Overview: Candi lives with Muscular Dystrophy. She shares how it progressed and how it changed her physical capabilities over her lifetime, and what it’s like to date and to have sex with a visible disability. She also opens up about loving rough sex and BDSM, despite an appearance—and often others’ assumption—of fragility.
Public Service Announcement: Never judge a book by its wheels.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk about Sex. I’m sex educator and sexual communication coach, Leah Carey and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And, if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: Hi friends. On this podcast, I strive to present a wide diversity of stories whether it’s diversity of age, race, background, body types, sexual history, etc. I want to give a space for all of the complexity of the sexual experiences of the people who are, were, or will be female. But there are some stories that I’ve been challenged to find someone who wants to record an interview. For instance, people from certain cultures or religious traditions are reticent to talk about sex at all, let alone be recorded talking about it. I want to talk with someone who is asexual, someone who lives with HIV, someone who is deaf, someone who experienced female genital mutilation, and so many more, because there are so many stories.
One of the stories I’ve been wanting to share is what it’s like to have sex for someone who uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately, too often, our culture assumes that people with disabilities are just non- sexual. But it’s not true. Some might be, but many have, or desire, active sex lives. It’s one of the many things I love about the CBS comedy Mom. One of the main characters is in a wheelchair and he has a very active sex life. I should mention that the actor who plays him does not use a wheelchair, so it’s not a perfect scenario. But at least we’re seeing a person in a wheelchair portrayed as a fully sexual human being.
So I’m thrilled to tell you that this week’s interview is with Candi, a woman who uses a wheelchair full- time. She’s extremely open about her experiences with disability, as well as about her romantic and sex life. Candy is a twenty-seven year old cisgender female who describes herself as heterosexual, monogamous, single, and tall and thin. She lives with muscular dystrophy.
I am so pleased to introduce Candi! Thank you so much for joining me today. I am thrilled to talk with you.
CANDI: Thank you.
LEAH: As I told you before we started recording, I’ve been trying to find someone who has a disability who uses a wheelchair to talk to for a while and you’re the first person who has said yes. So, thank you.
CANDI: Well, I’m honored.
CANDI: I feel this to represent the entire disability community. [LAUGHTER]
LEAH: Well, actually that’s something I want to say for people who are listening. We’re going to talk about your story, and just like any other person who is on this podcast, you are not representative of everyone in the disability community.
LEAH: The disability community is not a monolith. Just like all white people are not a monolith. And all
gay people, etc.
CANDI: Totally. We all have our own stories and we all have abilities to do certain things or not.
LEAH: Yeah. Well, let’s dive right in. The first question I ask everyone is what is your first memory of sexual desire?
CANDI: My first memory of sexual desire was when I was in high school. I was probably in ninth grade so fourteen, fifteen. And I remember just one day falling asleep, and I don’t know, I just felt like it was normal to touch yourself down there and so I did. I actually used to, normally growing up, I would sleep with my hands in between my legs because my parents would keep my house at like zero degrees at night.
CANDI: And I’m very thin and so I would have a thousand blankets on sleeping. So I would normally sleep in a fetal position with my hands in between my legs. So it was natural that they were close to proximity of where the fun parts were and so, one night, I just like touched it in a certain way, and I was like, “Oh, whoa. That felt interesting and bizarre, but also I kind of liked it.”
CANDI: So I just kept on touching it more and more and then I realized that it felt really good so I kept going. And then, I’d say, I ended up orgasming and climaxing.
LEAH: And you think you are around fourteen at that time?
CANDI: Yeah. I would say so. I was also influenced by Sex Education and school and them talking about it as well. I have an older brother so I didn’t have an older sister or anything to really teach me in that way. I would say my parents were very conservative as well in terms of their sexual experiences. My parents were very Christian, and so for them, especially my dad, it’s almost patronized having any type, talking about sexuality, talking about sex, anything that’s provocative, the way that you dress. All of that has to be very conservative. No showing whatsoever like I’m wearing a V-neck right now and he would probably not approve of that so usually when I’m around my dad, I cover up for the most part.
LEAH: And did you feel comfortable in that conservative setting or were you feeling like you wanted to branch out and become a little rebellious?
CANDI: I don’t think I did want to be rebellious in any way because I was conditioned to be conservative and know that my body was a temple and that I had to honor it and I honored God when I honored my body. And to this day, I’m not very much a religious person, so I don’t have that same conservative mindset anymore. But I will say that some degree of being conservative, just the way that I dress, the way that I look has always carried on with me compared to my friends and peers who really wore short shorts and had everything hanging out on the top. I’m also very flat-chested so I can’t have any sort of cleavage and jumping up and down for me does nothing.
