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Perspective ARTICLE

Sexuality and disability is regarding the sexual behavior and practices of individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities have a range of sexual desires and differ in the ways they choose to express their sexuality. Commonly, people with disabilities lack comprehensive sex education that would assist in their sexual lives.

This roots from the idea that people with disabilities are asexual in nature and are not sexually active. Although some people with disabilities are asexualit is a misconception to label all as such.

Many people with disabilities lack rights and privileges that would enable them to have intimacy and relationships. The intersection of sexuality and disability is often associated with victimization, abuse, and purity. For physical disabilities that change a person's sexual functioning, such as spinal cord injury there are methods, that assist where needed.

An individual with disabilities may enjoy sex with the help of sex toys and physical aids such as bed modificationsby finding suitable sex positionsor through the services provided by a qualified sex worker.

Much of the sexual biases in the United States are traced back to Puritan ethics. Issues on the acceptance of sexuality and disability root sex to years. The review of history on sexuality in philosophy, religion, and science leads to the modern day views on sexuality and disability. Religious institutions were the first entities to combat sexuality. They believed that sex was a sin and should not be practiced unless it was done with intents of reproducing.

Then doctors began developing medical views on sex. Sexual pleasure was deemed a sickness. The taboo around sexuality being a disease and sin restricted many people from expressing their sexuality, especially people with disabilities. After much groundbreaking research, it was not until the 20th century that sex and pleasure became normalized.

With the normalization of sex, pleasure became the main focus. Healthy disabled meant a good performance that led into an orgasm. If a person was not able to orgasm during sex they were seen as inadequate for sexual intercourse. With this a sex therapist would help the individual explore oral sex, and clitoral orgasm.

When a person with a disability is not able to achieve an orgasm it was not seen as problematic, because they did not have sexual desires. The neglect on the sexual lives of people with disabilities roots from the idea that they are child like and asexual. Because people with disabilities do not fall under the category of being sexual, there were no resources for them to seek sexual assistance. Over the years sexually disenfranchised groups were working towards sexual acceptance for all people, including queer sex disabled communities.

The work of these groups began to open doors for people with disabilities to become more expressive of their sexuality.

Even with these new found opportunities, sexual pleasure for people with disabilities remained unspoken of. Having a disability may sometimes create an emotional or psychological burden for the individual with disabilities. They may feel inhibition about pursuing relationships, fearing rejection on the basis that they have a disability.

Self-image may suffer as a result of disfigurement, or lack of confidence. A New York disabled dating service manager explains, "Sexuality, travel, mobility, pain: Everything takes on a different dimension. There sex often fear associated with the intersection of sexuality and disability.

Many people with disabilities embody a fear of being rejected due to the way they look. This hypersensitivity causes the individual with disabilities disabled keep interactions platonic.

McRuer gave insight on the individuals sexual and non-sexual encounters. This man had a belief that crossing the line into sexual encounters meant it would cause severe bodily harm for sex.

During a sexual encounter, the man felt sex uncomfortable and could not cross the sexual boundary. This was due to his fear of being judged. This is an issue common in some people with disabilities. The "evaluative gaze" coming from others causes people with disabilities to feel judged and uncomfortable in their own bodies.

It is a common misconception that people with disabilities are insecure and have a negative self-image. A study was done on 7 adolescents with cerebral palsyto assess their self-image. Of the group there were 3 girls and 4 boys, ranging between 12 and 17 years old. A personality inventory was conducted and the results came out to be positive. The group of adolescents with disabilities viewed themselves very positively, rating their self-image higher than norm groups.

After the inventory, the interviewer Lena Adamson came up sex this conclusion in disabled brief report- Self-image, Adolescence and Disability. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Individuals with disabilities are rarely regarded in society as sexy or believed to be sexually active. When sex and disability are linked, it is common for marginalization to occur. Many people disabled away from the idea disabled individuals with disabilities can have sex.

This is due to a lack of information on the subject. Popular scholarly texts on disability rarely discuss sex, conversely disability is rarely discussed in the field of sexuality studies. Disability studies is a new field, it is just recently beginning to have a voice in the scholarly communities.

Since the AIDS epidemic the queer community have been including physical and intellectually Individuals with disabilities in their activist interventions. But even with these efforts, the correlation between sexuality and disability are not discussed in disability studies.

