How to Maintain a Sexual Relationship With Someone Who Has to Help You Wipe Your Ass

I had unconsciously made it my mission to be sure the guys I dated never had to deal with anything real, anything that they might find gross or complicated, anything that I had previously warned them about that might come up when dealing with me.

Sep 25, 2012 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

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To begin, I must take you on a journey to way back in the day. It was 1997, the year after I graduated high school, and I was terrified by my future. I had already failed my first attempt at college, not because of horrible grades, but because of horrible loneliness and isolation.

My mom's idea for sending me away to college seemed fine in theory, but it turned out that living 24/7 in my dorm room with a 37-year old woman, a 17-year-old high school junior, and a 53-year-old woman who was friends with my grandmother was not the best way to make new friends and experience college life. (All three were hired to take care of me in alternating shifts because I have CP –- cerebral palsy –- and I need complete lift assistance to transfer in and out of my wheelchair.)

This living arrangement was, however, the best way to be considered the weirdest person in the entire building and, as a bonus prize, to bankrupt my family. So, I was back at home, unsure if I'd ever get out again; one weekend, on a whim, my stepfather purchased a new computer. I had heard things, during my brief foray away from home, about what you could do with a computer with one of the newer, faster processors that were just coming out, and so I somehow convinced everyone that the new family computer should be set up in my room. That first night, I found myself in a chat room.

Before I found chat rooms, I'd never had a deep conversation with a guy. In high school, any guy that I tried to talk to more than twice automatically thought I had crush on him, and the next time I asked him, “What's up?” he'd get red, apologize, and back away, never to approach me again, unless it was in a crowd of his friends, which meant that he didn't have to make conversation with me by himself.

Now I was finding myself able to impress and intrigue several guys with nothing but the words that I typed. I carried on long, on-going discussions with all of them every night for weeks and weeks. When the first one expressed a desire to meet, I cut him off and never responded to him again. Then, the others started to ask, and I cut off two or three more; after all, I couldn't just get in the car and go anywhere I wanted like my brother and sister could, and nobody would ever agree to drop me off to meet internet men. And then there was the biggest issue: I'd never even gotten close to being able to tell any of them about my CP.

I quickly started to realize that there were not going to be very many of them that didn't eventually start asking about meeting. So, when the one that I had been talking to the longest finally asked about it, I responded with, “I have something to tell you that will put meeting right out of your head.” And I told him, down to the tiniest detail, about my CP and how it affected my body, my voice, my limbs, and about all the things that it kept me from doing. He let me type it all, and without asking a single question, he said, “Guess what? None of that matters to me, if you could find a way to get to me tonight that wouldn't terrify your mother, I'd drive hundreds of miles to meet you anywhere you want.”

My smart ass responded with something like, “If you say none of what I told you matters, then I can only conclude that you’ve been planning to kill me and have your way with my corpse, because that’s the only way it wouldn't affect anything.”

He was insulted and hurt, but he said that he could see why I would say something like that. I eventually believed that he hadn't been planning to hurt me physically, but I still did everything that I could to test him: I talked to him on the phone so that he could hear the thick slur of my voice, I tried to present the worst case scenarios of things he might have to deal with when he was with me. Nothing scared him away, so we soon met, in public, at the community college that I had just started attending, and he treated me very well.

He treated almost too well, in fact, he acted as if I was a delicate piece of glass that he must never smudge or smear -– let alone crack -– and therefore was more gentle with me than I thought was possible. I was happy doing what we were doing, but before long he wanted to stop hiding and –- I don't even know what: date me, meet my mother? The problem I had was that he was around my mother's age, and I knew for sure that he wouldn't have been accepted by my family, regardless of how he accepted me. I drove him off quickly with my desire to stay hidden indefinitely.

Over the next year and a half, the very same scenario repeated itself with several different guys. They all treated me like they were going to break me, never getting too close, and though they always tried to convince me they wanted to date, they also always maintained an air of formality, which even then I knew wasn't real and couldn't last.

The thing that I didn't know, and wouldn't realize until I had been living with my guy Gary for quite a while, was that I had been making it easy for the older guys to maintain this odd, formal distance, which they kept up even as they tried to convince me that they could date me, could handle my family, and eventually take on my care full time. I had been feeding them an illusion so that they didn't even realize that they were treating me too formally or that dating sounded ridiculous to me because I felt like they hadn't scratched the surface of me and everything that I would need.

Despite my warnings before the first time I met each of them about how difficult being with me could be, I had unconsciously made it my mission to be sure they never had to deal with anything real, anything that they might find gross or complicated, anything that I had previously warned them about that might come up when dealing with me. I never asked them to put me on the toilet at any time, no matter how badly I had to go; I wore the loosest clothes I had so there would be no struggles getting them off or back on; I made sure that my wild curly hair was up tight in an ugly bun or half ponytail so they didn't have to deal with knotted up bedhead afterward.

I thought this was something I had to do to keep the guys interested, I guess, but in the end, I only killed any chance I had to gain an actual partner.

By the time I met Gary, I had only just started to realize what I had done wrong with the other guys, and though I pretty immediately let him learn way more about what it took to take care of me than the other guys ever had, my pride still got in the way of exposing him to the things that I thought were the very grossest until we had already moved in together (at which point I had no choice in the matter).

So, I'd say that the way to allow true intimacy to develop with someone who has to help you wipe your ass is to let him do it early, so he doesn't build up this image of you in his mind that is free of all that. If he has an image of you that doesn't involve every aspect of you in the beginning, then there might be a problem when he has to deal with it later. If you get it out of the way in the beginning and discover he still wants you, then you both win. (That's not really new information, I know, but how many times have you ever heard this advice when the situation that the dude has to deal with involves poo removal? The fact that the advice can be applied to poo removal, I think, means it can be applied in any situation that you may find yourself in, so remember it.)

Now, actually maintaining that intimacy after it has been established can be a little trickier, but I think we all go through that struggle. For me, the vast majority of the gross bodily stuff is confined to the bathroom, and I'm sure he’s been conditioned to some extent to associate these things with the bathroom rather than me.

It isn't always easy for him, and I still have days when I have to fight against the strong urge to shield him from dealing with any of it, but I just have to keep reminding myself that he knows I'd do if I could, and neither of us can do anything to change any part of the situation. Trust me, I've tried, I'm just not flexible enough to bend that way and keep my balance at the same time. I can't do any two physical things at the same time actually, and that gets me into all kinds of tricky situations. I'll never forget how lucky I am to have him them to help me get out of them all.