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Attraction To Paraplegics

by B.
The Reason For Making Contact
I'd like to begin by stating my reasons for writing this. I first encountered the OverGround site about six months ago, but it's only during the last few weeks that I have taken the trouble to read it with any care. I was indifferent to it at first, chiefly because I didn't believe that it addressed my own situation. It seems to deal chiefly with the concerns of men who are attracted to amputee women. It seems to take for granted that it is the amputee's stump itself which is attractive. And it seems to be preoccupied with finding out why it is that some men are attracted to such women. I, on the other hand, am attracted to women who use wheelchairs, to paraplegic women especially. I do not find any particular part of such women attractive - I'm not attracted to the wheelchair itself, nor to paralysed legs as such. And I don't need to worry too much about why I am the way I am, because I believe I know the answer - although I would accept that these things should always be left open to reinterpretation. So, at first, my reaction to articles dealing with attraction to amputees was one of bemused, short-term curiosity. I should also confess that I find some of the writing a bit heavy going. The subject matter is pretty esoteric, and the writers are often of formidable intellect, so the whole thing is a bit much for an ordinary chap such as me. But I can't help thinking, on reflection, that I do have something in common with these people, and it's clear that they are genuine individuals who, like me, are grappling with a difficult and unwanted situation. So I would like to connect with them if I can.

A Brief History Of Me

My story begins when I was fourteen years old. I went to visit an aunt who lived in a distant town. I had never been there before. I was a typical adolescent whose thoughts and fantasies were exactly the way we imagine every fourteen year old's thoughts and fantasies to be, and my sex life was still firmly contained within my imagination.

I was walking around the town centre on my own one day. There was a woman in a wheelchair, wheeling herself along the pavement ahead of me, heading in the same direction as me. There was a carrier bag full of groceries hanging from the handle behind her right shoulder. She was alone. She would have been about forty, but at the time I would probably have regarded her as 'old', or at least middle aged. At first I hardly noticed her. We came to a sidestreet, and I was about to overtake her as we were crossing it. There as a dropped kerb on the other side, and she was pushing herself towards it to get back onto the pavement. But she must have misjudged it somehow, because, instead of going up onto the pavement, her front wheels bounced off it, and she almost fell out of the chair. The groceries spilled out of the carrier bag, and I remember scrambling about trying to rescue some oranges which had rolled into the gutter. As I was doing so, I heard the most amazing outpouring of swearing and cursing that I had ever heard from an adult. It sounded all the more dramatic because she had a very aristocratic accent, and the various Anglo-Saxon expletives were delivered with a venom which I could only admire. I put the oranges back into the bag without a word.

Her feet had fallen from her footrests and she had to lift her legs back into place. I watched this in a state of terrible embarrassment, wanting only to run away. She never looked at me, and her eyes never met mine. She said thank you to me for picking up the groceries, but she said it very coldly. Then, more carefully this time, she wheeled herself back to the kerb and up onto the pavement. I walked quickly ahead. The pavement was on a hill. It wasn't steep, but I realised after a few yards that she might be having some difficulty in getting herself up the hill. I turned to offer to push her, but when I looked at her face, for the first time, I stopped. To this day, I have never seen a face carry an expression of such anger, bitterness and hatred. I was right in thinking that she was finding it hard going, getting up the hill. But there was no possibility of offering help. She appeared to me to be engaged in a deeply significant private battle, and she had to get to the top of the hill herself. Nobody offered to help her. She wheeled herself slowly past me, ignoring me completely, her eyes firmly rooted to the pavement in front of her feet. I recall I felt quite shaken by this experience, but there was absolutely nothing sexual about it. It was the passion in her eyes that impressed itself on my mind, not the physical characteristics of her disability. But the impact soon faded; I had other things to occupy my thoughts. Four years later, I was at university and in a normal relationship with an able bodied girl. I hadn't given wheelchairs another thought. I was in a disco, one of those bad ones which are held in unsuitable rooms with cheap sound and lighting equipment. I was with my girlfriend. A crowd of people came in, and among them was a girl in a wheelchair. She was attractive, heavily made up, and wearing a low cut top to accentuate her cleavage. This caught my eye, chiefly because I had never seen a girl in a wheelchair making herself look so obviously sexy before. She was laughing, and pouting, and having a good time the way people do.

I didn't get the chance to speak to her, and, indeed, didn't especially want to. But she must have made an impact on me because I spent the following day thinking about her, and about the older woman I'd seen five years previously. Still no connection with sexual attraction as such - except in the sense that this girl was definitely attractive generally. I never saw her again. Now fast forward fourteen years. I have a good job, a house, a mortgage, all the usual things. I also have a wife, an able-bodied one, having settled down after a number of relationships. We've been married for eight years. It's not going well. I'm unhappy and I don't know why. In fact, it's going very badly indeed. I misbehave, and everyone gets to know about it. She throws a tantrum and walks out. The mariage is over, and I'm more upset than I care to admit. Still, I get on with my life. I start 'dating', and discover that it's a bit different as a single thirtysomething from the way it was a youth. I'm enjoying it, but I can't help feeling that I'd rather be with one special person, if not permanently then at least semi-permanently. I spend quite a lot of time on my own. It's nearly twenty years since I saw the woman pushing herself up the hill. And then, one Saturday, I'm in a department store. I see another woman in a wheelchair, and for some reason my head turns. She's about my age, and she has a very pretty face. She looks a little sad, perhaps, but then she sees a small child and smiles, and she has a lovely smile. I guess, from the way that she is sitting, that she's a paraplegic. I don't exactly follow her, at least not consciously, but I end up in the curtain department, where she's looking at material. I pretend to look at some as well. I want to speak to her but I can't think of a single thing to say. Eventually I tell myself how stupid I am and walk away.