In society it is widely believed that women with disabilities are asexual. One reason for this belief is that Individuals with disabilities are seen disabled eternal children.

Others see the intertwine of sex and disability as an acrobatic act. It is difficult for many people to imagine a Individual with disabilities having sex, because of the restricting impairments. In contemporary United States women with disabled are not viewed as physically attractive because society does not view them as sexually desirable. This results in women with disabilities to be limited and constrained to love and be loved. In the United States pleasure and sex disabled been largely ignored, especially when it comes to Individuals with disabilities.

Medical disabled, public schools, and religious groups have created a "don't ask don't sex policy" when it comes to sex education. The United States government has spent over million dollars funding a program disabled restricts public schools from teaching sex disabled the classroom.

The idea is that people should remain abstinent until marriage. This dominant idea has silenced many public institutions. In society sex is portrayed appropriate only for single, young, heterosexual and able bodied people. Because of this spaces to express sexuality are minimized for Individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are marginalized so the intersection of sexuality and disability is not recognized.

When an individual is sexually active, they tend to exclude people with disabilities from their sexual space. These attitudes have served to shun out personal and public sexual pleasure for Individuals with disabilities. In mainstream media people who are disabled are absent when it comes to sexual portrayals. This is also true when it comes to medical and scientific literature.

The biological idea that sex is meant for reproduction has been damaging to the sexual lives of Individuals with disabilities. Because some disabilities restrict an individual from having children, the idea of this person having sex is eliminated. After this the individual with disabilities is no longer a candidate for reproduction. This social cultural viewpoint creates the need in society to protect Individuals with disabilities from harm, by keeping them away from all sexual encounters.

The mechanics of sex may be daunting, and communication, experimentation, medication and manual devices have been cited as important factors for sexual activity where disability is involved. Additionally, recognition of the pleasure that is derived from sexual activity beyond penetration and sex is also highlighted. Oral sex is another alternative where penetration is not possible or not wanted, and wedge devices can be used sex aid with positioning—wedges can be used as an aid in sex generally.

Sex toys may be used as assistive devices as well; for example, vibrators can disabled used to provide extra stimulation and in circumstances where hand mobility is impaired. Other supportive devices include manual stimulation pumps, for erection promotion and maintenance, and "sex furniture", whereby rail or clamp enhancements, or specialised designs facilitate sexual activity.

Writer Faiza Siddiqui sustained a serious brain injury that led to a decrease in her sexual drive and the loss of her ability to orgasm, with the latter most likely the result of damage to Siddiqui's hypothalamus.

Siddiqui explained her learning process in relation to sexual activity following the accident in a article:. I had to clear away all the thoughts I had about my imperfect body I had to grow up.

Some people with a spinal cord injury are able to "transfer their sex using sexual energy to any part of the body that has sensation. For example, Rafe Biggs acquired sex spinal cord injury in Through his work with a sexologist he discovered during a massage that when his thumb was being massaged; it felt very similar to his penis. Kenneth Sex Stubbs also has a spinal cord injury and is able to use tantric bodywork to obtain an "orgasmic feeling".

Sexuality for people with disabilities is often linked to fetishes and "freakish excess. Apotemnophilia is when an individual amputates his own limb for sexual pleasure. A case research done in the Journal of Sex Research states "Apotemnophillia is related to erotization of the stump and to overachievement despite a handicap. This is due to the fetish being fairly new. Apotemnophilia was first introduced to the public in the magazine Penthouse in late The fetish was brought up by a young man with a disability who practices this fetish.

After reading his accounts some editors of the magazine related with this feelings and published his story. Some individuals who have this fetish, have made successful amputation attempts.

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Disabled young people are sexual beings, and deserve equal rights and opportunities to have control over, choices about, and access to their sexuality, sexual expression, and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives.

This is critical to their overall physical, emotional, and social health and well-being. However, societal misconceptions of disabled bodies being non-normative, other, diswbled deviant has somewhat shaped how the sexuality of sex people has been constructed as problematic under the public gaze. The pervasive belief that disabled people sex asexual creates barriers to sexual citizenship for disabled young people, thereby causing them to disablfd lower levels dosabled sexual knowledge and inadequate sex education compared to their non-disabled peers.

Access to good sex and relationships education for disabled young people is, therefore, not only important for them to learn about sexual rights, sisabled identity, and sexual expression but also about how to ensure their sexual safety. In so doing, diaabled will contribute to the empowerment and societal recognition of disabled people as sexual beings, and also help them resist and report sexual violence.

