Sex, Romance, and Disability
Once I was asking my friend Ariel if I was being foolish by including my psychiatric diagnosis in some online personals. She said the best thing, “It’s an asshole filter!” It’s true. As much as I feel my romantic possibilities have been severely limited by having a diagnosed psychiatric disability, I also feel like I don’t want to be involved with someone who thinks I’m an idiot or will chase them down the hall with a knife. I could go on and on about the lack of compassion many people feel towards all of us with disabilities or chronic health problems, but it won’t change the fact that they are assholes missing out on hotties. And it won’t change the fact that at some point in their lives, without exception, they will be in the exact same situation as me.
It was pretty hard to be in my mid twenties dealing with psychiatric issues on my own and being treated weirdly, and definitely not being viewed as a sexual person at all. I think most mid twenties folks run away from someone they think is going to be too “high maintenence.” I think older people do too. I’m kind of glad I didn’t have a girlfriend when I went nuts, just because it would have crushed me to get dumped when I got released from the hospital.
So I haven’t had a really nice girlfriend since I went crazy, I haven’t had any at all in fact. But I also haven’t been involved with anyone abusive, which happened to me before. In fact, yucky girls have pretty much left me alone. So maybe the asshole filter does work.
The issue of being crazy and being into BDSM is also fraught with it’s own conundrums. The motto “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” takes on a whole new meaning. Can someone who is certifiably insane still engage in the sexual practice they’re used to? I say yes. Being bipolar involves long stretches of sanity, in fact, I’m sane far more often than I am insane. I’m sure some players would disagree with my continued desire to engage in BDSM activities, but those are probably the same people who if they were vanilla would be scared of me chasing them around with a knife. In fact, having a psychiatric disability has lead me to be extremely sensitive and cautious with my emotional limits and my levels of trust. I probably have more insight into my own emotional safety in certain scenes, particularily humiliation/degradation scenes. I also have a really clear picture of my possible triggers, and have already come up with ways to get around and past it. For instance, I know I’m going to have a really really hard time with bondage. On the other hand I know if I have a long detailed conversation about what I need to get through my first post hospital bondage scenes, I’ll probably be able to have fun with it again.
Yeah, I guess having a disability of any kind means some (or a lot) of people don’t want to date us, but on the other hand the people who do are more likely to be people who are able to have serious long term relationships. And that’s really the only kind of person I want to be involved with.