Man Who Lost Movement in His Entire Body Feels He Is Missing Out On Relationships and Sex by L. Thomson
I hope this guy realizes he’s not alone. I’m still single into middle age in spite of having wanted to be married, and I do not have any physical health issues that prevented me from marrying.
I am also still celibate. I was waiting until I got married to have sex, but I never married, which is largely due to religious convictions (I refer to being sexually abstinent), but I have other reasons as to why I am celibate.
Sometimes, life does not turn out the way we planned, expected, or hoped.
I think very few people have lives that are more difficult than what this guy is enduring.
Rhys Bowler lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – a severe, progressive, muscle-wasting disease that leads to difficulties with movement and, eventually, premature death.
As a result, he cannot move his body and uses solely his thumb to drive his wheelchair.
The 34-year-old lives on his own in Wales and has carers that come and help him throughout the day.
He also has a computer that controls everything in his flat and helps him communicate through messages and emails.
During lockdown Rhys started writing a diary about his feelings and worries, including the things he believes he is missing out on, such as relationships and sex – something he says was difficult for him even before the pandemic.
He’s also started speaking in public about his condition and answering commonly-asked questions
‘Sex and intimacy are possibly one of the most challenging quandaries to a disabled person,’ he explains.
‘It’s the subject I am asked about the most. Sex is after all a human need, one which every human being desires at least once a life and not to mention it can be a whole lot of fun.
‘Sex is entirely possible, I want to show able-bodied society that our needs and desires are no different from theirs. We just often require a little more imagination and maybe a little more planning than everyone else.’
Back in 2017, Rhys’ brother, Geraint, died aged 27 from the same condition – which left him devastated and thinking about his own mortality.
Rhys says: ‘My brother was my rock and support network my version of a wife and kids, I suppose. It made me question my life and purpose, I honestly believe it broke me down and I became another person.
….By the age of seven, Rhys was unable to move his legs so used a wheelchair to get around. And, as his arms became weaker, he also needed someone to push him and would often find himself stuck indoors.
While he had a powered wheelchair at school, he didn’t at home – so would frequently watch his friends play, while he remained inside.
….‘When it was home time, however, it was a different story. I lost so much of my independence, truly some of the darkest days of my life, it’s when I started suffering mental health, although I never identified it as that then.
‘I couldn’t get out to play with my friends, so there I sat indoors watching the world go on without me through the window.
Now as an adult, Rhys is entitled to 24-hour NHS care – but has no control over who the carers are, or the hours they can work.