CANDI: Actually, it was funny when we were in health class, it was mixed with boys and girls. And I remember the guys, they said, “Candi, jump!” And at the time, I had no idea what that meant. So I jumped up. And they started laughing because I didn’t have a period until I was about sixteen so I was a late bloomer as well. So I was very tall and very flat-chested and then I was around a lot of women that were of different races, so it was a very diverse school that I went to. Especially in the black community, they are very busty in the chest typically and so I remember them just going to a circle and seeing these very voluptuous women and they would jump and the guys would look. And for me, they would laugh.
So I always carried that with me as well. And I didn’t really realize what that meant until like a few years later when I saw social media and whatever talking about women jumping and boobs bouncing up and down when they go running and how boys always really look at that. And I think I learned that through Juno the movie. And I was like, “Oh, wow. Now that kind of all makes sense.”
LEAH: You mentioned that you grew up in a really conservative home and that sex wasn’t really talked about. Was your body talked about at all? Did you have any sense of your body as something that would be desirable to boys? I mean I know that I hear from a lot of people who grew up in that Christian
conservative environment that girls are taught that they have to protect boys from their own sexuality. Was that true for you?
CANDI: I would say my home, yes. I was raised to treat my body as a temple and I never talked about being sexualized in any way, shape or form. My mom I don’t even remember having a conversation with me about having a period or having developing breasts or anything. I just remember the one day that I started having blood come out of my vagina and I’m like, “What is this?” And then, I remember going to Kroger one day with my mom and I went down the tampon aisle and I just picked up super heavy duty pads because that’s all I knew that my mom had. So I picked up a batch and I was like, “Oh, mom, here. You probably need these, right?” And I ended up sneaking some pads out of her closet because that’s where she kept them. And so I walked around like wearing a diaper because they felt like a diaper.
CANDI: The only way that I really found out about going through your period and learning all of that was really through Sex Ed class in middle and high school.
LEAH: So what kind of Sex Ed did you have? It sounds like it was actually really useful for you.
CANDI: A hundred percent. I thought Sex Ed was super helpful for me. I would say my schooling definitely taught me more than anyone ever did about just how your body is transforming, what it’s like when you’re a teenager and developing. So the type of Sex Ed class that I had, obviously, they really put in emphasis on, It’s almost as if they, I wouldn’t say criminalized, but they almost make it seem like sex is bad. I would say for the most part and they show you. They scare you to death with Chlamydia and gonorrhea and HIV. If you don’t wear a condom, then you’re going to die.
Basically that’s how it was. There was no sense of love your body, know what this is like, these are the kinds of things you may hear in school, these are the kinds of things you need to look out for, and this is how you do certain things. Obviously, we all had the bananas. We all put the condoms on the bananas. We learned how to do that. We all passed around tampons to put them in the cup to see how they absorbed, but obviously, no one teaches you how to put on a tampon. And so I just relied on the little pictures on the side of the box which are so bad.
LEAH: Which are terrible. Not helpful.
CANDI: I put a mirror down there and I’m like, “What? How can you? You can’t. No. I’m sorry. You just can’t. There’s too much going on down there.” And so you just end up figuring it out really. I do remember one of the girls that I was very close with in high school, around that time, tenth grade, eleventh grade. I remember going over to her house and I remember being on my period and that was the first time that I saw and understood what a tampon was and understand how to use it. And she was actually the one that was like, “Here’s a tampon.” And I didn’t know what to do with this. And she
dropped her pants and showed me how to do it. And I was like, “Oh, wow. Okay.” I mean, we’re best friends at that time, so it was normal.
LEAH: That’s so great. My mom got me a box of tampons and just sent me to the bathroom and was like, “Here’s the picture. Here’s the whole box. It’ll probably take you this many to figure it out.”
CANDI: That’s so funny. There are so many things now that we talk about. I remember, actually, there’s a brand of tampon called OB and they’re not the applicators. They just have plastic wrap on them. They’re the more sustainable brand without the plastic on it. But they do wrap them in clear plastic wrapper so it’s just a clear plastic wrapper. And the first time that I got one of those, because someone just handed it to me in school, and I just took the whole thing up there with the plastic wrap on it because no one told me you were supposed to remove the plastic wrap. So I walked around all day. This was super uncomfortable and also, I’m still bleeding like dripping on my pants.
