Angie’s story

As Elizabeth’s mum, Angie chose to explore beyond her comfort zones to assist her daughter to lose her virgnity.

NB: All names have been changed for privacy.

Kids, Sex and Disability – A parent’s story

What do you do when your adult child with a disability wants to become sexually active? It was a thorny question. My daughter had reached her mid twenties and had never had a relationship.

I’d always had the worry in the back of my head, but hoped it would all sort itself out naturally in the proper time. When my daughter was about eight years old, my husband and I went to a discussion night on sexuality and we were the only ones there with a daughter. It seemed that it was important for sons to experience sex, but daughters apparently didn’t need to.

One mother told how, when her cerebral palsied son was 21, they put him in a taxi and sent him off to a good class brothel. She worried herself sick, but she needn’t have bothered. He came home with a smile on his face and said he’d been treated very well. That seemed to be the solution of choice, but no one had any ideas on how young women with disabilities could become sexually active.

My daughter had good friends, but severely affected by cerebral palsy, the boyfriends just didn’t come along.

She watched her non-disabled friends going out with boys… and getting married… and was becoming increasingly unhappy and just plain bitchy at times. She hated being single, she said.

Eventually, over our breakfast porridge one Sunday morning, I asked her if she’d like to have sex with someone. She looked at me in amazement, but nodded her head. I’d saddled myself with an unenviable task. How to go about it?

My husband and I talked it over and decided to start where everyone else did at the local brothel. We fronted up to the establishment and sat in the car looking at the door. My husband said, “Which one of us is going in?” I said, “I thought we both were,” so in we went.

The manager was surprised to see us and we got some curious looks from some of the ladies. We told him our problem but he couldn’t help us, as he didn’t have any male workers. He gave us the phone number of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) and said they might be able to help.

By this time I’d just about lost my nerve, so I let it go for a while and then finally I made the call. And I was so glad I did. The outreach co-ordinator was so sympathetic and understanding that my qualms vanished and she promised to get back to me with some contacts.

Well, it proved to be not quite as simple as we’d hoped. There were no male workers in our area who were confident about having a female client with a disability. The SWOP co-ordinator met us when she was working in our area and we all liked each other immediately and agreed to stay in touch and keep looking for someone.

Not long after this, I heard a radio interview with a local woman who had set up a centre for healing and wellbeing and which also offered sex. It was only a few hours drive away. I did some checking with the sexual health clinic and the worker I spoke to was very positive about the place and I also asked SWOP to make contact. With all reports being positive, I rang and again explained my problem.

The manager was lovely. She had a young man who she was sure would be suitable, so we made an appointment.

Her establishment was a secluded property in a peaceful and very beautiful rural area. We arrived with our daughter, all of us feeling very nervous and no doubt they were, too, but it went very well.

The young man our daughter was to meet was there along with the caretaker and her partner. Over coffee we all discussed our situation and our daughter was able to have her input, too. They listened carefully and then our daughter went off for her first “experience”.

I kept remembering the mother all those years ago when her son set off for his first experience and felt just the same. It was reassuring, though, to be nearby and we enjoyed a very nice conversation with our hosts while we waited.

Our daughter seemed rather thoughtful when she emerged with her young man, but she said she’d liked what they did. Since then she’s been back for another appointment and is ready for a third in a short while.

Everyone has treated her and us with warmth and friendliness, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the ways things have gone. It is a basic human need to want to experience closeness of a sexual nature. It’s not just the sex, it’s being held and touched and feeling desirable, even for a short time.

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