Sex is weird for a lot of us. It can be weirder still for people with disabilities — not necessarily because they're disabled, but because of the ignorance and misinformation that often prompts able-bodied strangers to ask awkward, invasive questions about their sex lives.
While sex and disability are often treated as if they're incompatible, the reality couldn't be further from the truth: People with disabilities enjoy sex just as much as anyone else. That's the premise of a new campaign by the U.K.-based group Scope, a nonprofit advocacy group for people with disabilities, which aims to normalize sex and disability by getting back to basics — starting with the alphabet.
Scope commissioned graphic artist Paul Patemen, who works under the moniker Paté, to illustrate an A to Z guide to sex for people with disabilities as part of its End the Awkward campaign, an effort to change attitudes around disability.
The brightly colored illustrations are partly inspired by people's personal stories about dating and intimacy, and they present sex with disabilities as it really is: fun, fulfilling and, most importantly, totally normal.
"As soon as I saw the idea I was sold," Paté told Mic. "I love anything a bit cheeky, and I love creating illustrative alphabets, but also I loved the idea of normalizing sex and disability. We're all human, we all have lusts and desires."
Each of the letters Paté designed tackles a different aspect of sex and disability, the majority of which are simply parts of sex: I is for "intimacy," O is for "orgasm," P is for "PDA" and, of course, T is for "Tinder."
"I think irreverence and humor are great persuasive tools, they have a way of making people relax and listen," Paté said. "So if I've done my job, people will want to engage with the alphabet and access the great content behind each letter, and be left in no doubt that being disabled and having sexual desires is all perfectly normal."