CANDI: So, yeah, there’s just a lot of funny, not so great memories that you laugh at it now because you learned through that. But also, why don’t people teach you these kinds of things? I don’t know.
LEAH: Why don’t people teach us these things? That’s an excellent question.
CANDI: And also, why doesn’t your mother teach you this stuff? You rely on Sex Education which I wouldn’t say is awesome, but it’s available. And then, sometimes you have friends that maybe sometimes will help you out.
LEAH: Yeah. You started masturbating at fourteen years old. At what point did you think this is something that I want to try out with another person?
CANDI: It wasn’t until probably college. I didn’t have sex until two days after my twenty first birthday. LEAH: Was that for lack of desire or because you just hadn’t figured out how to go about it?
CANDI: It was a combination of being scared but also trying to stay pure because that’s how I grew up and that’s how I was always told that sex before marriage was a bad thing. And that you shouldn’t do it. And that you should save yourself.
But at that time in college, there’s so much influence around you. Especially in college, I was in a sorority as well, so even more so, just everyone’s talking about it all the time with their one night stands and their hookups and I never had any of that experience. I remember I started dating guys in college, so I was late there as well. I didn’t date anyone through high school. It was probably sophomore year of college when I really had a first real date and then through that, I remember kissing a boy for the first time in senior year in high school when I had my first kiss. Nothing happened out of that.
LEAH: Was it fun? CANDI: No. Not really. LEAH: Did you enjoy it?
CANDI: It was really scary to me because it was like you have to be conservative and also I didn’t know how to do it, what was expected of me. There’s just so much going through my mind and also there’s a lot of nerves as well.
And then in college, that’s kind of like when I was like, “Okay. Maybe I should try it with someone.” But there’s always that thing at the back of my mind that was, “You need to wait. You need to wait. Continue to wait. You’re almost there. You’re already this far, just keep waiting.”
And then, I remember this one boy who was junior year of college. There was this boy that I sat next to all semester long. It was a small class. There were like thirty of us. It was Environmental Science class and we sat in the back and it was the worst class. The teacher was absolutely horrible and so we just sat in the back the entire class. It was an hour and a half long class as well so it was a longer class and we would just like either giggle, pass notes to each other, whatever. I also really vibed with him because he had a leg brace on his left foot and so for me, I naturally gravitated towards him because I was like, “Oh, he has a disability as well.” And he was also very, very cute.
CANDI: Very easy on the eyes, let’s just say. [LAUGHTER]
CANDI: It was the second to last week in the class and there was an opening of a brewery and I said, “Come to this. Meet me there.” And it was at ten-thirty at night. I didn’t have his phone number. Whatever. I didn’t have his Facebook. None of that. I just said, “Here’s the information and hope to see you there.” I remember it was about one AM and I was getting ready to leave and he comes in and he goes, “Hey, Candi. I’m sorry, but I’m finally here. Do you want to dance?” And for me, I immediately said no, because this was within the time when walking was very difficult for me.
Being on my feet was very exhausting and the idea of twirling on the dance floor. I never danced in college just because I could no longer walk upstairs. I walked with a gait. I had a pretty bad lordosis as well and so the idea of dancing scared me because I knew I was going to fall. And I did, I ended up falling. He was like, “No. No. No. Come on.” and then he pulls me to the dance floor. We were both under the influence as well and I was like, “Okay, fine.” He pulled me on the dance floor and then he twirled me around and I fell down and we walked back to the bar and sat down. I remember talking to
him, mid-sentence, he just leans in and plants one on me. And I was like, “Damn. That feels good.” He was a very good kisser.
CANDI: He was Hispanic. He did that whole bite lip thing and pulled away. It was really nice. And then one thing led to another. His house was down the street so we walked home to his house. He had a mattress on the floor of his bedroom. I’ll never forget that.
CANDI: Yeah. I just remember having sex with him for the first time and I remember he definitely asked me for consent like, “Are you sure you want to do this? Are you scared in any way?” because he knew I was a virgin because I told him. I said, “I’ve never done this before and I’m kind of scared.” And he was like, “Are you okay to do this?” And I said, “Yes. I’m ready for this.” And so this was again junior year of college.
I can’t say I walked out feeling great. It wasn’t super comfortable. It was kind of pleasurable but at the same time, very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t say that put a bad taste in my mouth because I knew it could get better, but I would say my first experience wasn’t amazing. It was like I had an orgasm. None of that happened.
LEAH: Why do you think you were ready to do it then? What changed for you?
