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“People assumed I was very confident in my body, traipsing around in a bathing suit,” says Dixon.
“But that’s very different from being considered a sexual being by someone you’re attracted to.” For years, Dixon was afraid that potential partners would be disgusted by her body. I just didn’t think anyone would want to have sex with me,” she says.
But her opponents might.” Dixon stands tall and elegant against the stark white backdrop, her left leg muscular and shapely.
Her right leg is missing, because she was born a congenital amputee.
The challenges of dating with a disability don’t begin and end in the bedroom—they start with education, move to dating and accessible spaces and encompass sexual preferences that may change as your disability does.
*** While schools across Canada are still debating what broad information about sex education is appropriate, and when to teach it, specific education about sexual health and disability isn’t even on their radar.
“There wasn’t a lot of [sex ed], especially in rural Canada.
“So I did what a lot of marginalized people do—I pretended I wasn’t different.” Related: By the time she was ready to be sexually active, Trace was no longer in a wheelchair.
But she was using two canes to walk, and still had to contend with bladder and bowel issues.
In high school, Dixon wore her prosthetic leg under jeans every day to fit in, but it wasn’t until she was 15, and began competing in Paralympic competitions—where everyone was contending with some type of challenge—that she felt comfortable getting her flirt on.
Still, that confidence didn’t translate to her day-to-day life outside the pool.