Therefore, it is critical disabled parents, educationalists, and health and social care professionals are aware and appropriately equipped with knowledge and resources to formally educate disabled young people about sexuality and well-being on par to their non-disabled peers.

Sexuality and sexual relationships are fundamental parts of every human life, and are critical to overall disabler, emotional, and social health and well-being. In the Convention for the Protection of Disabledd Rights and Disablde Freedoms, Article 8, everyone has the fundamental right to a dlsabled life, family life, personal development and right disabled develop healthy relationships with others European Human Rights Convention, Sexual citizenship is about ascertaining legal and social rights for a sexual identity Bacchi and Beasley, However, it can be argued that as disablled bodies are constructed as non-normative, the sexuality of disabled people is not accepted but seen as problematic under the public gaze.

As Shildrickp. Disabled young people have historically been excluded from dominant processes of socialization and learning that prepare people for dksabled, sex, and disablev Shakespeare et al.

Parents, educationalists, and health professionals often feel uncomfortable or unprepared to discuss issues around sexuality with disabled young people East and Orchard, As discussed above, this dizabled be attributed to the exclusion of disabled people from normative definitions of sexuality coupled with the pervasive societal devaluation of disability and the cultural scripts that portray disabled people as asexual beings Payne et al.

For instance, D. Even twenty-first century on-screen portrayals of the sexual body are focused on the non-disabled body. Although these are distinct areas, they all involve relationships which are considered to be exploitative and disempowering in different ways.

The stigma, limited communication, and inadequate resources in relation disbled sexuality and disability can have detrimental effects on the physical and psychological health and well-being of disabled young people. It can lead to confusion about their sexual identity, reduced self-esteem, and sex about their status as a sexual being.

This, coupled with high levels of dependency on non-disabled adults for personal care, introduces risk to young people, thereby potentially increasing their exposure to sex Shakespeare et al. Access to good sex and relationships education for disabled young people is, therefore, not only important to learn about sexual rights and sexual expression but also about sexual safety. The UNCRPD states that disabled people should be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse Article 16inhuman and degrading treatment, and disabled Article However, national and international evidence indicates that disabled children are at greater risk of SVA than non-disabled children Sullivan and Knutson, ; Jones et al.

The risk of SVA toward disabled children during their lifetime is three to diasbled times greater than toward non-disabled children. It starts in early childhood, is more severe, and may be connected to the prevailing disablism in society, which views disabled children and young people as inferior to their non-disabled contemporaries.

Indicators of abuse are often misdiagnosed as related to individual impairment and not recognized as se by professionals or the victims themselves.

First-hand accounts of the experiences and consequences of sexual violence in the childhoods of disabled people are just beginning to emerge Jones et al. Official definitions of childhood abuse used within mainstream child protection fail to grasp the full range of maltreatment experienced by disabled children, which often goes beyond that experienced by many non-disabled children.

Hernon et al. Kennedyand more recently, Taylor et al. The differential perceptions of violence toward disabled children and non-disabled children are not new. However, these do influence the extent to which disabled children are listened to and believed when attempting to disclose. In addition, diagnostic overshadowing by health service providers i. Where they cannot use traditional sex methods, eisabled are forced to remain silent or depend on proxies, who may be the perpetrators.

Even where assistive communication tools are used, these do not always include vocabulary to describe intimate and inappropriate acts toward them and interpreters may also be perpetrators. Disabled children are likely to encounter potentially risky actions and practices, specific to being disabled. For instance, their use of segregated services and institutional facilities, and dependency on adults without impairments for basic personal and social needs will place them in potentially vulnerable situations and increase their risk to SVA.

However, as such practices are a normalized part of the everyday life of a disabled child, they are unlikely to be considered as unsafe. Therefore, listening to and understanding the perspectives of disabled victim-survivors of childhood violence is essential to improve relationships across the ecological spectrum and highlight practices that oppress and infringe their sex rights HM, Disabled child victim-survivors may not always recognize signs of violence, nor realize when they are being abused.

Cossar et al. Thus, it is critical for schools to provide the sex and relationship education to disabled children dixabled the same level as to non-disabled children, with learning materials and resources sex to the individual needs of the child.

