Cocks & Bonds: That Time I Considered Hiring a Sex Worker as a Man With Disabilities

I'll be honest. In fact, I'll be as honest, forthcoming and real with you as I think I ever have in a blog post. It has been about 9 months since I last "Netflix and Crippled" with another guy. It has been a pretty long time since I have lain with another man in my bed, or had access to my sexuality in the way that I want. The first few weeks, I let it go -- trying to immerse myself in work things, and consistently telling myself that this was adulthood: sex wouldn't come as easily now, but this was okay because 'a lot of people go through dry spells, right?' I kept trying to tell myself that this absence of action had nothing to do with my disability. Of course, the more I forced myself into this narrative the harder it was to believe this myself.

As the weeks turned to months, I started to accept the fact that maybe I just wouldn't have sex again (okay, I realize how melodramatic that might sound to you guys, but this is indeed what I have been feeling). I'd look down at myself in my chair, or wake up in the middle of the night in bed, one of my pillows propped behind my back to keep me comfortable (which one of my care workers had ironically named 'Manny'), and resign myself to the fact that I am alone, and I'll have to be okay with that (if you were to look inside my brain during this time, it's like a Sia video wherein my libido was dancing around, but no one is there).

If I am to look at the last several months with any sincerity, I am not okay with the way things have gone, by way of my sexual access. I have been really upset that the reality of my life as a man with disabilities; plagued by issues of location, attendant care needs and blissful ignorance or lack of awareness on the part of my community of fellow Queers, means that I have gone almost a year without an affectionately sensual touch from another man.

Within these long nine months, a time longer than many celebrity couples have lasted, I have started to consider the fact that I may have to hire a sex worker in order for my sexual needs (and at this point, it is a need much more than a want) to be met. I have been toying with this idea for some time now. It's kind of funny, because as I do the work of advocating for Queer Crips and meet more people who work in this industry, my sociological understanding of sex work has broadened exponentially in scope. I understand the value of sex work, and I know why it is important for many different reasons -- I promise you, I get that.

All that being taken into account, I was surprised how quickly all the shame around the idea would come rushing into my thoughts about it. My brain would look at the situation, and agree that as I am an adult with disabilities, this was a perfectly respectable course of action I could take to scratch this long burning "crip-itch" if I wanted to. In that same breath, the doubt in my heart would tell me something completely different, reminding me that because I was disabled, this was the only way that I would ever get some from now on.

The more I thought about it as a potential avenue, I would hear myself say that this is not what 'real men' do (even though I know that narrative is completely fucked). I would hype myself up by saying that, I could "go and get it" just like everyone else, that I didn't need to do it this way, that this wasn't "for me," as if I should have higher standards than this. The inner dialogue of shame and fear is very, very real -- and in those moments, I often wonder if other men with disabilities who have considered hiring/ or who have hired workers have gone through the same? Getting to a place where one is comfortable paying for playtime as a PwD is a process that I am emotionally exploring, and haven't fully come to terms with yet.

Putting the emotions to the side a minute, whenever I would log into the sites to search for my sexual savior, I would find ads where workers would sell their services for upwards of $300.00 an hour. The reality of disability means that I cannot work a 9 to 5 job, and I live on a fixed stipend when I can't find consultancy work. Simply put, 1 hour would cost me almost half my living allowance for the month. Q: When was the last time you had to prioritize pasta over peen? You might think that if this were so important a need, I could save up, right? Given the high cost of things like leg bags and other essentials that are required due to disability, the whole idea of saving up for some sensuality isn't really an option.

I remember a couple of times asking some sex workers for disability discounts, feeling the absolute worst in that moment because I was simultaneously proving my poverty and my palsy all in one sentence. Le. Sigh.

When I am with a man, in whatever context, I want them to be there out of a genuine desire. I worry that if I were to hire a worker, they would take my disability dollars and forget, or not care, to dive into the delicate, crumbly cripple dessert that is my lived experience. While I understand the need for a professional boundary, I am concerned that I will just be a "crip on the radar" if you will, 'a client,' not a confectionary delight that stays with them long after we've settled up the bill.

Despite all these fears, worries and wonders, in many ways I am excited about the idea hiring of a worker because I can have a say in crafting the experience that I want. I might finally get the sex that I want and need all in one, with someone who has made it their job to please me, instead of me worrying whether I have pleased them.

Disability and sex work is never openly discussed within an emotional capacity. I think we need to explore what this investment is really all about; we need to start asking: how does it feel to pay for sex or sexual pleasure, not necessarily because you have the capital or even the desire to, but because you feel you may have no other choice? Is this an experience that we as PwD should proudly own and occupy as ours, or should we be looking for more 'authentic' inroads to intimacy? I also wonder if renting a relationship by the hour is actually more real than we realize: No confusion, miscommunication or misunderstandings, right?

I believe that we need to look at the internal processes that play out when PwD consider contractual connections, and also attempt to uncover the hidden values, introspections and costs that might come with that.

Thank you for reading my latest piece, if you are interested in my work, know that I give workshops on the lived experience of being queer and disabled. Contact me andrew@deliciouslydisabled.org to see how I can make disability accessible to the lgbtq+ community.

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