I went to college at Edinboro University after my injury to gain the benefits of a more accessible Environment transferring from Clarion University. I had already experienced a couple of years in college before the accident so I was fairly comfortable with the coed crowd. And I got a kick out of the openness of some students.
Dave was a buddy also in a wheelchair. We had found a comfortable place off campus to live and we spent some evenings in town to just hang out. We had been sitting at a large round table near the middle of the bar exchanging stories, jokes and just daily college grunge when this attractive girl walks up between Dave and I from behind and places her hands on our shoulders. I didn’t recognize her and I doubt Dave did either. She leans in and asks, “can you guys still fuck?” As I was cleaning the beer from my nose, Dave simply said, “I’m paralyzed, I’m not dead.” So I invited her to sit down and join us for a while. The conversation had just taken on a whole new direction.
This has actually happened a couple of times over the years with variations on the diplomacy and tact of the question. A good way of testing the persons knowledge of spinal injuries is to say, didn’t you know when a guy is paralyzed, his penis is erect at all times unless we take medication? And just see where it goes from there…. The Department of Rehabilitative Medicine from the University of Washington School of Medicine posts a page on Sexual Function and Fertility after SCI. (spinal cord injury) Another link to consider reading Sexuality and Disability. Or you can read My Personal Thoughts on the subject.