Paralysis and being intimate

Watch Gary Karp give a talk on the impact of traumatic change on sexuality and intimate activity.

Karp is an internationally recognized public speaker and author. He has been living, fully, with a T12 spinal cord injury since 1973 when he was injured in a fall from a tree at the age of eighteen.

For his unique and extensive contributions to disability awareness, in 2007 Gary was inducted into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame as a disability educator.

These videos are part of a talk that he gave at the 2008 Abilities Expo in Minneapolis.

Relationships

There are many different aspects to a healthy relationship besides physical intimacy.

Health

The healthier you are, in the context of your disability, the more options you will have for sexual experience.

Guilt

It's not unusual for an able-bodied partner to feel guilty for having full sensation, but this does not have to be the case.

Possibilities

There are many possibilities for sexual relationships regardless of the degree of disability.

The Talk

If you have a disability and are starting a new relationship, sooner or later you need to have "The Talk."

Creativity

Sex with a disability might not look or feel the same as able-bodied sex but it doesn't mean that it should be any less enjoyable, you just need to get creative.

New partners

Having a disability should not stop you from pursuing new relationships.

Existing couples

When disability happens within an existing couple, the whole relationship is impacted.

Confidence

One of the most undervalued aspects of sexual attractiveness is confidence.

Emotions

Sex is much more than just a physical act, emotions play a huge role within intimate relationships.

Grief

Grieving the loss of sexual function is part of an initial adjustment process to disability but it does not define the experience for the rest of your life.

Asexuality

Gary Karp poses the question: "Who says you need to have sex?"

Love

The key aspect to a truly fulfilling relationship is love.

Adult materials

What are the benefits and possible detriments of the use of adult materials?

Redefining sex

People who have experienced traumatic disabilities go through a process of redefining their identity and specifically, their sexuality.

Alternative sexuality

How can alternative sexual practices work with disabilities?

Sex On Wheels

In this recording of a webinar on the subject of sexuality and paralysis, Gary Karp discusses facing changes and loss.

About Gary Karp

Gary Karp is an author and speaker whose goal is to enlighten society to the radical changes that have taken place in what he calls "Modern Disability." A wheelchair user following a spinal cord injury he incurred in 1973 at the age of 18, Gary has produced four books, written extensively as a disability journalist, and speaks to a wide array of audiences, including, business, government, and associations, where he is remembered for his passion, clarity, and humor as well as his dazzling juggling skills! Learn more about Gary at moderndisability.com.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.