After being forced to relearn his body following a serious accident, Stan realized that good sex didn’t require his genitals at all.
Find Stan on Instagram @StanClawson.
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Stan Clawson 00:00
I was in a situation, I’m in my bedroom. And I’m getting really intimate with this woman, this beautiful woman who has accepted my disability and accepted me and said, hey, let’s try this thing. Let’s see what it’s like to be in a physical relationship with somebody who has a disability. I had communicated what I really enjoy. And of course, you know, in the conversation, it was what you like, what do I like? What is your source of pleasure. And of course, for me, my main source of physical pleasure is my nipples. My mind just goes completely numb when my nipples are being played with is the most ecstatic. It’s the most orgasmic experience. You know, I’ve often said to some of my partners, somebody could come in and rob the house, and I probably wouldn’t do anything because I’m in such a state of ecstasy.
I am completely paralyzed, which means I have no physical sensation below the waist. So for a lot of people, it’s like, well, if you can’t feel your genitals, I mean, what’s the point? Man, there’s so much more to sex than just your genitals. And so I was telling this girl like, yeah, I really, I really like it when nipples are played with for like, extended periods of time. And she proceeded to say, okay, this is what we’re gonna do. She began to really softly kiss and lick my nipples and stimulate them, and kind of nibble them and really play with them. And I remember, every time I tried to, like reach my hand up to kind of stroke her, she grabbed my hand and she’d push it down. She’s like, No, no, no, this is for you.
And I just remember in that moment, feeling like this domination, feeling like I was being taken care of, and feeling like somebody was tapping into or trying to tap in to that pleasure center, and really create an experience for me that was absolute magic. I’m Stan Clawson and you’re listening to GOOD SEX. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m a filmmaker. Good sex is being willing to be open to new possibilities. So back in 1996, I was rock climbing with my cousin and his cousin. I was 20 years old, and I was coming off of a rappel, and I fell 49 feet, landed on my back and completely severed my spinal cord at the thoracic, ninth and 10th level. My cousins managed to make a call and a chopper came and I was life flighted to LDS hospital. And that’s where I started my new life.
Stan Clawson 03:01
And, you know, as I was sort of adjusting to my new situation, I definitely did think a lot about sex. I thought about, okay, well, can I do all of the things that I did before my acts? Or what can I do now. And of course, sex was something that I wanted to know about. It was a topic that the staff of the hospital, I could tell they were very reluctant to talk about. A lot of the nurses, the staff were of the predominant religion in Utah. And I remember that there was this infamous video. It was a VHS tape that had come out, I believe in 1999 to 91′. And it was called Sexuality Reborn. Everybody with a spinal cord injury, at least the older generation knows about this video because it’s kind of infamous. I think Ben Vereen is the host. So it’s like, Oh, you got a non-disabled person to host this feed. Okay, well, whatever. I don’t even think they wanted to actually physically hand the tape over. I came back to my room after a physical therapy session, and the VHS tape was just there. And I remember thinking, well, this is a really important thing. If you’re uncomfortable talking about it, what does that say to the patient who is trying to recover?
Stan Clawson 04:39
And it was the first time I really thought about sexuality and recovery. I’m learning how to dress again; I’m learning how to cook. I’m learning how to go to the bathroom. Why is sex not a part of that? Yes, I can see where it might be a very difficult subject for medical professionals to talk about sometimes. But it is essential to the entire curriculum of having a spinal cord injury or having a life changing event in your life. And I felt like well, yeah, as a filmmaker, the production qualities weren’t that great, but it was giving people information. And information is power. And it’s so important to know, hey, there’s this video that tells you about sex. You know, maybe it’s the very first disability porno, maybe it’s the first official educational spinal cord injury porno. And so you got to give it credit for that.
What I learned immediately after I was discharged from the hospital, and I was in the hospital for probably five weeks, I remember as I started to get connected to other individuals in wheelchairs, I was completely surprised with how comfortable my friends who have spinal cord injuries were about talking about every topic, but especially sex. Individuals with disabilities, love to swap recipes, this is what’s going on for us, this is what I’ve tried, I like to put a lot of pillows behind me just get really good at pushups, because then you can get on top and kind of do pushups. And that helps out suspension harnesses, sex swings, because it puts them in a different position, man, do it in a chair, right? Sex on wheels.
Stan Clawson 06:36
Because when you leave the hospital with a spinal cord injury, five weeks is not enough time to learn everything there is to know. And really, it’s about hitting the streets, and learning everything you can from those people who, you know, have had the experience who’ve been out there. So it’s experiential learning at its very best. When Viagra came out, you’d have guys saying, you know, it’s a lot better if you chew it up, it works a lot better. And then some people are like, nah, that doesn’t really work as well. Just plan ahead. I’ve had instances where I’ve tried to plan ahead and be spontaneous. So you know, we’ll go out to dinner, and then, you know, after dinner I’ll secretly pop up a Viagra thinking, you know, this will be pretty cool. And you know, the person I’m dating is like, yeah, you know, I think I’m kind of tired. And I think when I go home, it’s like, Okay, take him home. And then you go home, and basically, you’re just sitting in front of Netflix with an erection and it’s like, well, okay, this is my night.
So one of the things that I did have to learn was, you now no longer have this tool. And this is what society deems is the tool for sexual intercourse for a man, it is your penis, you use your penis, you penetrate a vagina, and you have sexual intercourse. So when that is removed, well, what is sex? And I remember for a long time thinking, well, if I don’t put my penis in a woman’s vagina, that’s not technically sex. And it took a long time to even rethink that idea and go, well, sex is so much more than that. Like, you have so many more tools in your quiver that you don’t even realize. And when I meet newly injured patients, or especially men who have these preconceived ideas about what a man should do in the bedroom, it just startles me how like narrow minded they are about sex, like, well, I have to have sex with my penis.
So it’s like, you are missing out on an entire spectrum of colors. You know, one of the things I tell a lot of people is okay, there’s that one thing that I can’t really do very well. But there’s 563 other things that I can do. So are you putting all of your money on general penetration? Is that the experience? Is sex for you a destination? Or is it a journey? Because for me, I love having these really long moments where you’re discovering each other’s bodies, and you’re talking, and you’re communicating and you are vulnerable and it is something that I never would have imagined would be a part of sex. But it’s the funniest part. You can check out my Instagram @StanClawson. And thanks for listening to GOOD SEX.
GOOD SEX is a Lemonada Media Original. Produced by Claire Jones and Matthew Simonson. Our supervising producers are Kryssy Pease and Xorje Olivares, and our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Music is by Dan Molad with additional music from APM music. Sound design is by Matthew Simonson. If you like GOOD SEX, the show, not you know, why don’t you rate and review us. Listen and follow for new episodes each week wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks for listening.