CANDI: I think what changed for me was, it was time. I no longer was under the roof of my parents. I had a say in how I treated my body and what I wanted to do with it. I felt aroused as well and also I had a drink or two so I was feeling good as well in the mind. You put all those things together. It’s also scary but exciting and really intense when someone kisses you and you also feel desire. Someone wants you. But he was very caring as well, which I really liked. All of that combined was like, “Okay. He seems like a good person.” I mean, clearly, I had a good rapport with him for an entire semester going to class so it wasn’t like I just met him off the street. I built that rapport over time and I don’t know, I just said, “Yes.” I just said, “Screw it.”
LEAH: So that night, in the brewery, you were already experiencing symptoms from muscular dystrophy. CANDI: Yes.
LEAH: So let’s go back and pick up that part of the story.
CANDI: Sure. That’s so important. I showed signs of muscular dystrophy when I was about four. So I had an infantile onset. You’re born with muscular dystrophy, symptoms will show up depending on the type
of muscular dystrophy and the severity of it and also genetics play a role in it, how the symptoms start showing.
So I had an infantile onset of muscular dystrophy at four. That’s what they call it. And then I was diagnosed through blood work when I was eight or nine and I was a spontaneous genetic mutation so I didn’t have any family history of it and I was the only one in my family to have it. None of my siblings have it either. All my parents and my brother and sister are very healthy.
Through middle school, it was okay. Carrying books were heavy and they were difficult for me so I had an extra set of textbooks in each of my classrooms so I didn’t have to carry them around school. And then in high school, I actually would run a lot and that stopped happening when I was probably tenth grade, so I stopped running around then, just because I couldn’t propel my legs forward any longer. And then through high school, walking just got more and more difficult from walking upstairs using two feet, and then slowly walking up one stair one step at a time with my right dominant leg, and then me requiring handrails every time, and then avoiding stairs completely. Taking ramps everywhere, taking elevators everywhere.
And then, I no longer was able to walk long distances any longer so no longer than fifty feet at a time. So I got handicapped parking when I was probably sixteen, seventeen, and then I kept tripping here and there. It wasn’t so bad but I would trip and I would fall down the stairs a lot. And it was not fun.
LEAH: At this point in the conversation, Candi talked me through her muscular dystrophy progression. From the point of view of the different equipment that she used over time, eventually needing a full- power wheelchair beginning in 2017.
It’s a fascinating conversation and I debated leaving it in the main interview but ultimately, there’s so much other good stuff I want to get to, I decided to make this an audio extra at Patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex
And that link is on the app that you’re listening to right now. As a reminder, since July 2020, all audio extras have been free at Patreon. I decided to move from a you pay me to hear the audio extras model to a you can listen to everything for free on Patreon and support me if you want to model because I know that this material can be life-changing for some people. It can even be life-saving for women who are in abusive circumstances and experience this material as a life-line. So, audio extras are free.
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LEAH: I think it’s really, really important to acknowledge the fact that people in our dominant culture, people with disabilities are often seen as asexual or non-sexual. And that is not necessarily true for many people. So let’s talk about how this has affected your ability to have sex. And let’s first start with that night on the mattress on the guy’s floor.
LEAH: What was that first experience like of trying to use your body in that way?
CANDI: Yeah. So in regards to that first experience, I do remember knowing that it was very challenging to prop myself up on my knees because I didn’t have the core strength. I could do it if someone held me there, but me physically sitting. You know if you are sitting on your legs, basically, so you’re sitting on your knees. And then standing up, I could not do that. So I do remember him very clearly going, “Okay. Now get on top.” And I was like, “I don’t believe I can do this.” And he’s like, “No, let’s just try.” And then, I tried getting on and it was very uncomfortable in the sense of my knees. I didn’t actually mount him. I was on my knees and I was in a lot of pain. It was painful. I was hunched over. I felt not confident at all and he was like, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. Just turn over.” And so then, I ended up turning over and then did the sides.
So I would say it wasn’t super exciting in that sense but I would say that was the limitation and that’s just what it was. There was really nothing I could do about that. I think over time, you just have to be more creative in how you are able to do certain positions. If you’re on the floor, obviously, it’s very limiting for me because I have no ability to hover myself or prop myself over the bed and be almost like in an L position. So feet on the floor and then laying down on the bed, my chest down on the bed. That is one advantage of having a proper height bed.
CANDI: Another thing is also if you have a bed that’s on the floor, I remember I couldn’t get up. And so, I was like, “I couldn’t stand up and I have to pee.”
