As a man with a physical disability, I am not represented in American Society in terms of sexuality. There are no images in films, magazines, or on social media of men in wheelchairs with six-pack abs and perfect smiles. As a result, I improvise my physical appearance to coincide with my idea of what it means to be attractive. I take great care in the way that I look. However, in some small ways, I am always trying to distance myself from the underlying message that, because I am disabled, I am not handsome or sexually attractive. Streaming on ePlay has been an amazing outlet to mend these social messages that have been placed upon me in relation to sexuality and my disability.
I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a very young age. Cerebral Palsy is a disorder that affects speech and balance. American Society has defined the term “disability” to mean a person who lacks mental understanding and is in need of help at all times. For me, this societal definition feels untrue. There are various degrees of Cerebral Palsy, but in my case, my disability only affects my body and not my mind. I am not able to walk, and I talk with a speech impediment. In simple terms, somewhere in my body, the driveway is a bit too short to reach the street.
As a child, I was very motivated to do things for myself. I allowed myself to ask for help as long as I first tried to do the task myself. My mindset of independence and motivation continued to follow me into adulthood. I am now a college graduate, and self-published author, and have created several freelance opportunities for myself. I consider streaming to be one of those freelance opportunities.
Before the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I was working in sales. I made and sold hemp jewelry at private events, farmer’s markets, and conferences. In addition, I would speak at colleges and universities about issues relating to my disability. I was also taking classes at a local college. The whole world stopped, and I was among many people who were affected by the pandemic. I was hit with a severe loss of both opportunities and sales. This is when I decided to become a webcam model.
Streaming started out as a way for me to make up lost income but has grown into much more. In March of 2020, all of my classes went to an online format, so I bought a webcam as a way to keep up with my classes. This was when it first occurred to me that I could use my webcam to make money, but self-doubt held me back. I thought that sex is bad. In addition, sex is still a very taboo topic within the disabled community. The topic is largely ignored by my family members, friends, and professionals. It is viewed as dirty, nasty, and shameful. On top of this, I was battling with the notion that I was sexually unacceptable meaning that nobody wants to see me nude. With these variables in play, it was a huge step for me to go against the grain and become a streamer.
I have always had confidence in myself but have struggled with having confidence in my body from a sexual standpoint. I am not embarrassed when allowing others to help me use the restroom or get dressed, but I have never felt sexually desirable. I have never told anybody, but I tend to pick myself apart at times. I find small flaws in my body and obsess over them. For example, my right wrist is bent forward, so I tend to hide it with long sleeves or tuck my hand under my leg while taking photos. To others, this may seem like a small thing, but to me, that is the first thing I look at when I see photos of myself. I give a thumbs up or thumbs down to each photo of myself based on whether or not I covered this flaw. I know many people have little insecurities that they think about late at night when we turn off the lights, but some of my insecurities are related to my disability which is something that can’t be changed.
I was so nervous the first time I did a livestream webcam show because I had no idea how I would be received. I knew that every one of my flaws would be exposed. On a live stream, one is fully exposed to the world. The first time I was tipped to get nude, my heart was beating out of my chest. I was sure that this user was going to pick me apart and say that I was too thin, my wrist was bent, and so on. Instead, the opposite happened. This user was so kind and told me everything that I needed to hear as a new webcam model. During my first year of webcam modeling, I was given so many great compliments about my body, but by far. However, the greatest complaint is when users ask me to stand up.
When I am on a live stream, I feel truly free. In society, I’m a man with a disability, but during my live-streams, I have a separate and private life. I have no shame in being a man with a disability, but I have realized that people pay less attention to what I am and more attention to what I am doing on camera. When people ask me to stand up, they have no idea that I am physically unable to stand. This tells me that that user is not looking at my perception of my body, they are instead looking at what they find attractive about my body.
The streaming community has fully embraced me during my “rookie year” as a webcam model. I have received an overwhelming amount of support from this community. My disability has really become a platform for me to show my body in a positive light. Society may not want to accept that people with disabilities are sexual because it shatters that inspirational message that has been created. Despite so many challenges and insecurities during my first year streaming, I have become very comfortable with my body and have finally embraced my disability as a part of my sexuality.