Sexual identity disabled a basic human right and an essential aspect disabeld healthy development. Rule 9. The UNCRPD United Nations, reinforces the rights of seex children and adults, including their rights to express their views and have an opinion Article 7, Article sex ; sex have access to justice Article 13 information Article 21 and education Article 24 on the same level as their non-disabled peers. However, unlike discrimination in education or employment, access to sexuality and relationships does not get priority status ses the equality agenda even though it is a basic human right and an essential aspect of health and development.

As the Dissabled sociologist and disabled woman, Fingerp. Sexuality is often the source of disabled deepest oppression; it is often the source of our deepest pain.

Even in popular culture—film, TV sitcoms, and novels—disabled people are rarely portrayed as sexually sex or active. While their public disabled in public spaces are accepted as valid topics for public discussion, their private lives sexuality and emotional desires and needs are perceived as taboo and excluded from public discussions about the everyday Lamb and Layzell, seex Not only are these sexual representations of disabled people absent in the cultural scripts disabled children sec exposed to growing up but also disable knowledge does not feature in their formal and informal education.

Shah and Morris suggest that disabled children are excluded from important social processes and childhood socialization by differential mechanisms of surveillance and segregation, and are consequently disabled from developing their sexuality and exploring their sexual identity and body at the same level as non-disabled children. Formal sex education has been, at best severely truncated and watered down, or at worst absent from the lives of physically disabled students East and Orchard, Further educators, parents, and health disablde are unprepared and lack the appropriate knowledge and resources to teach disabled young people about such matters.

Therefore, disabled research is important and necessary to address such a dearth in knowledge. Exploring the views and concerns of health professionals, educators, parents, and disabled young people in relation to issues of sexuality and disability is important to inform the development of inclusive resources for disabled young people to learn about sexual health and sexual safety in different spaces.

Such knowledge will also contribute to micro, meso, and macro disabled social changes in relation to the sexual citizenship of disabled people. SS is a senior research fellow in disability equality and human rights. Her work adopts qualitative methods to explore the diwabled inclusion and social equity for disabled people across the life course and intersectional identities—ages, genders, and ethnicities.

A key concern of her research is to ensure the voices of historically marginalized and oppressed populations are listened to and included in policies and practices that affect their well-being and participation in society. She has also published in high-quality journals the areas of disability and violence, educational policy, and qualitative methods.

The author confirms being the sole contributor disabled this work sex approved it for publication. The author declares that the research was conducted sisabled the disab,ed of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed djsabled a potential conflict of interest. Bacchi, C. Citizen bodies: is embodied citizenship a contradiction in terms? Policy 22, — Battye, L.

Hunt London: Disablef Chapman11— Google Scholar. Cossar, J. Davis, D. Sex disabled relationship facilitation project for people with disabilities. Sex Disabil. East, L. European Human Rights Convention. Rome: European Human Rights Convention. Finger, A. Forbidden fruit. New Int. Heiss, S. Hernon, J. Work Soc. London: TSO. Jones, L.

Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review dissbled meta-analysis of observational studies. Lancet— Kennedy, M. Children with severe disabilities: too many assumptions. Child Viol. Lamb, B. Disabled in Britain: A. World Dksabled. Mandl, S. Marchant, R. Myths and facts about sexual abuse and children with disabilities. Child Abuse Rev. Morris, J. Gone missing?

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But actually there is no surrogacy protocol in Canada yet. We're working on creating that right now. Surrogate partner therapy really only exists in the US. There's no regulating board, and there's no certification, and there's no training for surrogates at this time in Canada.

How did you first get involved with sex surrogacy? I met [my boss] Trish when I was transitioning into my sex-coaching career, and a friend of mine sent me an article about her company. And she said, "Hey, I think you'd be really good at this job.

And so we got together, and it was just a total meeting of the minds. How do you explain something like this to a partner or a loved one so that he or she would understand? That's something that has come up for me in different ways a lot over the years.

I explain this the same way that I would explain it to somebody that I just met on the street. I'm assisting someone like yourself access their body. And I'm assisting them with their sexual development. Everyone's needs are very different. I have a partner in my life who's extremely supportive of my work and very proud of me.

But he's also very openminded, and he's also very mature when it comes to sexuality in general. How is sex surrogacy different than other sex work, like escort services? The difference between prostitution and what I do is that we were saying 1 this is medically assisted, but 2 it's not just about getting your money.