No sooner am I out of the shop than I am filled with a desire to go back in. As I arrive back in the curtain department, she's leaving. She wheels herself towards the exit. Then she goes into a bookshop, and I find myself staring at books which are of no interest, just to be standing near her. And then I realise that this is totally unacceptable behaviour for a grown man, and I leave and go home. I was very shaken by this. I cancelled my Saturday evening out, and stayed in to think. I'm thinking still, and not always very constructively.

Thoughts At The Moment

At first, I tried to kid myself that I was attracted only to her - a sort of 'love at first sight' scenario which involved, by definition, that person and no other. But this is the type of thing which, frankly, I'd never believed in before and still don't. I couldn't stop thinking about the other two women from all those years before; especially the first one, whose battle to reach to the top of the hill unaided had impressed itself so much on my mind. By far the most disconcerting aspect of the whole thing was that it was suddenly quite obvious that I had had these feelings all along. They might even have contributed to the failure of my mariage (although I've subsequently revised that line of thought because there were a lot of other things involved). I realised, for the first time, that my head tends to turn every time I see a wheelchair, and my eyes tend to linger (not to stare, I hope I never stare) if the occupant is an attractive woman. And this is the crucial point. I feel no attraction at all to the wheelchair itself. Nor to the physical disability of the occupant. To be attractive, she has to be pretty, and smartly dressed (not necessarily a stunner, but presentable). She also has to be intelligent - I've never felt attracted to a woman who was dim and the wheelchair factor doesn't change this. This is why I say that I probably have little in common with men who are attracted to the stumps of amputee women: I have no focus on any particular object (so I suppose the word 'fetishism' is inappropriate as well). The attraction which I feel is to the woman herself. The wheelchair, or the paralysis, is the key which releases the emotion; it is not, in itself, the object of desire. I have no interest at all in braces, unless of course the wearer is a paraplegic woman. I said at the beginning of this little essay that I believe I know why I am the way I am. I've had about eighteen months in which to think about this (eighteen months during which, incidentally, my contact with the opposite sex has reduced alarmingly), and I think I do know the answer. My only doubt lies in the fact that I know nothing at all about psychology; the subject has always bored me. It may be that I am stating the obvious, or it may be that my conclusions are fatuous. Judge for yourself, and by all means let me know what you think. It goes like this:

The Reasons Why

A person's sensitivities are more acute during adolescence than at any other time. It is generally accepted that adolescents are open to suggestion. I felt no sexual attraction to that first woman, but there was an attraction to the psychological struggle which I was witnessing, the battle between her physical frailty and her determination to overcome it by the sheer force of her fortitude. Whilst it failed to trigger a sexual response immediately, the sexual experiences which I did have afterwards were framed by it. At moments of doubt, I believe I gained some sort of strength from her victory in getting up the hill. I think of it that way still. There is a tremendous attraction, on many levels, to the idea that spiritual strength can triumph over physical weakness, or weakness of any kind. It was the sight of the second girl, the one in the disco that awakened me to the fact that a paralysed woman can be just as attractive, in a purely conventional sense, as an able-bodied one. But by that time my sexual identity was defined, and it took the trauma of a mariage breakup to break the self-image I had of a 'normal' guy with 'normal' desires. (I realise that a psychologist could probably find a great many holes in that explanation, but I don't find much of their stuff very impressive either, so I'm happy with it for now).

The Future

I have really very little idea as to what the future holds. I don't know whether it will be possible for me to find a long term, fulfilling relationship with an attractive, paraplegic woman. I would think it would require a degree of broadmindedness on her part, which perhaps I have no right to expect. I have no way of knowing what it's like to be paralysed (and, incidentally, I really don't want to know; I find the wannabe phenomenon really quite surprising). I can't imagine that it's viewed very positively by those concerned. Despite modern 'enlightened' attitudes, I can't see that it can be much fun not be able to walk. It's always nice when someone finds you attractive (well, usually). But to be told that the basis of the attraction is the one thing about yourself that you'd rather didn't exist must be, well, unwelcome to say the least. On the other hand, maybe it's not easy for a paraplegic woman to attract the men she wants. She can't walk into a bar and look cute, and, unlike an amputee woman, she might not have a large number of devotees on whom to call. Judging by the websites, there don't seem to be too many like me (although there are certainly some). And perhaps she could understand that I have no desire ever to hurt her, or to take pleasure from her problems, or to do anything other than understand her, support her, and spend some good times with her. Oh, and make love to her like there's no tomorrow.

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