LIFE LESSONS

Seeking Sex And Love While Growing Up Gay And Disabled

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.58.53 PMGrowing up gay isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of advantages that even the queeniest able-bodied gay in the reddest state can easily take for granted.

As Ryan O’Connell recently wrote in a personal essay titled I Wouldn’t Fuck Me: My Life as a Gay and Disabled Man, growing up disabled and gay can be a real nightmare.

Ryan has cerebral palsy — a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture, and despite learning to adapt, his surgery scars and limp are things he’ll never be able to part from.

These differences caused understandable insecurities for Ryan as a kid, and add into the mix a teenage exposure to gay culture that seemed solely interested in the ideal Adonis figure, and sex/intimacy remains a real challenge.

He writes:

Having a nice body meant everything. I spent all of my 20s in three major metropolitan cities filled with hot people, which didn’t exactly help my odds. Maybe in Kentucky I could’ve gotten laid, but in a place like New York, a city that attracts the best-looking people in America, I was a gay Grendel.

Of course, I didn’t strike out all the time. I had my fair share of drunken hook-ups and dated a few guys here and there, but I always stopped things before they got too serious. I stayed celibate partially because no one great wanted to fuck me, but also because I suffered from serious intimacy issues. It was a vicious cycle. I craved physical affection, but the second a guy touched me, I freaked out and felt unworthy.The gay disabled guy does NOT get to have amazing sex, I’d think. The gay disabled guy does NOT get to have a relationship.

I think gay guys will always be shallow and want to fuck someone with a gym body, but if we can give more face time to normal-looking gay guys and explore diverse portrayals of gay life, I’ll be happy. Because honey? I don’t want to ever turn on my TV again and see someone like Jonathan Groff pretending to be shy about taking off his shirt. That shit just ain’t right.

Read Ryan’s full essay here.