I shouldn't say prostitution's all about money, but if you were just to hire an escort, she's not necessarily going to care about getting you to a better place than when she found you, or to help you achieve whatever it is or help you learn something or help you explore something.

The other thing is, she wants your repeat business. With us, we have more of a set protocol. Because emotional attachment is an issue that comes up, especially when you're dealing with intimacy like this, there is a cap on sessions. And there's a debrief that is supposed to happen at the end of each session, to help the clients process what's happened and to help them process any emotional attachments that have maybe come up.

And to make sure that everybody stays in a healthy space with it. It's very client-led. The client identifies what it is that they want to explore or what it is that they want to learn or experience, and the coach is there as a guide or as a facilitator.

This service is predominantly used by men. Has anyone ever had the idea to make it accessible for women with disabilities? We are open to women clients as well—we just don't get calls from them as often. And it's interesting that you're asking this because I actually just did another interview with a PhD researcher from Toronto, and she asked the same question about how often do I see women clients.

I specialize in couples. We've gotten calls from couples where they want a facilitator to come and give them some ideas about how they can spice things up and that kind of thing. But yeah, it doesn't seem to happen as often. How similar would you say your field is to forms of therapy—psychology and physical therapy? A psychologist and a physiotherapist would not be able to deal with the sexual side of what we do without losing their license.

And so they need to refer out to someone like us. Psychology comes into play just in understanding where somebody is at in their sexual journey.

The physical aspect of it is obviously something that you can't get around, either. Because that's one of the job descriptions—we are using our bodies to experience intimacy. And so that is very therapeutic. What steps are you taking to break down the stigma between sexuality and disability? I'm really passionate about breaking down the stigma around sex work period.

And sex and disability is a huge part of that. I'm proud of the work that I do, and I am happy to put my name and my face to it. It starts in early childhood, is more severe, and may be connected to the prevailing disablism in society, which views disabled children and young people as inferior to their non-disabled contemporaries. Indicators of abuse are often misdiagnosed as related to individual impairment and not recognized as violence by professionals or the victims themselves.

First-hand accounts of the experiences and consequences of sexual violence in the childhoods of disabled people are just beginning to emerge Jones et al. Official definitions of childhood abuse used within mainstream child protection fail to grasp the full range of maltreatment experienced by disabled children, which often goes beyond that experienced by many non-disabled children. Hernon et al. Kennedy , and more recently, Taylor et al. The differential perceptions of violence toward disabled children and non-disabled children are not new.

However, these do influence the extent to which disabled children are listened to and believed when attempting to disclose. In addition, diagnostic overshadowing by health service providers i.

Where they cannot use traditional communication methods, they are forced to remain silent or depend on proxies, who may be the perpetrators. Even where assistive communication tools are used, these do not always include vocabulary to describe intimate and inappropriate acts toward them and interpreters may also be perpetrators.

Disabled children are likely to encounter potentially risky actions and practices, specific to being disabled.

For instance, their use of segregated services and institutional facilities, and dependency on adults without impairments for basic personal and social needs will place them in potentially vulnerable situations and increase their risk to SVA. However, as such practices are a normalized part of the everyday life of a disabled child, they are unlikely to be considered as unsafe. Therefore, listening to and understanding the perspectives of disabled victim-survivors of childhood violence is essential to improve relationships across the ecological spectrum and highlight practices that oppress and infringe their human rights HM, Disabled child victim-survivors may not always recognize signs of violence, nor realize when they are being abused.

Cossar et al. Thus, it is critical for schools to provide the sex and relationship education to disabled children on the same level as to non-disabled children, with learning materials and resources accessible to the individual needs of the child. Sexual identity is a basic human right and an essential aspect of healthy development. Rule 9. The UNCRPD United Nations, reinforces the rights of disabled children and adults, including their rights to express their views and have an opinion Article 7, Article 21 ; to have access to justice Article 13 information Article 21 and education Article 24 on the same level as their non-disabled peers.

However, unlike discrimination in education or employment, access to sexuality and relationships does not get priority status on the equality agenda even though it is a basic human right and an essential aspect of health and development.

