Being My Own Sexual Health Advocate As A Woman With a Disability
I had to be my own sexual health advocate. I know I am not alone. Sexual health education for people with disabilities is a topic that is so needed but rarely discussed. I am Angela, a 42-year-old woman with spina bifida. I am a widow. I lost my husband to cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) when I was 39. I now live with my boyfriend and my two cats. I have been very fortunate as I found two incredible men in this lifetime.
(Angela with her late husband at their wedding)
I met my husband when I was 18 years old and still in high school. I didn’t date much before I met him. I remember being in high school and feeling like I was the only one who didn’t date. I always felt like the “odd one” and I felt like a loner. I still do at times. It is a part of who I am. I have learned over the years to accept that part of myself rather than feel ashamed of it. I didn’t have many friends, but the friends I did have were good, loyal friends whom I am grateful are still in my life today.
I remember feeling depressed in high school because I didn’t have a date for my junior prom and feeling that same dread as my senior prom was approaching. Until a friend of mine suggested I ask a male friend of hers. I made the call and asked him. He agreed and we went to the prom together. He and I were both drummers. He was impressed that I was a drummer with a disability. Over the next few months, our friendship developed into something more. Nine years later we were married. He was my first sexual partner.