CANDI: And so I remember him picking me up off the floor and I walked to the bathroom, and his bathroom was so tiny. It was very difficult to get off the toilet. I remember calling him and saying, “Will
you help me get off the toilet?” and that wasn’t embarrassing for me at all. That’s just where I was in my physical ability and also it’s kind of like you also signed on to that. You knew.
LEAH: He went in knowing.
CANDI: He went in knowing because I had told him during that semester what I had, why I walked a certain way, things of that nature. So you can’t say he knew nothing about it. He obviously didn’t know what he was fully getting into but he had an understanding that I had some limitations.
LEAH: So what was the next sexual engagement that you had?
CANDI: The next sexual engagement. This is actually something I would never in a million years redo this
over again. [LAUGHTER]
CANDI: I do not recommend this for anyone, especially women. Thinking what I did was really quite scary actually. So I started working for a company and it was all virtual and I worked for a call center and I met this guy in our work chat room essentially. Then we started chatting through text message, again, never picked up the phone and talked to this guy, never Facetime with him, none of that. And I remember him telling me, “I would love to meet you.” And I’m like, “Okay. That sounds great.” At the time a few months had gone by, we had built a virtual rapport with each other. And it was very conversational, he was super easy to talk to. And I was like, “Okay. I kind of vibe with this guy. Yeah, sure, I’ll go and meet him.” That was a two hour drive and he was like, “Come to Augusta and I could show you around.” And I was like, “Okay. Sounds good.” Thinking nothing of it.
CANDI: So I drove to Augusta to meet a random dude. Don’t ever do that.
CANDI: Just don’t. The dude should come to you. A 100%. So, a second mistake that I made. [LAUGHTER]
CANDI: But again I’m so naïve and I’m so innocent because I just wasn’t taught really about safety and just thinking your body always at that time you should be protecting your body. But no one really taught me about things you shouldn’t do in relationships or you shouldn’t do when you’re talking to boys. And so I just figured all this out on my own and I took a lot of really stupid risks, so one of them this.
And so, he was like, “Come to my house.” Again, never drive to a boy’s house you’ve never met before two hours away to a city you’ve never been to. But I did have a degree of comfort with him and I remember telling him that stairs were difficult for me and his house had stairs and so he was really cute in the fact that he took a picture of all the ramps, all the stairs. Like every inch of his house, he took a picture of it. And I’m like, “Okay. That’s really nice. Okay. I can come.”
So he reassured me that he would help me at all cost. And I remember we had to take a flight of stairs up together to get to his house. And he was like, “I will carry you up the stairs. That’s fine. I’ll be there for you.” And I’m like, “Fine.” So I gave into that because I felt comfortable with him. So I get to his house and I remember it was dinner time. And he’s like, “I made you dinner.” And I’m like, “Oh, that’s so sweet.” And then we just had a dinner chat, talked about stuff with work, blah, blah, blah. And then he asked me, he was like, “Is it okay if I kiss you?” And then I was like, “Okay. Fine.”
And so I remember him being like, “Let’s go to the bedroom.” And again, all consensual, everything was agreed upon but I would say he was very much not my type in the sense that he was heavier weight. All bodies come in different shapes and sizes but for me, being very thin, I’m not petite, I’m tall and thin but I am weak in my muscles so him being a larger guy was a little intimidating for me because I felt like he would squash me for sure.
CANDI: But I was like, “Okay. That’s okay.” But I remember it was really good sex like really, really good, very aggressive, hair pulling, had a lot of orgasms. I remember feeling things I never felt before in my life but he was also very much like he just wanted to keep going and going and going and so I was like, “Okay. I need to take a break. I’m literally exhausted. I’m so fatigued right now.” And he’d be like, “No, come on. You could do it. You could do it. Here, drink some water. Here, eat some food.” And so we would eat food and then we would talk a little bit and then he’d be like, “Let’s do it again.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” But at the same time, I’m like, “Oh my God. I’m so tired.”
CANDI: And I ended up spending the weekend over at this house and it was just non-stop. I remember leaving that weekend just totally wiped out. And I remember almost not being able to breathe one time because he was just pounding so hard and hard and hard over and over again and I just couldn’t’ catch my breath. But we had a safe word, a stop word. I did know about that and we ended up going on a mountain weekend somewhere and we rented out a hotel and just stayed and it was again like every other hour. It was again and again and again.