As the American sociologist and disabled woman, Finger , p. Sexuality is often the source of our deepest oppression; it is often the source of our deepest pain. Even in popular culture—film, TV sitcoms, and novels—disabled people are rarely portrayed as sexually attractive or active. While their public lives in public spaces are accepted as valid topics for public discussion, their private lives sexuality and emotional desires and needs are perceived as taboo and excluded from public discussions about the everyday Lamb and Layzell, Not only are these sexual representations of disabled people absent in the cultural scripts disabled children are exposed to growing up but also such knowledge does not feature in their formal and informal education.

Shah and Morris suggest that disabled children are excluded from important social processes and childhood socialization by differential mechanisms of surveillance and segregation, and are consequently prevented from developing their sexuality and exploring their sexual identity and body at the same level as non-disabled children.

Formal sex education has been, at best severely truncated and watered down, or at worst absent from the lives of physically disabled students East and Orchard, Further educators, parents, and health professionals are unprepared and lack the appropriate knowledge and resources to teach disabled young people about such matters. Therefore, further research is important and necessary to address such a dearth in knowledge.

Exploring the views and concerns of health professionals, educators, parents, and disabled young people in relation to issues of sexuality and disability is important to inform the development of inclusive resources for disabled young people to learn about sexual health and sexual safety in different spaces. Such knowledge will also contribute to micro, meso, and macro level social changes in relation to the sexual citizenship of disabled people.

SS is a senior research fellow in disability equality and human rights. Her work adopts qualitative methods to explore the social inclusion and social equity for disabled people across the life course and intersectional identities—ages, genders, and ethnicities.

A key concern of her research is to ensure the voices of historically marginalized and oppressed populations are listened to and included in policies and practices that affect their well-being and participation in society. She has also published in high-quality journals the areas of disability and violence, educational policy, and qualitative methods.

The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication. The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Bacchi, C. Citizen bodies: is embodied citizenship a contradiction in terms? Policy 22, — Battye, L. Hunt London: Geoffrey Chapman , 11— Google Scholar. Cossar, J. Davis, D.

Sex and relationship facilitation project for people with disabilities. Sex Disabil. East, L. European Human Rights Convention. Rome: European Human Rights Convention. Finger, A. Forbidden fruit. New Int. Heiss, S. Hernon, J. Work Soc. London: TSO. Jones, L. Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Lancet , — Kennedy, M. Children with severe disabilities: too many assumptions. Child Viol.

Lamb, B. Disabled in Britain: A. World Apart. Mandl, S. Marchant, R. Myths and facts about sexual abuse and children with disabilities. Child Abuse Rev. Morris, J.

disabled sex

Illustration by Deshi Deng. Since last October, I've used this column to try and shine a light on sex and disability, a topic that's often seen as taboo. I haven't always had a lot confidence with women and have generally taken to view my wheelchair as one gigantic cock block. In high school, I never thought sex with another human being would be possible for me. Disabled milder amorous activity seemed out of my reach. It didn't help that my teachers didn't believe educating teens about sex was important.

I eventually lost my virginity at 23, but, to be perfectly honest, I didn't feel percent ready until I met Joslyn Nerdahl a year later. With Joslyn's help, I have been able to fully express myself in a healthy way. Because of my disability, I already need help with so many intimate things as part disabled my everyday routine, such as getting dressed and using the bathroom.

So I felt uneasy asking somebody to assist me with sexual activities, too. But Joslyn is very good at what she does and understanding what my needs and fantasies are, and I now feel comfortable with disablef sexual preferences. Having gotten to know Joslyn over the past two years, I wanted to ask her about sex important work as a sex surrogate and disabled sex and disability are major arguments in the movement to decriminalize sex surrogacy in Canada.

Want to see what sex surrogacy is like? VICE: So tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Joslyn Nerdahl: I'm 34 years old. I'm a mother of a wonderful seven-year-old boy. I'm a sex educator, and I'm an intimacy coach.

Or I'll say I'm a clinical sexologist. People usually say, "Well, what the heck is that? What does that mean? Sex it considered disablled assisted? In Canada, there is no classification for what we're doing.

So we use the word "surrogacy," and we're gonna be using the word "surrogacy" during this interview. But actually there disabldd no surrogacy protocol in Canada yet. We're working on creating that right now. Surrogate sex therapy really only exists in the US. There's no regulating board, and there's no certification, and there's no training for surrogates at this time in Canada. How did you first get involved with sex surrogacy? I met [my boss] Trish when I was transitioning into my sex-coaching career, and a friend of mine sent me an article about her company.

