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Wheelchair Worship

Monday, June 20th, 2011 by
Wheelchair Worship

Image: Close-up of legs and feet resting on a footrest and gray wheel of an electric wheelchair. Feet are clad in black patent-leather maryjanes with 4-inch heels, laced with ribbon.

 

When this picture was taken, I had barely begun adulthood and I thought my life was over.  I was twenty-one.  Many of my health conditions were undiagnosed or untreated.  I was sick.  I was tired.  I wanted to think of myself as strong, but I was just a kid who was lost and confused because my body was breaking.  I felt isolated from my friends, who couldn’t understand what I was going through.  I couldn’t take care of myself very well.  I was so tired that getting out of bed took a huge effort.  If I wanted to go somewhere farther than my apartment, I had to use a power chair.

I have never felt less sexy than when I was in my wheelchair.

My chair is not sexy.  It is upholstered in a color I can only describe as “medical gray,” a color that says “I have zero personality.”  It is a color that says “I am functional and not sexy, because why on earth would I need to be sexy?”  The plastic of the chair is red, but not a “fuck me” red.  It is not a red that evokes any sort of lust or hints at any secret desire.  It is a “we needed to make this a customizable, so you have a choice of red or blue, isn’t that nice” red.  The chair as a whole is bulky and not especially well-designed for comfort.  Form, I suspect, was not a factor in its design.  It is simple, but inelegant, minimalist only insofar as it has few features.  It is almost purely designed for the function of getting from point A to point B, and, truthfully, not very well even for that.

Disabled sexuality is virtually erased in our society.  People with disabilities are, at best, considered nonsexual, entirely lacking in sexual identity.  At worst, we are seen as perverts merely for having sexual desires.  And we are, above all, undesirable. The aesthetic of my power chair reflects this–why bother make something sexy when the person using it isn’t going to be having sex?

There is a difference between impairment and disability.  To borrow a definition from Stacey Milbern, “impairment is the reality of what your body is able to do, and disability is what society disallows your body to do because it has an impairment.”  I have a degenerative illness.  Whether I am in a wheelchair or not, my body is impaired.  Pain and fatigue are not perceivable by the naked eye.  But once I sit in my wheelchair, my disability becomes visible and I can no longer  “pass” for able-bodied.  When I sit in my wheelchair, the status of my disability does not change, but the way society views me does.  Suddenly I am an object of pity rather than desire.  When I roll down the street, people avert their eyes.

I don’t want people to see “past” my disability.  I want them to see me as a whole person, including my impairments.  I have fucked someone in my wheelchair.  (I have fucked a couple of someones in my wheelchair, actually, I mean, not to brag or anything.)  It was physically awkward and uncomfortable, and also? incredibly hot, because I was living out this idea, that my illness is a part of who I am, deserving of love, just like the rest of me.  I also tended to dress more provocatively when using my chair for a similar reason–I wanted to forcibly turn people’s eyes toward me, to demand from them the desire that I knew I deserved.

The photo at the beginning of this post is one of the oldest sexy pictures I have of myself.  I took it to make a point.  I wanted to confront people with their preconceptions about disability and desirability.  With this picture, I wanted to do what social norms prevented me from doing, to scream, “Look at me!  SEE me.  Recognize me as who I am, a sexual being!”

I no longer use my powerchair.  I still have it, but I am on a combination of medications that render it unnecessary, at least for the moment.  I do still use a manual wheelchair in certain circumstances.  I dream of the day when pushing my wheelchair is seen as a service, not a chore.  Some day sleek, sexy wheelchairs will be the norm.  Some day someone will worship my wheelchair, and me, in my wheelchair.  When that day comes, I will sit as in a throne, and I will be powerful and broken and beautiful and whole.

 

 

9 Responses to “Wheelchair Worship”

  1. Paul says:

    Well said.

  2. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    You are like steam, it rises for a reason, it’s hotter than the surrounding gasses and less dense.

    Chris

  3. Hayg says:

    A truly wonderful post highlighted by a truly wonderful line: “When that day comes, I will sit as in a throne, and I will be powerful and broken and beautiful and whole.”

    Hayg

  4. FFL says:

    I think that as far as wheelchairs go, yours is pretty sexy. The red is as sexy a shade as I have ever seen, the chrome hubcaps are shiny, and the seat looks kind of like an office chair, which definitely has hotness potential. Maybe think of it as your mobile Big Bad Boss office chair?

    If you just-plain-don’t-like the look, why not decorate it? Repaint it, add designs, 3-D art, whatever you want?

    I have dated people with disabilities in the past, and I can only imagine how frustrating and scary it must be to face them. Thanks for having the guts to put all this out there, and congratulations on another post very well done.

  5. Professor Chaos says:

    FFL–I love your take on the seat–it does look a bit like an office chair, although the upholstery is different. But I’d advise you to hold off your judgement of its sexiness until you’ve seen it in person. Pictures don’t quite capture the feel of it. And while it’s true that personalizing and decorating a chair can be fun and empowering, I can’t change the basic design element of it. I would like something sleek and elegant. The one I’ve got is pretty clunky. There are some that are sexier, but most are not. Style is not something normally taken into account in the design of mobility devices. (This is something I’d like to see change!)

    Thank you for your comments, as always. :)

  6. […] the one who coaxed me out of my camera-shy shell.  He took some of my earliest fetish-y photos (in fact, he took the second picture of me at the bottom of Wheelchair Worship.)  He bought me my first PVC corset.  He was one of the first people I told about my forays into […]

  7. Wheelieblind says:

    I use a powerchair as will, Its a high end complex rehab style chair as 1 I needed it & 2.I realy dislike the gray car seat with red casing EVERY TIME (or almose every time) I don’t have a problem with anyone in one, but I’d pimp it all U can without spending a hole lot of money… U can put a cool car seat cover on it for starters. Whats up with that gray chair with red casing deal being so common thats crazy, as a young adult I go with the other colors and have many choices ladies could of gone with hot pink etc. ok. But I believe someone can take a gray hoverround lol put a special needs younger person in it :-) get a body point looking strap around them and a headrest etc. depending on their needs, :-) and work it, lol ok. Look even if you are not special needs and can use a walked or whatever, its a figjt for beter equipment, and it might as look good too U all need to fight ether way if your condition is severe or not, and if U already have a lemon, make lemonade. I made a video showing some of the ways I pimped my powerchair on youtube, and found some other peoples videos to, you might want to check it all out for some ideas. If you have any good ideas this may be a good place to share them too. Plus some people don’t have a camera to make videos with.

  8. Owen says:

    “Some day sleek, sexy wheelchairs will be the norm.”

    Sleek sexy wheelchairs are here now. I know; I have one.

  9. […] Wheelchair Worship « Lab Coats & Lingerie June 23, 2011 Leave a reply […]

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