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Thanks to her mother, who had always been open and positive about sex, Trace applied at Venus Envy when she was 22 and was hired.Around the same time, she began masturbating more and figuring out what worked for her body.
Dixon looks every bit the poised, self-possessed Olympian, and she was—except for one area of her life in which she felt painfully insecure.
Seven years ago, Stephanie Dixon, the 17-time Paralympic medallist who was widely considered to be one of the best female swimmers in the world, appeared on billboards across the country.
In the ad, Dixon, then 26, exudes confidence and defiance in a black one-piece suit: her eyebrow is cocked, her arms are crossed, and her biceps look cut as she poses next to a slogan that reads, “She doesn’t want your sympathy.
“People assumed I was very confident in my body, traipsing around in a bathing suit,” says Dixon.
“But that’s very different from being considered a sexual being by someone you’re attracted to.” For years, Dixon was afraid that potential partners would be disgusted by her body. I just didn’t think anyone would want to have sex with me,” she says.
“So I did what a lot of marginalized people do—I pretended I wasn’t different.” Related: By the time she was ready to be sexually active, Trace was no longer in a wheelchair.
But she was using two canes to walk, and still had to contend with bladder and bowel issues.
So she began to teach herself (and eventually others) about men’s bodies, about how antidepressants can affect libido, about the ways in which people who live with cerebral palsy and other conditions can have sex—and eventually started a blog, The Fucking Facts, to address some of those questions. There’s no funding here to look at sexuality, so it falls on the hands of whoever is comfortable talking about it,” she says. But these portrayals still exist on the fringes, and finding them is not easy.
And although there’s more information out there now than when she started at Venus Envy eight years ago, she’s still longing for more pop culture portrayals of disabled people being sexy. *** Pop culture, from which we take so many of our sexual cues, has been sorely lacking when it comes to realistic depictions of sex and disability.
In an episode of has featured characters with disabilities that range from a spinal cord injury to an amputated hand to dwarfism.
And in the fashion world, Jillian Mercado, a model with muscular dystrophy who uses an electric wheelchair, has appeared in campaigns for Diesel and Beyoncé.
By 19, she’d fallen into a pattern of only making out with men when she was drunk.