Sexuality Of The Disabled Or Lesser-abled


For most people, sexuality is a very intimate part of their personal life which they do not wish to share with others (with the exception, perhaps, of a few very close people). On the other hand, other peoples’ sex life is of great interest to a large part of the population! ‘Leaked’ sex clips, controversial sex-related films and mass media grab eyeballs and attention like nothing else. While some people watch these videos and photos to satiate the voyeuristic bug within them, others watch them to compensate for their own secret sex-related problems. This article talks about sexuality of the disabled people…

Still from Margarita with a Straw

Kalki Koechlin and Revathi in ‘Margarita, with a Straw’

Quite a few people seem to face problems in their sex lives (erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory incapability or lack of interest and inability to reach climax), either due to lack of confidence or as a result of a physical disability. But researchers, therapists and scientists have been trying to explain a very simple thing to us, which unfortunately has taken quite long for us to realize – sexuality doesn’t end when a person suffers a disability.

Also read: Am I Queer?

I’m sure you’d agree that there are literally hundreds of ways in which one could experience sexual pleasure. Even when one loses all the physical sensations in their genital areas, one can still experience and achieve sexual closeness, pleasure and satisfaction. Unfortunately, pornography has imbibed a wrong perspective in our minds about sexual needs and gaining pleasure, so much so that we forget how simple and innocent this act of love really is.

Still from Margarita with a Straw

Kalki’s character laila in the film ‘Margarita, with a Straw’ discovers that she is a bisexual

This is why I’m so grateful to filmmakers like Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar, who have made a masterpiece like ‘Margarita, with a Straw’ to wake us up from this terrible apparent illusion. The film, starring powerhouse performer Kalki Koechlin, tells us that sexuality is nothing but a form of communication; it is simply expressing one’s own personality to another person by way of this act of love. The film shows Kalki’s character suffering with cerebral palsy and how she embarks upon a journey of self-discovery in terms of her sexuality and sexual orientation. Kalki’s character wants to feel special, she needs some love (because she deserves it) and the film shows how she falls in love with a man first and then later (after nursing a broken heart) realizes she can also find love in a woman. This discovery of her bisexual nature and the fact that she chooses to be independent really touched me at a deep level.

Also read: Emotional happiness in a couple is the gateway to sexual satisfaction

If we are lesser-abled or we lose some of our physical abilities in a horrifying incident, society conveniently turns against us treating us like helpless and hopeless cripples. Again the media may be responsible for this stance of the greater public. But, thankfully, times are changing. It was in celebrated filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Black’, starring actress Rani Mukerji, that we first saw and learnt that disabled people also have sexual desires. The scene in which Rani is curious to know how it feels to be kissed (having never experienced it) and legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, who plays her teacher in the film, gives her a kiss so that she knows, was absolutely beautiful!

Still from Black film rani Mukerji Amitabh Bachchan

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Black’ showed us how Rani Mukerji’s character asks for a kiss having never experienced it.

Most disabled people are considered objects of care and are never given the opportunity to discover their sexuality. Today, I speak as one of those people who are not treated the same as others. Why are we always treated as being terminally ill (when we really aren’t)? Why are we not expected to lead regular lives which include starting a family? Why can’t I have the complete and absolute freedom of enjoying a healthy sex life?

Let’s not wait for the answer, let’s be the answer!

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