Disability and Sexuality
An article about disability, sexuality and relationships. Copyright 2003.
Twelve months ago I was 49 and feeling it. I’d been working non-stop as a Disability Advocate in a highly resistant state for around five years. I was facing burn out. My big five-0 was looming.
My husband of 19 years and I had reached a stage in life where we felt we’d like to become sexually adventurous. We began surfing the web together and, giggling, we started looking up all sorts of things which, when I was growing up, had been considered very “naughty” indeed! A new word “polyamory” caught our attention so, fascinated by the possibilities, we began reading all we could on the subject.
Excitedly, after much discussion and “rule setting”, we each placed an ad on the Australian Polyamory site, “just to see what would happen”.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Australia, Mason and Eques, also in their middle years and of similar circumstance, had recently decided to spice up their lives and were surfing the net in search of titillation.
The adventure began! It’s important to the outcome of this story to note that everything, among all parties concerned, was always done openly and above board. Mason, while surfing the net the day after I’d placed my ad, found the polyamory site and, struck by my patter, he immediately answered my advertisement. His mail was different to the others I received. Neither of us had been overt in our language and obviously just looking for sex or a few thrills. Each night I began deleting the other replies and scanned quickly down the inbox, looking for his name.
We exchanged a number of mails and then he suggested we swap photos and he asked if he could phone me. He did phone and his voice made me melt. I felt wonderful and silly, a bit like a teenager again. With great trepidation I decided this was a good time to e-mail him my photo, before either of us were in too deep. His reply arrived in minutes. He wrote, “So you use a wheelchair? OK. Now, shall we continue?” I asked, “Do you have any concerns about the fact that I use the chair?” “OH! Sure I do!” he replied. My heart almost stopped. “For example, what is the etiquette regarding pushing someone in a wheelchair? Guess I’ve got a lot to learn! Will you teach me?”
Eques had begun net surfing for excitement a few weeks before Mason and she had soon found an e-mail boyfriend. She and Eli “met” when she joined an interest group on the net and they were excitedly e-mailing, phoning and arranging meetings. Three months passed. Mason and I had talked on the phone for around three hours each night. I seemed to be spending a lot of time on the phone and his calls were becoming increasingly important to me. If I had any plans, it was for him to fly to meet me each time I went away somewhere to a conference. Mason was willing and able to do that and we talked about this and everything else under the sun.
During this time, at the other end of Australia, Eques and Eli were getting along famously. After several meetings their relationship had developed to a stage where they wanted more. Mason and Eques drove to Eli’s hometown to meet with him and talk things through. It was decided Eli would move into their home with them. It was August. I was so excited as Mason had made plans to fly to meet me. Interestingly, we’d sort of “fallen in love” on the telephone and when we eventually met neither of us was disappointed. We spent a week together at a resort and it was a fait accompli. He was all and more than I’d imagined from his photos. He was a natural with the chair and showed no embarrassment at all. Returning home, Mason commented to Eques, “You seems to have more energy when you’re in love, don’t you?!” “Yes.” Eques replied. Totally besotted with Eques, Eli moved his wife of 16 years into an apartment, sold the house, left his job of longstanding, moved into the house with Mason and Eques and began working with their company.
Just weeks after our seven glorious days together, Mason and I knew we each wanted more. “I don’t want you at the other end of the country,” he said. Mason flew me to his home city for a few weeks to see how things would go. As the end of my holiday approached, I couldn’t bear the idea of being away from him again so I quit my job and public life and simply stayed. We slept in one end of his big house while Eques and Eli lived at the other.
All four of us had spoken on the phone and discussed arrangements by e-mail before I’d arrived and now the four of us lived here. At this stage there were still plans of sharing everything except bedrooms and each other. It wasn’t exactly polyamorous, we were actually just housemates. It was not as easy as we’d all imagined it would be. Even as “old hippies” we all proved to be more conventional than each of us had believed. We certainly failed as polyamorists, and quickly failed even as housemates! There was no jealousy, we were just two couples in love who wanted our privacy. We progressed to dividing the house into two homes, which was relatively easy, as originally it had been two houses that had been built together. Eventually, due to vastly differing tastes in music and lifestyle choices, this arrangement didn’t prove to be ideal either.
In hindsight, choosing to follow the path we did was less than ideal as there were stresses and tears and eventually jealousies of a non-sexual nature. We’d changed partners and undertaken such rapid and momentous life changes all at once and it was difficult at times, but I’m sure none of us would have listened to any advice of this nature when we were making our decisions.
Today, relations among all previous partners are still amicable and Mason and his (ex) wife continue to run their successful business. Eli is working in his trade. My husband and I are still friends and, I’m pleased to say he has found a girlfriend quite near to where we used to live. Ten months on, Mason and I are deeply in love. Eques has moved to another state and, with Eli’s help, is developing a branch office there. They sound very happy.
Today, it is divorces, settlements and new beginnings all round.
Isn’t life exciting? Just when I thought I had my life mapped out, I turned fifty and made a whole new beginning at the other end of Australia. Works for me!