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  • Myranda Gereau

​The Gauntlet of Dating and Trials of Body Image

Updated: Mar 26

A black and white photograph of a woman with black hair wearing a beanie and posing for the camera.

Dating has become increasingly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the inability to go out and meet people face-to-face and the lack of public events. It's so easy to swipe right or left on a profile just based on someone's picture. On the rare occasion, someone reads your profile, it needs to highlight the best you! For people with disabilities, I feel like we already have multiple strikes against us because society does not see wheelchairs and other mobility equipment as a positive. Our bodies are not seen as desirable and there are often more questions on how a prospective partner will handle the physical aspects of a relationship.


I recently started dating a guy who has been so amazing and understanding about my disability! But before I met him, I went through the gauntlet of today's dating world on top of stereotypical comments and questions that go along with dating while having a disability. Nine times out of ten, the first question I received on dating apps was if I could have sex. There wasn't even a “How are you?” or “I really like that you're into (insert fun activity here).” Instead, it went straight to sex, which would ultimately lead to a resounding delete or block. When I started using dating apps, I would try to prove myself worthy to the people asking me these questions. Then I realized how demeaning and dirty it made me feel to have to explain to multiple guys how intimacy with me would work, before I even met them. I used to explain the key aspects, but this would usually get me replies containing more questions about details I surely cannot write about on this blog. I eventually realized that I owed these guys nothing, and my self-worth would no longer be jeopardized.


Before I realized that, I went through a depression and questioned my own body. Besides the sex messages, I would also get messages saying that I'm gross and disgusting, and I got asked, “Who would want to date a vegetable?” There were more polite ways that people turned me down, either by saying that they weren't comfortable with my equipment or it wouldn’t work between us, all before getting to know me. I began to think, “Am I this repulsive to people?”, “Am I worthy of love or affection?” and “I wish my body was different.” All those things swam around my head daily whenever I would log into my profile and see yet another rejection. I would look in the mirror and see everything that was “wrong” with me: my wheelchair, my ventilator, scoliosis, torticollis, lordosis, and how unsymmetrical my body was. I hated myself for a long time. It took me hitting rock bottom to realize that all these negative thoughts were not helping my dating life, and most importantly, these thoughts were harming my mental health! So, when I would get those comments, I would start to laugh because, obviously, these guys were so petty and insecure about their own image they couldn't handle a “wheel” woman who was proud of who she was and wasn't going to hide her true self.


People with disabilities do not owe explanations to anyone and we shouldn’t be the sole educator on dating sites about different body types and intimacy. Intimacy does not always mean having a physical relationship; it means being able to be comfortable with one another in every way. It means late-night talks about the weirdest things, good morning messages, and being there for that person when they need help to dust themselves off. It means holding their hand and letting that person know that they are not alone. We deserve to have self-worth with no questions asked, because we can give emotional and physical affection, all while looking drop-dead sexy while doing it!


Myranda Gereau is a 27-year-old Wisconsin native who is currently getting her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. Her passions are art and advocacy and she tries to combine them whenever she can. Myranda has lived with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that has progressed to where she needs a wheelchair to get around and a ventilator to breathe.



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