But I remember the second time that I met up with him I was like, “I’m just really not attracted to you.” And so that’s when it kind of dawned me on that it’s not just the physical experience that you really have to be attracted, physically attracted, to someone. And you also have to have some sort of
emotional connection with someone as well. Maybe that’s the female brain talking, it’s probably what it is but I just remember the second time, that mountain weekend that we had, it was just like I’m really not into it.
LEAH: So you said that it was really great sex. What about it was great? What were the things that you were doing that you really enjoyed?
CANDI: So his bed was a normal height and that’s important. So I remember, feet on ground, and this was the first time that I did this and I remember it feeling really, really good and still to this day my favorite position. Feet on ground and then me lying down on my belly on the bed and he’s hitting me from behind. And I just remember how deep he went, and he was pretty big. And it just felt so good and I just would drip and it felt really good and then at the same time he was doing that, he would pull my hair and pull it back and my head back and it would also increase the pain and he would choke me lightly, not in a bad way, but it felt really, really good.
LEAH: You enjoy a little aggressive play?
CANDI: Oh, yeah. I would vibe with that and it’s interesting because the guy that I just dated last year,
he was so against that. He’s very much a sensual, very romantic type of pleaser, pleasurer? [LAUGHTER]
CANDI: And that was an experience in itself like it was good to experience that because he’s the best person who has ever fingered me. But at the same time, I like my hair pulled, I like to be choked, I like more of the aggressive.
And I remember matching with this guy on Bumble or Tinder or something. And we had our first date. A few weeks later, I was very attracted to him. He was a very attractive person. He was shorter than me. So I’m 5’11, he’s probably 5’8. There was a lot of ego with him with that like a lot of self-confidence issues of shorter guy dating a taller woman. At the time, I was standing as well so I wasn’t using a wheelchair. He was shorter than me but he was packing, that’s for sure.
CANDI: And he wasn’t like super aggressive either and so he was a little bit more of kind of like slow, more sensual. I text him and I’m like, “I need you to be more aggressive in sex. I need you to be more this and that.” And he was like, “You don’t need me to do anything. You have your own issues that you need to sort through.” And so it actually ended up pretty badly.
LEAH: So that sounds sort of like he’s kink-shaming you. CANDI: Kind of.
LEAH: He’s kind of saying like if you want this aggression then there’s something wrong with you and you need to heal yourself.
CANDI: Kind of. Yeah, I would say that was probably true.
LEAH: So just like a little PSA for everybody, just because you like some aggression, just because you like your hair being pulled or you like to be choked, does not mean that there is something inherently wrong with you that needs some deep psychological healing. It’s okay to like those things.
CANDI: Well, thank you. [LAUGHTER]
LEAH: Breath play is a little bit edgy and I want to make sure you have some safety protocols in place in case anything goes sideways.
LEAH: But there’s nothing wrong with you if you want that.
CANDI: Yeah. And so I think that was the other thing, I was in pursuit of finding someone who could be more aggressive with me, kind of like how I did with the work guy. But again, that work guy was just a very casual relationship. We weren’t dating. I was not romantically attracted to him. I was literally attracted to him for sex or to feel desire. I like to have my hair pulled and like being choked. That felt good.
I also learned a lot of things along the way in terms of safety. I got back on the dating app and I come across this dude. I remember we had a taco date and he drove to where I was because I also had told him again that I had muscular dystrophy and limitations and things and he’s like, “Okay. I’ll come to you.” And I remember sitting across the booth from him that we were sitting in, and I like to, when I’m having a conversation with someone at a table, I usually lean forward. I like to put my elbows on the table and I like to lean forward on them which is just comfortable for me. And so I would lean forward often and I remember him telling me, he was like, “I really like how you lean forward as if you’re really engaged in what I have to say.” And he would trot these one-liners that were just like, “You’re a bad boy and I can tell.”
CANDI: He just had this sinister, I don’t know, something about him. He was very keen and the way he looked at me, I was like, “Ooh. Wow. Okay. Interesting.” And so, I naturally started biting my lip because I’m getting enticed by the way he’s looking at me. And he ended up replying back right there, he was like, “Stop biting your lip.” And I was like, “Why not?”
CANDI: See I hate this photographic memory. [LAUGHTER]
CANDI: Dang it. I don’t forget these kinds of things. And then, he was like, “Stop biting your lip.” And I was like, “Why not?” He was like, “You don’t know what I would do to you.” I was like, “Wooh. Okay, daddy. You’re talking my language.”
