‘The Best Sex I’ve Ever Had Was with a Quadriplegic’

How phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions led to greater in­ti­macy

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

‘ Ifirst met An­ton En­gel­brecht when I went for a job in­ter­view about three years ago. He was my in­ter­viewer. He was ac­tu­ally one of two in­ter­view­ers, but if you were in the room that day, you’d never have thought there was some­one else there with us. An­ton and I only had eyes for each other. He was so cap­ti­vat­ing when he spoke; there was some­thing in his eyes that de­manded your at­ten­tion.

‘I got the job, al­though we didn’t pur­sue any­thing while we were work­ing in the same of­fice. But even then, our at­trac­tion was ob­vi­ous.

‘Al­though An­ton was wheel­chair-bound when we met, he hadn’t al­ways been a quadriplegic: he was in a rugby ac­ci­dent when he was 22 and in his fourth year of medicine at var­sity. A scrum col­lapsed, in­jur­ing his spinal cord; from that mo­ment on, he was never able to walk again. It took him six weeks in hos­pi­tal and al­most five years of read­just­ing to his new life – learn­ing to cope and to be in­de­pen­dent – to fully re­cover.

‘I never saw An­ton as a man in a wheel­chair be­cause he made it im­pos­si­ble to view him like that. He never ap­peared any­thing other than in­de­pen­dent, and he re­fused to let his phys­i­cal chal­lenges re­strict him, work­ing in a se­nior po­si­tion, and fly­ing be­tween Pre­to­ria and Cape Town for work. While An­ton can’t walk and has re­stricted move­ment, he does have some mo­bil­ity in his hands and arms – al­though this is lim­ited.

‘I even­tu­ally moved on to an­other job; that was when we started dat­ing. Be­cause An­ton was quite tra­di­tional, we only slept to­gether af­ter eight months of see­ing each other. In the lead-up, we did all sorts of other things, in­clud­ing oral sex, but never pen­e­tra­tive sex.

‘As we got closer in those months of dat­ing, we talked more and more openly about hav­ing sex for the fi rst time. An­ton was very up­front about what he could and couldn’t do – like not be­ing able to do the mis­sion­ary po­si­tion, with him on top, for ex­am­ple. While I was sad not to be able to ex­per­i­ment with him as much as I’d have loved to, I knew from our in­ti­macy and oral sex that he was able to get an erec­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence an or­gasm. We played games to ex­plore and ex­per­i­ment with each other in a way that helped me un­der­stand his phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions – I’d touch him some­where, and see whether he could feel it. As I moved my fi ngers around his body, I re­alised that de­spite be­ing para­plegic, his skin could feel my touch al­most ev­ery­where. He could feel my breath against his neck; he could feel my touch on his legs; he could sense the weight of me when I leaned against him.

‘When it came to hav­ing sex for the fi rst time, I re­ally wasn’t ner­vous. With so much com­mu­ni­ca­tion and hon­esty lead­ing up to it, I felt more com­fort­able than I ever had be­fore hav­ing sex for the fi rst time with a part­ner.

‘We went away for the week­end to a place by the sea – some­where An­ton had been be­fore, where he knew his wheel­chair could ma­noeu­vre around, where he could get him­self into the shower and lift him­self with his arms onto the bed. That helped to make him feel more at ease, too.

‘We’d spent the day watch­ing rugby, then went to a restau­rant for a winefi lled din­ner. Over din­ner we talked about sleep­ing to­gether that night, and An­ton took a pill of Cialis to help him with his erec­tion – mostly to main­tain it for the du­ra­tion of pen­e­tra­tive sex. The pill takes about 30 min­utes to work, so we had to plan around that. That was some­thing very dif­fer­ent for me: with some­one who isn’t able-bod­ied, you have to get used to invit­ing other as­pects into your re­la­tion­ship, like plan­ning around a pill. We had to think – and talk – about things a lot more than with an able-bod­ied part­ner; spon­tane­ity wasn’t re­ally an op­tion. Sure, that de­tracted from the mood a lit­tle, but it also in­vited open con­ver­sa­tion that made me feel in­cred­i­bly se­cure and com­fort­able. It re­ally felt like we were in this to­gether.

‘Af­ter din­ner we’d had a ball with me push­ing him back to our ho­tel, laugh­ing and jok­ing as I raced him along the pave­ment. When we got back to our room, we headed straight to the bed­room. I helped An­ton onto the bed and we started kiss­ing. I slowly un­dressed An­ton, and then un­dressed my­self. He helped me peel off my top and un­der­wear. It was em­pow­er­ing to be guid­ing the pace at which we moved – I had to be, for prac­ti­cal rea­sons, but it was also amaz­ing to be in con­trol, some­thing I had rarely felt when be­ing with some­one for the first time. While some might think the lack of rip­ping off of each other’s clothes takes away from the pas­sion, An­ton’s to­tal re­spect and kind­ness in those mo­ments were fore­play enough for me!

‘Be­cause his phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity meant fore­play in­cluded a lot of talk­ing, it also opened the door for An­ton to ask me what I liked and what I wanted him to do to me. It was lib­er­at­ing to have a man ask that so hon­estly – and to re­ally lis­ten.

‘Slowly we built up to the sex, with me mov­ing to be on top of him – the only po­si­tion we could re­ally do to­gether, given his lim­ited mo­bil­ity. Since his body was re­stricted in what he could and couldn’t do, the fo­cus was on my body: my move­ments, my speed. I was in charge. Through­out it all we kept ask­ing each other if we were okay, if we were en­joy­ing it – it was the most safe, in­ti­mate, car­ing sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence I’d ever had. It was also the first time I or­gasmed from pen­e­tra­tive sex be­cause I could dic­tate ex­actly what we did and for how long. Ev­ery­thing was geared to­wards me – I was the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

‘We’ve been to­gether ever since, and al­though An­ton’s dis­abil­ity re­stricts us from try­ing out things like crazy sex po­si­tions, it’s al­lowed us to de­velop a deep, open bond. And I’ve learnt to be in con­trol when it comes to sex, and to talk hon­estly about what I want. Above all, be­ing with An­ton has shown me that sex is more than an or­gasm, and that in­ti­macy is more than phys­i­cal­ity.’

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