New Mobility’s yearly “Sex, Wheels and Relationships” issue turned 18 this February with the topic of same-sex marriage in “Here Comes the Bride … and Bride” by longtime managing editor Josie Byzek. To celebrate our coming of age, we re-read 56 taboo-breaking articles that have helped define the magazine since 1996.
Has anything changed over the years? Well, we haven’t had anyone send us a shredded copy of New Mobility with a cancellation request since 1997, so perhaps we have matured in our presentation. But we’re still answering your questions on paralysis and relationships: What do I do if I have an accident in bed? Can I find new ways to reach orgasm? Am I still lovable? Here are 10 killer quotes from the archives.
“I’d say I thought she’d be better off with someone who didn’t poop in his pants, and she would say, ‘But I wouldn’t love him.’” (Alan, 1996)
“I have never felt prouder. This strong and giving woman, of damaged spine and limitless backbone, will be my wife.” (Kevin, 1999)
“’I have very strange and complicated bathroom habits. Yes, I can feel that; no, I can’t feel that. I haven’t had an orgasm in two years’ fell out as I looked at the pattern of light on the ceiling and tried to ignore the tears rolling down my cheeks. I had never before made myself so vulnerable. He didn’t act like he was put off — in fact he cried with me. In that moment I gained a deep confidence that he could love me and love our relationship as a whole.” (Annalysa, 2002)
On New Hot Zones
“Before, when I had the luxury of feeling everywhere and being able to move everything, sex had mostly focused on the genitals and breasts — the lazy approach to lovemaking. After paralysis, we learned to focus on wherever I had feeling, to take our time with it. Even that little quarter-shaped spot of feeling on my left foot can be an erogenous zone.” (Julienne, 2007)
On Making Love Like a Woman
“Finally a light bulb went off — this paraplegic guy made love like a woman! No wonder it was so delightful. He cared about me and my pleasure. He wanted to talk about what I liked, what he liked, what we were doing and, especially, how it felt, physically and emotionally.” (Roberta, 1997)
When I have an orgasm now, I don’t just feel it in the usual place (between the legs), I feel it all over my body, like a woman does. It is so intense, it is incredible. I think it has to do with signals coming from the brain to the penis being misdirected and going all over my body and they seem to get stuck. And it lasts for ages. (James, 2007)
On Sex Toys
“We found the Cyberglass Head Gear Chin Strap and the Accommodator — that uses an elastic strap to secure the latex dong right to my chin. It seems goofy and looks ridiculous, but it gives me control and helps me be an active participant.” (Bobby, 2012)
On Body Shame
“When the nurses came in to give me my sponge bath, I would ask them to wash my face first. I knew I would cry because I was so embarrassed, and I thought if they washed my face, they wouldn’t be able to see my tears.” (Jeff, 2006)
On Beating Body Shame
Before, I had always let my body stand in the way of my love. All these years, so ashamed of the pipestem legs, the curve of the spine, a belly like the ripe full moon. What had changed? Was it the year of psychotherapy, the decision to try a new love, a love that had been whispering to me all these years, “Give me a chance”? (Carlos, 1997)
On Lasting Relationships
“I don’t think it’s any different than being with someone without a disability. It’s just our life and we deal with whatever comes up.” (Julie, 2013)
Editor’s Note: New Mobility covers relationships and sexuality throughout the year, not just in the February issue. If you would like to suggest topics or share your story, please contact us here.