Blindness and Low Sex Drive
Blindness and Sex Drive
A clinical psychologist in private practice in Seattle, I have been working with a 35-year-old blind man and his partner, a sighted woman, for quite a while, counseling them on his low sex drive and inability to get or sustain an erection. As a blind person, he isn't sure what is "normal" in terms of psychosexual development or turn-ons in the absence of visual stimuli. He seems to have a "take it or leave it" feeling about sex. Do you have any advice?
AnswerSadly, literature on sexuality and sensory impairment is almost nonexistent. Many disability and sexuality researchers have been less interested in researching this topic because sexual function is often not affected in people with sensory disabilities. However, as we both know, the sexual development of people who grow up with sensory impairments is much different than in their able-bodied peers.
It has been my experience that blind people have a hard time believing they are sexually desirable. I believe it has to do with a number of different factors: an inability to see how they appear to others, not seeing themselves as "desirable" in their partner's eyes and believing discriminative stereotypes that people with disabilities are asexual.
I recommend the following for getting over the hump, so to speak:
- Bring sex toys into the couples' sexual repertoire, which can help spice things up and give tactile stimulation of penis-like and vaginal-like devices.
- Listen to sexual instructional films or erotic movies, if possible, with a sighted assistant interpreting.
- Listening to erotic books on tape, which tend to be more descriptive than erotic films.
- Talk about sexual fantasies and perhaps get a book of fantasies on tape.
Dr. Linda Mona, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in disability and sexuality issues and a disabled woman living with a mobility impairment.
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