NOTE: This post contains images that may be considered NSFW or inappropriate for some readers.
Every time I see those obligatory bathroom shots of the really attractive guy posturing at his mirror in the hopes of enticing a part-time lover for the evening, I let out a wee smirk of excitement and giggle. This is primarily for two reasons. First, I must admit, I love seeing people own their sexuality, and whenever someone has the stones (puns intended) to be that bold, it is a turn on of epic proportions. It's like they're saying, "this is who I am. Deal with it." Confidence is one hell of an aphrodisiac in my books.
The second reason that I gleefully grin at these types of photos, is because I am extremely envious of the ease with which they were taken, how simply the individual whipped off their clothes without a second thought, and took the picture. In a matter of 20 seconds, the guy is completely au naturel. He is baring all in the buff, independent of anyone else's hands or help. What I would give for it to be that easy.
For the deliciously disabled, getting naked holds with it a few connotations, challenges and a level of connectedness that I want to expose for you all.
1. 2 Hours or Less:
First of all, for me to take the same obligatory bathroom shot would take forever and a day. I remember one night when I was in college some years ago someone had asked me to send them a dick pic. Not being the least bit shy about unpacking all that I have to offer, I decided to oblige this individual. I looked down and realized that I had to try to figure out how to get my pants off. Unlike the mere seconds it would take my counterparts to perform this action, it took me almost 2 hours to push the pants down off of my body. At this point, I was red in the face and huffing and puffing (and not in the ways I wanted to be). By the time I was done, I felt like I had won every Olympic race ever (I would especially get the gold in size -- cough, cough). When I eventually sent the selfie to him, hoping that he would approve, he said the angles were weird, and could I take another one. If only he knew the struggle that I had just gone through to take this for him. Bah! There I was with my pants down, alone in the dorms unable to pull them back up on my own, hoping that no one came in right at that moment.
2. My Nudity reminds me that I am Different:
There have been moments where I have looked in the mirror and lamented my "broken" body that looks back at me. My disability belly protrudes forward while my underdeveloped legs lead to my twisted toes that curl in on themselves. Then there is the gigantic scar from my spinal fusion surgery that goes from my shoulder blades to my bum. Each of these markers have, at times, served as reminders of everything I can never be, no matter how hard I try. Okay, we could sit and wallow in this, but let's rewind a minute, and explore that deliciously disabled body once more.
Imagine that you were lying next to me, tracing my body with your fingertips (it's a great visual, so go ahead, take a minute). Here is what you would find: If you traced from my shoulder blades down my spine, instead of seeing the scars of a surgery long past, you would twist and turn down every curve of my body, the line acting like a roadmap to the treasure trove that is my seldom seen behind (which I have heard is fantastic). Move along across my smooth skin to my disability belly, which acts as the keeper of my emotions; it is there that I have kept every feeling for everyone I have ever liked. Then you will reach my legs. Once you put your hands on them, they open, spastically inviting you in. My feet are curled and my toes twisted, but that only adds to my originality. This, and, you can say that you really did make my toes curl. My body is indeed a wonderland, full of detours and diversions that everyone should dive on into.
3. I am Naked, I am Free:
Each and every day, I am dressed and strapped into many different devices. I have a leg bag attached to me first thing in the morning to which my 'manhood' is secured. I am then dressed in clothes that I cannot remove myself, and that can sometimes feel tight and confining (imagine your pants being bunched all day). In them I try to look at presentable and passable as possible. They lock me into the normalcy that I constantly crave. Finally, I am strapped into my wheelchair -- both my feet and my lap are belted in tight. Very rarely do I have the opportunity to revel in the purity, possibility and positivity that is the naked form. Typically, that is only reserved for showering or the bathroom. The nakedness is necessary, purposeful, and perfunctory.
The whole idea of walking around one's apartment naked is luxurious, extremely appealing and is a fantasy that I often dream of. The reality of this would mean having to explain to my attendant why I wanted to do so, deconstructing my disrobing. It would then lose all of its appeal, and it would no longer be my moment as a man. When I get to be naked, I am in touch with all that makes me whole. No straps, clamps or buttons that are just out of reach, denying me access to the sexiest parts of myself. No judgment. I am free. I am not what I should be or could be. I simply am. No apologies or abnormalities here.
When you look at the disabled dude in the nude, you could see vulnerability, disability and deformity. Your gaze could be one of disgust and fear, followed by the desire to leave. But, if you took a minute and looked just a little bit closer, you'd see that the one who is sitting before you is in fact, 32 flavors of delicious disability you have yet to sample. Shall I get you a spoon?
This post originally appeared on the blog A Dose of Deliciously Disabled
To find out more about my work and the Deliciously Disabled Campaign, promoting a new language around sex and disability, go here.