Conversations are easiest when you can start on the same page. Luckily, when you’re ready to tackle sex and disability, there’s now the perfect starting point.
With communication tips and avatars of all body types, A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability created by queer disabled cartoonist A. Andrews invites everyone into the conversation. Though the guide was created for disabled people who want to learn better ways to have sex conversations with doctors, caregivers, and partners, it’s really for everyone, kinda like sitting in on a guest lecture. But there’s one piece of work that’s gotta be done before you crack it open.
“I wanted to assume humanity. That was maybe the important thing to me,” A. explained. “I thought a lot about how I was gonna put disabled people at the front, and ultimately I decided to not even approach why this was important.”
Before publishing work for companies like Autostraddle, Bustle, and Refinery29, A. studied art therapy and worked for not-for-profit organizations and service programs to serve commonly underserved communities. They said a lot of their professional life has been navigating conversations around sex, identity, and how to live with this formed identity and navigate a world that doesn’t fit you. This guide balances humor, light dialogue and consent-focused language with illustrations that show a spectrum of disabilities and body types.
There are panels that help you find better ways to ask questions and address common myths about disabled bodies, and Andrews’ dedication to representing a range of skin tones keeps everyone in the conversation. A. wanted the guide to model how these types of convos could be simple for others to pick up.
“When I was considering how we can talk about this nuisance and big topic in a quick and concise way, you have to find comfortable ways to communicate,” they said. “It was about breaking down the ways we talk about it that tend to shut us down.”
Quick & Easy is a short enough read to finish in one sitting or its pointers can be absorbed and tested out soon after. It’s completely up to you, reader. In any case it’s a great entry point into larger conversations being had in all parts of the internet, but don’t credit A. has the first for jumping into this type of work.
“I love being a person who’s out and speaking but I recognize and acknowledge that I’m one person, one approach to these things. Everything I’ve learned comes from people who came before me, a vibrant community of people doing cool things,” A. said. “The reality is that this is one way to look at it. Humans being open to finding another way if one way doesn’t fit, it can kind of push to the forefront a conversation that a lot of people are having.”
Indeed, there’s room for new audiences who are interested in learning how to better support our disabled community. First step is adding this guide to your bookshelf, and adding a few from the additional resources section in the back as well. Just as I am learning, be gentle with yourself and soak up all you can because as A says:
“We’re all here cause we know this matters.”
‘A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability‘ is part of a series from Limerence Press. For other titles in the series, including ‘A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns,’ click here. For more disability resources and more with A. Andrews, check out my conversation with them on the Feminist Erotica podcast, via Anchor Feminist Erotica or Apple Feminist Erotica.