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This is an extremely common question that is probably asked under breath rather than straight-out in casual conversation more often than not.
I know this because I've been in this position many times while on the dating scene as a man that uses a wheelchair, as well as committed in a couple of meaningful, long-term relationships that many of us have experienced at one point in our life—the meaningful relationships that we think back on and then ask ourselves, "what if?"
However, this is not about regrets of what could have been with a significant other, but rather what it's like to be with that significant other that uses a wheelchair.
First of all, we must begin with the premise and recognition that dating or even falling in love with someone that has a disability and that uses a wheelchair is a "different" experience of that with someone that does not have a disability. To think there's no difference is a form of conscious denial and frankly, I have placed very little interest in misleading myself.
I've dated women that have used a wheelchair as well as women that did not require a wheelchair. This gives me a perspective from the first-hand experience that I can share, as well shed a little light on the subject and maybe learn something new in the process myself.
Let us also keep in mind, those that use a wheelchair are very much the same as those men that don't use a wheelchair with the various other aspects of any relationship. This should never be taken for granted or side-stepped for any reason. The obvious is not always a true representation of someone that uses a wheelchair, unless of course a person has a fetish for wheelchairs and/or the user and that's something that I won't be entertaining today.
What's inside someone reflects more so than what's on the surface. Beauty is only skin-deep and that holds so very true with individuals that have a disability.
Once you scratch the surface of anyone, you'll find "imperfections" and the more you scratch the more you'll find. However, with someone with a disability, their "imperfections" are usually "worn on their sleeves." Hence, there's very little "scratching" when it comes to appreciating a person that has a disability.
Dating someone that uses a wheelchair may take some time with adjusting to the "do's and do not's" with any particular individual.
Such "trivial" things such as, "is it ok to push his wheelchair or can I sit on his lap?" Or the all so common questions, "can he father children, can he feel?"
All these questions are common as well as welcomed by the wheelchair user, and in most cases mandatory if you're to advance in a relationship with an individual that has a disability.
The questions are many and the answers are not always the same for everyone. However, the effort can be one well worth the commitment and time, just as in any other meaningful relationship. Love can be "blind" and that's a disability that is welcomed in my book.
I cannot stress any more than I already have on how very different individuals that have a disability are from one another—just as different of those that don't have a disability, I can assure you. So if you really "dig" your Knight in shining armor, take the time to know him. Not only open your heart but open your mind and go with the feeling.
After all, chances are you have not taken a crash course on dating a man with a disability and are making stereotypically applied judgment calls before even giving that person a chance to educate and explore with you. You'll only be cheating yourself by not educating yourself and that's never a good thing.
Let us say you're a lady and you go on a date with a man in a wheelchair and the small talk leads and gravitates to a further and personal level of questions as well subject matter. It's absolutely fine to ask questions of sexual "ability/inability." You'll usually get a straight answer (pun intended) that will break the ice in furthering the conversation.
However, for some that use a wheelchair, this topic may not be as approachable as it is with others, which brings me back full circle on the differences and individualism of those that use a wheelchair. My thinking is as follows. It's better to be inquisitive if truly interested in an individual rather than beat around the bush and guess at the answers to your questions.
Another noteworthy scenario is, it's not appropriate to ask someone you are just getting to know that has a disability how they use the restroom. For all you know, that individual that's using a wheelchair uses the same method as most individuals without a disability.
By the same token, just as it would be inappropriate for a guy to ask a lady if she uses tampons or pads when she has her period, that would be extremely distasteful and what's good for the goose is good for the gander, I always say.
You're not alone, ladies. Many others share your very same concerns and thoughts. I'm telling you it's ok to feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, maybe ashamed, and even embarrassed. A plethora of emotions that seem that will never end is natural and understood by most of us that use a wheelchair. Direction, not rejection is what is most needed to understand men that use a wheelchair.
However, there's one thing you don't have to be, ladies, and that's alone. Most individuals that have a disability have a wonderful story that follows them around and ultimately defines who they are. With that story comes a great understanding, self-awareness, and a sense of compassion for life and how truly fragile it can be.
Making for an excellent life partner and friends and, if lucky, lovers that will grow old and live to talk about the adventure and journey they have been through together.
Here are a few tips that are rarely shared that can assist those who are "Wheely" looking for love...
The first date: There are no rules of thumb here when it comes to most guys that use a wheelchair. Holding hands and kissing are usually some of our many enjoyable sound hallmarks. Late night conversation and even a night out dancing are some areas most excel at that use a wheelchair.
Playing footsies under a dinner table may not be an option for some that use a wheelchair. However, after a long walk (NO Beaches!) there will be a lap for a lady to have a seat, rest, and if fortunate, a sweet ride down a boardwalk.
Most guys that use a wheelchair will give the lady the gentleman-like benefit of the doubt that she won't "put out" on the first date. Hence, he may not be "prepared." (No one wants to waste a Viagra.) Hence, on the second date, ladies, watch out!
For some guys that use a wheelchair, when asking them, "how far down can you feel?" most guys will respond that they only have the sensation to the point of their "injury" of their spinal cord and feel above that point of injury. Others will fib, for the same reason someone would lie about their age and then say they feel everything. Others will say normal or with some "patchiness" of sensation.
For most guys that have an SCI (Spinal Cord Injury), the area of the scar on their back is an area of extreme sensitivity. For many, it's an erogenous zone and should not be ignored. Here's an opportunity to explore and grow closer while getting to know your knight in shining armor.
This area of injury is a great indicator of the level of "normal" sensation for an individual with an SCI. Also note, above the area of injury becomes hyper-sensitive. Knowing this is very important if you want to really know your Knight in Shining Armor...
Next time when you're alone, lay your man on his stomach and imagine his scar and the level of his injury is an ice cream cone. Explore him as you would want him to seek your areas of an interest and do what comes naturally.
Biting, sucking, licking, brushing over these erogenous zones with a feather, a whip, etc. What's that old saying, "Whatever floats your boat?" However, I hope that I've made my point clear.
This alone will enhance the experience for both partners tenfold. That's what I mean about exploring just as you would someone that may not use a wheelchair. I cannot express enough, ladies, how focusing on these areas when it comes to the physical aspect of an intimate relationship with a man that uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury is extremely essential and vital for a lasting and satisfying relationship.
This information will also serve you ladies well, especially during those occasions when you may find yourself in a situation that some may describe as a "quicky" mood and that a wheelchair is part of the equation.
Men that use wheelchairs are also drawn to oral sex with his partner and usually at any given time, I must admit. (Hint, hint.)
So with all this knowledge, what are you waiting for? Find your man. He may have already said hello to you...
And together with someone you love that uses a wheelchair, nothing is out of reach, even Wheel-love...
Good things take time. Great things take effort. Beautiful things take love...