People with Disabilities Can Still Be Sexy
Updated: Jun 4, 2022
On The Whorizon Interviews GoAskAlex
Blog Post Written By: MelRose Michaels
GoAskAlex is an adult model, performer and sex educator who has underwent a life-changing ostomy surgery in 2019. She has since taken the opportunity to use her adult work to advocate for disabled and underrepresented bodies in sex work.
On the Whorizon sat down with Alex to talk about the stigmatization of sex talk in medical environments, and her experience as a disabled person in the industry.
Alex: I'm an adult performer, and I'm also an advocate for the representation of disabled bodies, in pornography and in media, as I have a disability. I have an ileostomy, [a type of ostomy], which is a permanent medical device. And my passion is speaking about and working to promote that representation of underrepresented bodies in pornography … I was a sex worker for about six years prior to having the colectomy surgery that really changed my life… So I have experience in sex work, pre-disability, and also post-disability and I've kind of seen the differences in that.
Tell us a little bit about the article you just wrote for Lustzine.
Alex: I wrote about my experience with sex education, or probably rather say the lack of sex education for people like myself who are coming out of surgery and transitioning to life with a new disability or medical device. And really how disappointing it was to be handed that brochure with really no information on, like, practical sex education or advice…
I mean, you go into an experience like this, in such a state of emergency and fear, when you're going through a big medical change … and of course, it's something that is important to you. But in the moment, you might not be thinking to advocate for yourself, because you just don’t know, and you're just doing what you can to survive. And then as you’re recovering from that, the doctors are just happy you’re alive, and you're kind of expected to just figure it out. And even in these brochures they give out that has a little section about sexuality and intimacy after surgery, there isn't really any information aside from a recommendation to ask your doctor or nurse if you have questions and, you know, some encouraging statements like, “You can still have healthy relationships and intimacy,” and “Wait as long as you need before you are intimate again.” But it's like, there's no actual practical information about that, right?
Do you feel like with a major medical change like that, the focus is so much on keeping their patient alive that the doctors might overlook quality of life after the fact?
Alex: The focus is really on efficiency, rather than having that patient care… I don't think that the doctors, at least in my case, really wanted to have that conversation. I don't think anybody was really volunteering to have an awkward conversation about sexuality, and what that would actually look like and be like. And even when I did advocate for myself and bring that up or ask questions to my doctor, it was definitely awkward. It didn't seem like he'd been asked those questions before. And that's unfortunate, because, you know, you're not going to want to ask more questions in that situation, right?
You come from such a unique position, because you came from doing sex work before this, then going through the surgery and changing your body.
Alex: It's still really hard performing, getting naked. I still have a lot of insecurity — I don't think that's ever going to go away. I look at the way my body used to look, and I feel envy for that. And that's just, I think, going to be part of my life. And so, when I'm performing, I do try to find underwear and lingerie, and things like that, that will maybe not hide my medical device, but that makes me feel more comfortable… But it's something that's always sort of in the back of my mind. For other people, who are my fans, they might say they don't even notice it, or it's just there, and it's not positive or negative… And that is what I want, that is like my goal. But you know, of course, it's always mentally there for me. It's like, the thing that you're most insecure about on your body, but it's right there on camera, and you can't hide it. So that's difficult, definitely. It impacts me in that way…
For two years, I did — I called it, “The Disabled Sex Workers Calendar.” And it was a art project, art of advocacy, that was born from just my experience of realizing that there are so many sex workers with disabilities, chronic illness, mental health. Our industry is saturated with people who have these conditions and the representation of that is very low in comparison to how many people are living with these things. So I decided I would make this art project and this advocacy project, where I would feature 12 different performers in a 12-month calendar. And they would have boudoir photos or artistic nudes. And essentially, I would showcase the different body types, and maybe a quote from each person in their social media, to funnel and push new fans towards their work and obviously give them a platform — but also just to make people think a little bit about their preconceived notions about conventional beauty, and sex, and sex work, and sort of spark the idea that people with disabilities still have sex, still have pleasure, and can still be sexy.
Some parts of the above interview have been condensed or edited for clarity. To hear the full interview with Alex, listen to On The Whorizon, Episode 9: Neurodiversity & Disability in SW.
Follow Alex on Twitter @GoAskAlexOnline and Instagram: @GoAskAlexOnline. You can see her work at onlyfans.com/goaskalex.
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