CANDI: And so I was very intrigued and I had to use the bathroom before we left and I said, “Wait here. I’m just going to use the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” And he heard something, with the way I said it, he was like, “Okay. I’ll leave. Bye.” But I didn’t know he was leaving and so he ended up just leaving because it was just a miscommunication of like, “Wait here.”
I remember getting in the car and I was like, “Wait. Where did you go?” I called him and I was like, “Wait. Where did you go?” He’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you said leave.” And I told him, I said, “Well, I wanted to kiss you before I left.” And he was like, “I’m turning around.”
CANDI: And so he was pretty far off because at the time, I was standing, walking but really, really, really struggling. And so it took me a while to pick myself off from the toilet and pull my pants up and button them because my hands were starting. And it can take me ten minutes to use the restroom not because I have trouble using the bathroom but just like doing all those things. Your jeans and stuff can be difficult. So he was pretty far off so we met in the middle. And I remember being in the whole foods parking lot down in the random far, far part of the parking lot.
CANDI: And I rolled down my window and he gets out and he kisses me very well. Bites lip, pulls back, I was like, “Oof.” And that night, we couldn’t get together and I remember him saying, “Come to my house.” And I drove thirty minutes to his house and that night, he had done things to me that I had never felt in my life. Wooh! Again, all consensual but he was BDSM, did I say that right?
CANDI: BDSM. So it wasn’t immediately, it was, “Okay. Are you okay?” He was very, very pro-asking. He
would tell me as well. He would say, “Are you okay if I do this?”
LEAH: That is a sign of a good dom.
CANDI: Very dom. Very dom and I played that sub role. And at the time, I didn’t know what that was.
LEAH: But that whole communication and consent thing, I think people have an idea that that stuff goes out the window because the dom just takes over, that is not the case. The dom is responsible for communicating and for getting consent. And that’s part of what can make it super hot is that you have enough communication that you feel safe and can let go.
CANDI: Yeah. [MUSIC]
LEAH: My conversation with Candi went on for another 25 minutes and we’re running out of time on this episode, so I’m going to insert another couple brief clips to finish out the episode then post the rest of the uncut audio at Patreon, where you can listen to the audio for free and become a financial supporter if you’d like. Candi talks about the BDSM scene that went wrong, her journey of inner healing and growth, and the types of men that she’s attracted to. All of that is at Patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex and that link is in the Show Notes on the app you’re listening on right now.
LEAH: Remember how fun it was to have teenage sleepovers where we’d do each other’s nails and braid each other’s hair and gossip about kissing and relationships? I’m lucky because I still get to have those fun juicy conversations on a regular basis.
But I know that a lot of you might find it hard to make the time and space to have these intimate connecting conversations with your girlfriends. So I’ve created a space where you get to have that same fun again. It’s an adult PJ Party!
It’s a whole luxurious evening of girl talk. I’ll lead you into a no holds barred conversation with your girlfriends talking about sex, relationships, toys, kink, orgasms, anything you can think of, we can talk about it! Even better, we’ll do it in a way that preserves social distancing and gives you a night of connection and intimacy with your favorite people.
Or, if you prefer, join a group where nobody knows each other in advance so you could be completely open and honest without worrying about revealing too much to people you see every day. So let me help you create a space where the conversation can be easy, sexy, and fun. Visit leahcarey.com/pjparty for all the information and to book a party for you and your friends.
Again, that link is leahcarey.com/pjparty and it’s in the app you’re listening on right now. [MUSIC]
LEAH: If you are on a dating app now, do you specify that you’re looking for someone who will be a dom with you or do you wait and bring that in later?
CANDI: I will say, to answer your question directly, no. I do not specify any of that in a dating app whatsoever. I usually will ask to meet someone immediately. Also, I’m not on dating apps anymore, I’ve found they are really challenging, now for me. In general, I would say, using a wheelchair now, is very challenging for me to find someone just in general. It’s difficult. Guys don’t really approach me at all and so I would say that is probably the worst part about using a wheelchair and just having a very noticeable physical disability, people generally just kind of want to get out of your way. It helps if there’s alcohol involved.
CANDI: But meeting people naturally out in the wild for me is difficult. It helps if I have someone with me like my sister or one of my best guy friends but even that’s sometimes even a cock block right? If you have a dude with you who is gay, they don’t look gay.
