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In a recent trip to Victoria’s Secret for their spring sale, I made a discovery about myself: My breast size has apparently changed from a 38 A to a 36 C. For the purposes of this discovery, I’ve tossed my old bras and bought three lovely new ones which are comfortable, sensory friendly, and much kinder to my chest. The red marks on my chest have vanished, and I have greater freedom of movement than I did just two weeks ago.

This post could just be devoted to the wonders of a well-fitting bra, and an admonition to all of my woman readers to go to their nearest bra store and get fitted properly, since so many women wear the wrong size of bra. But there’s something else that is on my mind since I got the new bra that I think is worth talking about: Feeling and being sexy and how it’s okay to be both disabled and sexy.

The new bra means that my breasts are getting proper lift and support, and are no longer squashed into an oppressive satin prison. That also means that for the first time in my life, I have cleavage, and I can’t help but look at myself in the mirror each time I pass by. It feels good, not just to be comfortable, physically speaking, but mentally comfortable enough in my own expression of sexuality to be proud of it and embrace it. It wasn’t always that way, because I’m a survivor of sexual molestation, and because I have had to work through a lot of guilt-tripping by so-called well meaning people who believe that disabled people don’t have any business being sexy.

This is dangerous. It means that many disabled children don’t get equipped with the tools they need to develop into sexually aware, healthy adults who have an understanding of their boundaries and preferences. This makes it easy for predatory rapists, including (especially!) family and friends, to take advantage of them and exploit them sexually. I speak from personal experience here, I assure you. Despite many people using child-centric language to describe disabled people (Mental age of X,  Mind of a Child, Trapped in an adult body, struggling with these adult concepts) they still grow up into adults, and regardless of “mental age”, it is important that they have a good grip on their sexuality and are aware of their boundaries and bodily autonomy, even though many don’t really seem to appreciate the bodily autonomy of the disabled *ahem*.

Part of this sexual identity is choosing how you express yourself sexually. It doesn’t have to necessarily be limited to a cleavage-boosting bra. A healthy expression of my sexual identity came in two parts: Getting some closure from my molestation, and continuing to come to terms with my sexual orientation. As that changed, so did my body language, the way I dressed, and the way I acted with my girlfriend. I used to walk in a hunched-over fashion, inflaming my scoliosis, and shuffled to avoid swinging my hips when I walked, because I was frightened of being noticed sexually in any way and having a repeat of my molestation. Now, I walk tall with my head high, and I take long strides. I’m not afraid of my body any longer, and I don’t blame it for what happened. Being proud of being queer has given me new reasons to celebrate my body and my sexuality too. Amazing how a simple rainbow pin can add such a spring to my step!

Most of my experience in how to healthfully express myself came from trial and error. But many people with disabilities may not have as smooth as a transition from the trauma to good sexual health if they experience it, so I would prefer for preventative measures be taken to ensure that healthy sexuality is not hidden from them in the first place. There is no need for a disabled person to fear being sexy.

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