[Editor’s Note – This year, Gaysi is hosting Crippletine’s Day, a project by @revivaldisabilitymag that is rooted in the belief that all kinds of love should be celebrated, because love itself is a disabled and queer revolution.
The theme of Crippletine’s Day this year is what disabled women, trans and enby folx think of pleasure and how it has changed during the pandemic. It touches upon themes of coping with loneliness, isolation as well as companionship. These narratives are stories of lived experiences of queerness, intimacy, disability, and pleasure.]
If someone had told me that speech therapy was important not only for clear enunciation but also for kissing and giving blowies, I would have done it in more earnestness. And that, dear reader, was one of the great realisations I had while trying to apologise to a boy in pain, whose dick I almost bit off because my mouth doesn’t open wide enough for the job. Here’s how it happened: I went from first to fourth base in a matter of four hours with my first boyfriend whom I’d been dating for four days. I would later make note of this episode as “first …” with the date, in my List of Firsts on my phone that I use to celebrate my physical accomplishments. Other entries on the list were relatively ‘simpler’, like “cut with a scissor”, “sawed open a lock”, “sat on the stairs” etc.
And here I was, hungry for neither this boy’s body nor love. I just needed to know if it was physically possible for me to have sex in the first place. My parents had been concerned, you know; after all, beti ki shaadi kaise hogi? (Translated from Hindi: How will we get our daughter married?)
It was my dad who first told me (and rather awkwardly at that), that I may not be a ‘virgin’ because when the hospital folks once inserted a catheter into my pee-hole as a child, there was bleeding apparently. This story always confused me because firstly, the vagina is a different hole, and secondly, I never understood why this information was important enough to share, and thirdly, what was I supposed to do with this ‘fun fact’ anyway? So before the boy and I went at it, I dutifully confessed my ‘non-virgin’ state and as expected, the boy didn’t quite know what to make of that information either. We jointly decided it didn’t matter.
It was his first time too and he was trembling as he kissed up my neck. When he finally got to my lips, I was ready. I had seen enough movies and read enough erotica to know that true kissing was French kissing and that involved tongue. His lips on mine felt like skin on skin… un-explosive. My tongue sprung to action and would dart out (like a snake’s) in its limited capacity to hopefully add more excitement to this boring activity. And this was the first among many things that didn’t pan out like what I had watched on blocked websites that require VPN access.
Now for the undressing—there was quite some oomph-ing and aah-ing, grunts and sighs. I wish I could say that these were my moans of pleasure but most were shrieks of pain and indications of discomfort as the boy struggled to get my clothes off, learning as he went along, which parts of my body were tight, which caused pain, and how to work around them. We were both panting by the end of this exercise and I admit, I was slightly annoyed at the swift ease with which he removed his own clothes. And so, lying naked on my bed, I suddenly felt obliged to let this lovely boy know that he shouldn’t expect bras, sexy lingerie or figure-hugging clothes unless he was willing to put it on me for the pleasure of taking it off (if that was even a pleasure at all at this point). There would be no shaving either because the process was exhausting and required more intense positions to reach the right spots than even sex itself.
He understood the assignment and what followed was a whole lotta awkwardness and figuring out how two bodies can work together beyond physical restrictions, tiredness, and muscle weakness. The light was switched off to lessen the embarrassment and so, verbal communication—some that were articulate words and some others that were incoherent sounds—became most important. But I must say, it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience. In fact, by the end of it I was quite convinced I was asexual, but the boy promised me it would ‘get better’ with time. I called him over again the next day anyway, not because I believed him but because I found sex to be a much more interesting form of physiotherapy and I frankly, had no qualms about using this someone’s body and love for my selfish purposes. I strategized further: if I could hold on to this person’s love, I would get an assistant/caregiver for ‘free’ and asking for his help would make me feel less obligated than when asking a friend because now I could return the favour in sex, bad as it may be. The perfect transaction.
And so, I was surprised when I choked on my own emotions when he tenderly put my crippled fingers in his warm, moist mouth. I never realised how this simple act could be such a supreme form of respect. Fingers that had frustrated me so much for their inability, were now being sucked on like they were filled with life-giving nectar. For all my practicality and strategy, I never realised how attention to another’s body, down to its simplest and most imperfect parts, can be so powerful an act of respect and thereby, love.
I cannot claim to know exactly when this boy wormed his way into my heart and taught me to love my own body slowly with his mouth, or when his body became my most comfortable mattress, or how effortless I found body-against-body could become. Years since, he can throw me around and I can ride him with (relative) ease. He tells me with pride which muscles of mine have gotten stronger, and frowns in concern when he finds some bone suddenly sticking out more than it should. He takes off my AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis) and massages my feet when they are tired, dresses and undresses me for fun. He delights when my awkward limbs dance and I delight when he awkwardly dances with me.