From performance anxiety to difficulty achieving orgasm, everyone experiences sex-related complications of some kind, but it’s difficult for most able-bodied people to imagine what sex might be like for somebody with a disability. Depending on the particular disability, activities that most able-bodied people take for granted may have to be approached in a very different way.
Kaleigh Trace is a disabled queer woman, and in her new book, Hot, Wet and Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex, she relates her experiences navigating sexual situations. While not all of her book directly addresses sex and disability, her various serious, amusing and often sexy anecdotes look at sex through the lens of someone with a disability.
“I was in a car accident when I was nine and sustained some pretty catastrophic injuries. Now I’m 28, so for most of my life and all of my adult life I’ve been disabled,” Trace says. “I’ve had to learn my body and how to be sexual in this body in a different way from most people.”
Candour is required for a book of this sort to be hard-hitting, and Trace seems to have a boatload of it.
“I have a lot of bladder stuff. I can’t hold my pee very long, so part of being out in public for me is navigating bathrooms. Where can I find them? Are they accessible? So there’s a lot of potty humour in the book,” Trace says. “Like what happens when I have to pee when hooking up with somebody for the first time.”
Trace is a sex educator at Venus Envy in Halifax, running workshops on sex and sex-related topics. She also maintains a sex advice blog called Fucking Facts. So, sex is kind of her thing, but this is her first time writing something focused mostly on her personal experiences.
At the Ottawa launch of her book, Trace will not only read passages from her work, but will talk about sex and disability in general, including such topics as sex toys, positions and masturbation.
“I feel pretty happy about a lot of parts of my life, and this book is about the things in my life that I love and about the stuff I’m still trying to figure out. I’m still working on understanding what being disabled can look like for me,” Trace says.