rashmi Ravindran, illustration by Upasana Agarwal

‘When we first met Adil, he was on stage narrating a love poem dedicated to his wife, Majeda. We were pretty sure they were newlyweds when we met them after the show. It was only later we learnt that they have been together for ten years.’

An illustration of a couple - a man on a wheelchair and a woman with a covered head - with the title Pyaar Plus Adil & Majeda.

Violence

5. The Venus Flytrap: The story of a marriage
by Payal Kapoor, illustration by Alia Sinha

‘Things that I could not avoid became reasons for his anger: clothes that came out of the washing machine with lint on them were thrown at my face, missing and odd socks were all my fault, utensils that were washed and wiped with lint weren’t fit to be used. He once threw a bowl of curry because he found a piece of thread in it.’

6. My abusive ex made me believe that no one else would want a woman on a wheelchair
by Virali Modi

‘Nayan made me feel as if no one would want me. He made me feel caged and doubted. Our whole relationship was abusive: he emotionally abused me into staying with him and sexually abused me by forcing me to do things I never wanted to do.’

The illustration is a collage, with a picture of half a woman's face on the top right hand side. She has a nose-ring on. On the bottom right, there are drawings of the venus flytrap. To the left, there are drawings of several objects, including brooms, a dustpan, a radio, a television, and instant noodles.

Parenting

7. Why self-determination is important
by Jo Chopra, illustration by Alia Sinha

‘People with disability are infantilised throughout their lives. Even when fully adult, with bodies that are obviously sexually mature and even later, when their hair has turned grey, they are consistently referred to as children and ignored, sidelined and trivialised when decisions are being made. Few take them seriously, and their own parents are often the worst offenders.’

An illustration of a young woman sitting on a stool, with her eyes closed. She is surrounded by several people, depicted in different shades of grey, who are reaching out their hands to caress her.

Stigma

8. When depression is labelled ‘all in your head’
by Arpita, photo courtesy Arpita

‘As someone who has drowned many times – and resurfaced – my advice to you is to hang on. You are not alone, and your life is precious. You can kick the monster off your boat, one step at a time. Every time you wake up, take a bath, smile, work, breathe, you are defeating the monster.’

A little girl is dressed in a white frock and white shoes. She is holding a white football in her hands and smiling.

Representation

9. The Kaabil trailer review: Stop patronising us already, Bollywood
by Antara Telang

‘Disabled characters in movies are almost always objects of either sympathy or inspiration. What’s more, movies usually end with them having conveniently lost their disabilities along the way. The Kaabil trailer seems to be following this trend.’

10. It’s 2016. Why are there no wheelchair emojis?
by Virali Modi, illustration by Alia Sinha

‘It’s a crying shame that the only widespread reference to disability in the world of emoticons is the stick-figure wheelchair logo, best known for indicating the presence of accessible bathrooms. There’s a move to replace this with the accessible icon, but we need more.’

An illustration of a close-up of two hands holding a phone. In the phone screen, there is the upper body of a girl in blue with upraised arms and a confused expression on her face. On the right side, there is a speech bubble in which there is a girl sitting on a wheelchair. On the left side, there is another bubble in which there is a girl standing with crutches.

Lead illustration by Alia Sinha

 

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