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Embodied: Sex And Dating With Physical Disabilities

A Black man looks directly at the camera with tired eyes. He's wearing violet lipstick and is wearing his bleached hair in dreadlocks. Atop his head is a glittering fabric crown.
Courtesy of D'Arcee Charington
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How to disclose on Tinder … maybe a full-body profile picture? Is a wheelchair emoji in the bio too cliche? Maybe just mention it after matching? For people with physical disabilities, dating can be a barrage of stigma and questions about what their bodies can and cannot do. And no, an arranged date with another physically disabled person — usually with no regard for compatibility —  is not ideal either. 

On this edition of the Embodied series, host Anita Rao looks at ways to de-stigmatize dating as well as what able-bodied people can learn about consent and communication from the disabilities community. D’Arcee Charington, Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock and Ariella Barker join Rao and share their experiences with romance.
 

All of us who live long enough will learn to experience what it's like to live in a disabled body. - Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Charington is an advocate originally from Cary and a doctoral candidate in English at the Ohio State University. Scott-Pollock is a professor in communication studies at UNC-Wilmington as well as the director of UNCW Performance Studies. Barker is an attorney for the City of New York and was crowned Ms. Wheelchair NC in 2014.

 

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.