DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Dating & Sex with a Disability

Other

Danielle Sheypuk

Campaign to Change

Sex, romance, and dating are hot topics in our culture. While I was getting my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, I noticed that they spread across race, gender, age, and various other demographics, but for some reason people with disabilities were almost completely excluded from this topic. When I began to date, I noticed myself stymied in a host of negative stereotypes. Asexual, physically unattractive, unmasculine/unfeminine, weak/dependent, and infertile are just a few. But, the other part of me felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City but just in a wheelchair. I had no role model to talk to or ask advice from to help me through this discrepancy and this is what has driven me. We, as people with disabilities, have the exact same dating and sexual needs as the rest of the population. But we are highly likely to have been restricted in finding fulfillment in these areas. While there have been many campaigns designed to improve the lives of people with physical disabilities, very little attention has been paid to improving their romantic relationships.

My mission is two-fold: change society’s antiquated perception of disability through major media. I started by winning the Ms. Wheelchair New York pageant. I went on to be the first model in a wheelchair to “walk” the runway at NY Fashion Week. Along with the many speaking engagements, modeling events, and interviews that I have done, I also had the honor of doing a TEDx Talk. This is the only TED Talk on disability and sexuality. Secondly, I built a therapy practice where I practice telepsychology, or seeing my clients over the Internet with Skype. I started my practice with the intent of making it easier for people with disabilities to attend therapy sessions. But, I have found that telepsychology makes it easier for all my clients, both with and without disability. My specialty lies in the areas of dating, relationships, sexuality, and disability. To read more about my campaign to change the negative image of people with disabilities and have our sexuality recognized by society, I welcome you to visit my website: daniellesheypuk.com

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