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Most people assume that if you're disabled, the greatest barriers to sexual expression are physical barriers. The truth is that everyone can figure out a way to be sexual, and almost all of us can find a way to have sex that works for us, if we want to.

How do you masturbate if you can't move your hands? This may be the most common misunderstanding of what is difficult about sexual expression when you live with a disability.

to have sex with."Of course there are many single, non-disabled people who also have a hard time finding a partner.It's true that the norms of desirability and beauty affect most of us negatively.But there are specific ways that disabled bodies are singled out as not sexy and not worthy of dating and this exclusion has more to do with societal norms than it does with the potential of any individual to give or receive intense sexual pleasure.In every community and culture, there are norms about who is considered attractive and desirable and who is not.You are judged not for what you have to offer but for what others assume are the things you lack.

The advice to just try harder or smile more subtly reinforces the idea that you need to do is change yourself and everything will be fine.Advice to get out there and be nice may not be completely off base, but the cheery tone of the advice can feel ignorant and insensitive.Instead, let's try to talk about things as they are.These norms are not random and they are not universal or "natural." Often, but not always, people who are identified as disabled are treated as undesirable, unlovable, and unsexy.Even though most of us will have some experience of feeling undesirable and not attractive enough, it can be hard to imagine what it's like to be told all the time in subtle and direct ways that you simply won't ever be considered sexy by anyone, and that you actually aren't even a sexual person.Over time, these messages take their toll, and people can come to believe that they are not sexual, that they are incapable of giving or receiving sexual pleasure, that they are in fact not fully human.