CANDI: But sometimes people think that you’re with him. So yeah, I would say that’s the saddest experience. I’m such a great human being and I do all these things and I’m very well known in the community. I’ve actually been in a lot of newspapers and stuff, a lot of news channels, I’m pretty much a disability advocate. So I do a lot for the city, for the world to make it a more inclusive space and to break down those barriers for people with disabilities. And yet at the same time, I see all these people around me and it’s kind of sad, right? When you’re out and you see these people holding hands or like my friends getting engaged or having kids and like for me, I’ve had like one and a half boyfriends.
CANDI: I’m very confident in who I am but it’s also very intimidating for people, especially guys because I’m a very independent person and I’m very confident and I’m very much a go getter. I’m an Aries so I am always getting it done, like fix this, do that. There’s a problem, find a solution. I don’t dwell on things. And so through that, not only having a disability but also being an independent, confident
woman, that’s also kind of a whole mixture. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that and you shouldn’t be a confident woman, but it just adds to difficulty of finding someone who is worthy of you.
Because on the other end of the spectrum, you have all of these boys that approach you, I would say all these men that approach me that are very low in their self-confidence. And so I gravitated for a long time for low self-esteem men because I thought I could fix them because I fix everything else in my environment and so I could fix men. No, you cannot fix people and don’t even try. You need to walk away because your dignity and your own self-confidence and your worthiness will be compromised because of that.
LEAH: Well, Candi, thank you so much for this conversation. I’m really grateful to you for being so open and willing to walk us through this experience that you’re having.
CANDI: Thank you, Leah.
LEAH: After we finished recording, I realized there was one really important question I hadn’t asked Candi. So I sent her an email asking, “As your condition has progressed, how has it affected the sexual sensation you’re able to have? Does it affect your ability to feel people touching your skin or to feel vaginal penetration?”
She sent me back this audio message in response.
CANDI: It’s funny because I actually get asked that question a lot especially right before and guys will ask me, “Can you feel or do you have any pain or does it hurt when I touch you? Do you lose sensation at all?” And no, the type of disability that I have, I’m not affected in my nerve endings or my nerves in any way, shape or form, which is nice, so I could definitely feel everything that’s going on. So I’m thankful to have no issues in that department.
LEAH: That’s it for today. Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby. I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor and Magnolia Afable. And I’m incredibly grateful for the financial support form Good Girls Talk About Sex community members at Patreon. If you want to support me in telling these stories and answering your questions, head over to Patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex
And before we go, I want to remind you that the messages you’ve probably heard about your sexuality aren’t true. You are worthy. You are desirable exactly as you are. And you are not broken. I work with women just like you to reflect their true sexual nature back to them without the judgment, shame or fear that could get in the way of seeing it for themselves. As a coach and PJ party hostess, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours no matter what it looks like. I’m here to help you
sink so deeply into your true sexuality that the version of yourself that was so scared to speak up for her own needs feels like a mirage from another lifetime. Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
- 4:30 – Candi shares her first memory of sexual desire, a seemingly spontaneous discovery of masturbation in 9th She grew up in a conservative Christian family, and sex was not discussed.
- 7:46 – She talks about being flat-chested in high school, and being such a late bloomer that her mom never gave her the period talk and she only knew what was happening because of Sex Ed.
- 14:56 – Candi stays a virgin until she’s 22, influenced both by purity culture and fear of the unknown.
- 16:50 – She meets a cute boy with a leg brace in a boring class and they bond. She boldly asks him out.
- 19:53 – Her first sexual experience happens and leaves her feeling both curiosity and disappointment.
- 21:44 – Candi explains her Muscular Dystrophy.
- 26:46 – She reflects back to her first sexual experience through the lens of her disability and what the experience was like with her body.
- 29:43 – She goes into her next sexual experience in a way would *never* repeat.
- 35:54 – She opens up about the great sex she had, and the positions that managed it, with the random work guy she wasn’t attracted to.
- 39:00 – Liking aggressive sex is completely normal; also, be careful with choking.
- 40:04 – Candi meets a guy on a dating app, and after an interesting first meeting, he introduces her to BDSM and blows her mind.
- 50:04 – She opens up about how hard it is to watch able people enjoy romantic and life milestones that seem to pass her by despite her competence and energy.
The Patreon extras for this episode are:
- Candi talked me through her Muscular Dystrophy progression from the point of view of the different equipment she used over time, eventually needing a full-power wheelchair beginning in 2017
- The extra 25 minutes we didn’t have time for in the regular episode – Candi talks about the BDSM scene that went wrong, her journey of inner healing and growth, and the types of men that she’s attracted to.
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Audio Editor – Gretchen Kilby
Music – Nazar Rybak