However, I'm aware that I'm very lucky to have the use of my body and to be in good health; to be physically independent is a priceless gift.
Woman C: Because of my specific disability, I have to be almost hyperaware of my physical body and specifically my heart rate at all times.
Women with disabilities are often portrayed either as fragile flowers or oversexed, needing to be protected from the world and from their own sex drive. The symptoms range from mild dizziness and brain fog to completely debilitating autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Now, I have regained mobility through ongoing biofeedback treatment and can go throughout my average day with mild to moderate symptoms like increased heart rate and pain. I feel like I'm very aware of how fragile the body is. It also pushed me to seek advice from a high-risk ob-gyn — literally years before I'm planning on having children, just so I could get an idea of what pregnancy — or infertility — would look like for someone with my disease. I still worry that some of my essential medications might hurt a pregnancy. I was a teenager when I had my injury, so my body was in a state of change anyway.
Woman B: I am paraplegic due to a spinal cord injury. I've had depression on and off since I was 7, and anorexia for the last two years. How has your disability affected your relationship with your body, for better or for worse?
Woman A: Dysautonomia, which causes chronic fatigue, dehydration, fainting, and I also have an immune deficiency disease, which means I have a greater susceptibility to infections and a harder time than normal fighting them off. Woman D: I've had Ehlers-Danlos all my life, but it got a lot worse when I was 23.
In this week's Sex Talk Realness, spoke with five women about their experiences with sex, dating, and living with a body that doesn't always work the way you want it to. I'd rather not need to wear a catheter; it's not the most aesthetically pleasing device in the world! If I could have my stomach muscles back I'd be delighted — to have a toned stomach and better balance would be brilliant.
Woman C: POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), a form of dysautonomia. Woman A: I've had my fair share of disfiguring surgical scars and my disease can mean fluctuating weight, but it also makes me appreciate all the things my body can still do.
Woman D: Obviously anorexia means I have a difficult relationship with my body.I have dipped into anorexic behavior in the past and eventually managed to pull myself out by focusing on how strong my body is and all the things I can do physically.