YEP Volunteer Blog – Vanessa Vlajkovic: Try It Without Your Eyes & Ears – Sex from a New Perspective

One of the aspects of sex that’s taken for granted by most people, is being able to absorb the sights and sounds involved – by this I mean the moans and groans and the whispers of ‘I Love You’ that accompany the passionate act. (Obviously not all people who have sex together love each other, but you get my point.)

So how would you feel if you couldn’t gaze into your partners eyes while making love, soaking in the heated expression on their face? How would you feel if you couldn’t hear them scream your name as they came?

This blog aims to give some insight on how an individual who is deafblind experiences sex in their own unique way.

There are some adjustments that may need to be made in order to ensure sex is as successful and pleasurable for the deafblind person as it can be.

Let’s start with communication. Many people who have dual sensory loss use sign language, often ‘tactile’ sign – meaning they rely fully on touch to understand what’s being said.

As such, sex could potentially take longer for a deafblind person than someone who’s not deafblind, because they need more time to interpret cues and receive/respond to questions. In other words, it won’t just be a quick fuck, as it is for quite a lot of people.

There needs to be patience and it should never be rushed – sex is possibly the most meaningful physical contact to someone whose sense of touch overrides all other senses.

Sexual activity aside, let’s talk about relationships. Obviously, they aren’t going to work how a typical relationship would. It’s common knowledge that trust should be a huge part of any relationship – but imagine for  second how much harder it would be to give yourself over to someone you haven’t known for ages. It can be quite scary and as  a result many deafblind will not open up easily. Unfortunately, people will still take advantage of others, especially if they know that the person can’t read body language, facial expression or hear voice tone. Consequently, falling in love and building a romantic bond will take much, much more effort and time.

From another angle, using Tinder and other apps could be massively challenging, and unsafe, because a blind person will not be able to see someone’s profile photo, and before they knew it they could be talking to somebody VERY inappropriate.

To put it simply, deafblind sex will be different to wheelchair sex, which will in turn be different to just boring old mainstream sex – this isn’t a bad thing at all of course, but it’s worth understanding if ever you come across a deafblind person who takes your fancy.

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Vanessa Vlajkovic

Hi! My name is Nessa and I’m 20 years old. I’m studying Journalism at Edith Cowan University, with a Public Relations minor. I am an avid reader, writer, traveller and cheerleader. I’m also a passionate advocate for the deafblind community, and for other types of disability. I’ve been on the committee of the Youth Disability Advocacy Network (YDAN) at YACWA for a few months, and through them have developed a desire to become a YEP volunteer, as I want to expand my horizons.

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