Young People with Disabilities Talk Dating & Sex

Content via In The News
In The News

Dating can often be an awkward experience, one that doesn’t always go smoothly. Both Holly and Jack know this all to well.


close up of a woman smiling

Holly, 24, has cerebral palsy and sclerosis, and she uses a wheelchair. She’s tried online dating, and has run into misconceptions time and again about dating and having sex with someone with a disability. When she meets someone new and the subject of sex comes up. “They just assume that I’m a virgin,” shares Holly. Or on the flip side, “They ask me a lot about my sex life, that’s pretty weird, because it’s none of their business.


a man smiling with his arms crossed

Jack, 19, has hemiplegia which affects movement on the right side of his body. Like Holly, Jack has experienced misconceptions and also cruel remarks when it comes to dating and sex. “I do remember speaking to one person [online], I mentioned my disability and they said ‘that’s disgusting’ and they didn’t talk to me,” shares Jack. Fortunately Jack has developed a thick skin and doesn’t let remarks like this bother him.

There’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to the subjects of dating, sex, and disability.

A research campaign titled “End the Awkward” headed by Scope aims to make able bodied people more comfortable with talking to or dating someone with a disability. Scope’s research found the following information when interviewing a select group of 2,000 non-disabled individuals:

  • just one in 10 non-disabled young people has been on a date with a person with a disability
  • more than half of people aged between 18 and 35 had never started a conversation with a disabled person
  • three quarters of young people had never invited a person with a disability out on a social occasion

While Jack shares that he enjoys going out to nightclubs and meeting new people, Holly doesn’t exactly share Jack’s enthusiasm. “If you go to nightclubs it can be a nightmare because people try to set you up with their other disabled friends,” she says.

In the end, Holly and Jack are trying to break down the misconceptions when it comes to dating or having sex with someone with a disability.

“We’re all human. We all have sex,” shares Jack. “You can have a normal sex life and have a disability,” adds Holly.

What misconception would you like to clear up with it comes to dating or having sex with someone with a disability? Share your thoughts with us, and you might be featured on AbleThrive!

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