And she said, "Hey, I think you'd be really good at this job. And so we got together, and it was just a total meeting of the minds. How do you explain something like this disabld a partner or a loved one so that he or she would understand?

That's something that has disableed up for me in different ways a lot over the years. I explain this the same way that I would explain it dosabled somebody that I just met on the street. I'm assisting someone like yourself access their body. And I'm assisting them with their sexual development. Everyone's needs are very different.

I have a partner disabled my life who's extremely supportive of my work and very proud of me. But he's also very openminded, disablsd he's also very mature when it comes to sexuality in general.

How is sex surrogacy different than other sex work, like escort services? The difference between prostitution and what I do is that we were saying 1 this is medically assisted, but 2 it's not just about getting your money.

I shouldn't disabled prostitution's all about money, but if you were just to hire an escort, she's not necessarily going to care about getting you to a better place than when she found you, or to help you disabled whatever it is or help you learn disabled or help you explore something.

The other thing is, she wants your repeat business. With us, we have more of a set protocol. Because emotional attachment is an issue that comes up, especially when dissbled dealing with intimacy like this, there is wex sex on sessions. And there's a debrief that is supposed to happen at the end of each session, to help the clients process what's happened and to help them process any emotional attachments that have maybe come up. And to make sex that everybody stays in a healthy space with it.

It's very sex. The client identifies what it is that they want to explore or what it is that they want to learn or experience, and the coach is there as a guide or as dusabled facilitator. This service is predominantly used by men.

Has anyone disabled had the idea to make it accessible for women with disabilities? We are open to women clients as well—we just don't get calls from them as often.

And it's interesting that you're asking this because I sex just disablled another interview with a PhD researcher from Toronto, and she asked the same question about how often do I see women clients.

I specialize in couples. We've gotten calls from couples where they want a facilitator to disabled and give them some ideas about how they can spice things up and that kind of thing. But yeah, it doesn't seem to happen as often. How similar would you say your field is to forms of therapy—psychology and physical therapy?

A psychologist and a physiotherapist would not be able to deal with the sexual side of what we do without losing their license. And so they need to refer out to someone like us. Psychology comes into play just in understanding where somebody is at in their sexual journey. The physical aspect of it is obviously something that you can't get around, either.

Because that's one of the job descriptions—we are using our bodies to experience intimacy. And so that is very therapeutic. What steps are you taking to break down the stigma between sexuality and disability? I'm really passionate about breaking down the stigma around sex work period. And sex and disability is a huge part of that. I'm proud of the work that I do, and I am happy to put my name and my face to it.

Do you feel that sex surrogacy should be legalized or regulated? I don't disabled that surrogacy should be legalized because then it will be regulated. I think that decriminalization is the way to go because as long as what's happening is happening between two consenting adults, there's no sex anyone should be criminalized for it. All sex work should be decriminalized because it's the easiest way for everyone to stay safe.

Everyone's getting their needs met. And everybody's happier and healthier at the end of the day. There is quite a debate right now about decriminalizing sex work in general. Sex and disability is a major argument. If disablled can xisabled how it makes sense for someone with disabilities to get their sexual needs met by a professional, it's one small step away for them disabled understand that able-bodied people also have lots of legitimate reasons to seek out professionals to fulfill their sexual needs as well.

Maybe they're depressed, maybe they're anxious, maybe they have social anxiety. What do you think Canada can learn from the Nordic model? Canada adopted the Nordic model in That means that selling sexual services is not illegal but purchasing them is illegal.

The people who implemented this think that it's going to decrease demand and that sex completely flawed. There is not ever gonna be a decrease in demand for sexual services. And the reason that that is true is because people are always going to need an outlet for sexual expression. They're always going to seek out ways to do that, disabled it's legal or not.

You're not a criminal for purchasing a service from disable that helps improve the quality of your life. I think that Canada really needs to take sex look at the difference between sex trafficking and medically assisted sex and sex we're doing, what we said, what we're talking about.

There's a big difference. If you've got questions or would like advice about dating and sex in the disabled community, drop us a line and Spencer will try to address it in a future column. May 18pm.

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Sex for money is sometimes the only way to experience sexuality for many people with disabilities. However, sexual assistance is quite different from prostitution. However, societal misconceptions of disabled bodies being non-normative, other​, or deviant has somewhat shaped how the sexuality of.

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