Let’s talk about women’s sexual health, especially disabled women, sorry not sorry gents this might not be one for you but definitely stick around as you might learn something new!
It’s time we/us as disabled women spoke more about the barriers we are still facing when it comes to sex, periods and cervical screening. It’s definitely a subject we don’t speak enough about but most definitely should be. As who will teach the young disabled women plus make it so they don’t face the same barriers we all face today.
Let’s face it, It’s one of those subjects most of us shy away from disabled or non-disabled, it’s even more difficult when you have a disability because people have an assumption that we don’t or can’t have sex, periods or need smear tests because our bodies are seen as medical, not sexual.
Surprising this is one of the biggest questions I’m asked by someone I know or a complete stranger ‘can you still have sex, or want sex’. Shock horror Disabled people are out here having sex, let’s make that clear, But even when people accept that there is still a presumption we only sleep with other disabled people, so it doesn’t matter if we’re having safe sex or not – we can just have hanky-panky all over the place with each other without checkups.
It seems to be common practice to perceive people with disabilities as objects rather than complete people
I have Muscular Dystrophy a Progressive muscle-wasting condition and as my body changed year on year so the things like having a period or smear test became harder.
My husband is my full time care giver so does all of my personal care needs, trying to keep that level of women mystery about you is difficult in a relationship – plus how do you ask or even expect your partner to help with a period every month? so I made the decision to have a Marina coil fitted this stops all my period so I’m able to manage my period that way I must stress this might not work for all this if my personal preference.
Society’s view is that disabled people don’t, won’t and can’t have sex.
So what happens when no one will discuss sex, cervical screening and periods with you when medical professionals are letting you down when it comes to your sexual health, or when those around you see you more as a child than a sexual being.
With funding for sexual health services in England and Wales drastically cut in the past five years: it’s reported £64m less is being spent on services, equivalent to a 10% budget cut, according to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV. A restructuring in 2013 has also seen responsibility for sexual health fall to local councils rather than NHS England. These cuts pose problems for all users and with Public Health England saying they seen a growth of 5% in the past 12 months in 2019. But with additional issues faced by the 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. These is already a lack of access to these health centres I.e no hoist, large enough room and bed available or untrained staff.
The real danger with the lack of access, understanding and knowledge. Disabled women are missing out on vital test/treatment like smear tests and contraceptive. My own experience with access to smear test I had a 10 year-long battle to get access for a re-tested after an abnormal result and a 5 year out of date coil resulted in me having to spend 24 hours in a high dependency unit and being put under for an operation just for a full fanny MOT!
I received so much negative backlash sharing my fanny MOT story online from the non-disabled community but that just shows the lack of knowledge, understanding and ignorance when it comes to disabled women and sexual health – it scares me to think of the thousands of women with disabilities that don’t have access to life-saving treatment like the cervical screening just because of the lack of access no one should have to go through what I did.
So what needs to happen we need to see better access at GP surgeries and sexual health centres and better education across the board when it comes to disability and sex, Not talking about these important subjects can lead to somebody feeling like a lesser person, feeling less desirable.
Just because we have a disability doesn’t mean we’re not hot and sexy!
Most of all, as women with disabilities we should feel empowered to talk about sex, periods and Cervical screening because it could save lives.
So let’s get talking ladies let’s show the world just because we have a disability we are sexy, sexual and deserve to be treated as just that and receive the same medical treatments as other women.
Please support my friends petition for better access: by clicking on the LINK
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