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At the TEDX in Annecy in 2019, Laetitia Rebord, with a motor disability and a great physical dependence, recounts her life as a bachelor without any sexuality until the age of 35. Until he meets in a professional setting a man who makes him discover sexual fulfillment.

After a medical examination, during which the doctor asks him questions including a «Single, I suppose?» , she analyzes with humor and sincerity the impossibility of her body to sexuality, not in fact, but as imposed by the codes of validist sexuality.

A mourning that she incorporated as an absolute truth, and which explains her astonishment at the age of 35: she can take pleasure. 

The body is at the heart of representations of sexuality, and hypersexualization constrains sexual relations in search of perfection, as the alpha and omega of an optimal and fulfilling sexuality. Worse still, the performance is a given slipped into pornographic images, but also images of television and cinematographic fictions. The issue has even taken root in the very lucrative personal development. 

The anthropological gap is even greater, when her disability and sexuality enter the debate. It is explained by the look on the disabled body, full of «pain», «injuries», «disease». So many words of a lexical field contrary to sexuality, strong, vigorous and competitive. The survey of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), in its 2022 analysis on stereotypes related to disability in France, reveals that 64% of French people believe that disability is an obstacle to a fulfilled life. Men are more skeptical of the possibility of living a happy life when women consent little more. 

Laetitia Rebord recounts her romantic disappointments before her great revelation, and also how she created a «on handicap» with the absence of sexuality, while her companion will reveal the asset of this situation. An asset because out of the ordinary, it is not the classic sexuality, and shows the foundations of a fine and precious complicity for an act of pleasure. She describes the non-verbal communication and feelings of the body that cancel out stereotypes about disability: "I was born, I breathe, I have sex and I exist," she insists. 

The body, even if it is not perfect, must mimic a fantasy, a product of the mind in a way, and from this point of view, disability is subject to two preconceived ideas. 

The disabled body can be a kind of monstrosity that attracts the curiosity of the valid as much as it fears it. The crippled body is an archaic resurgence of the figure of the savage, which must be tamed and brought back to a semblance of normality. The sexuality of the disabled person would thus have a disturbing mixture of wild monstrosity. And if we add mental disability in the round, we might as well emphasize a tenacious preconception: the disabled person is nothing less than a beast and sexuality cannot be a moment of pleasure, but indeed a revelation - to be silenced - of his bestiality. 

Victor Hugo drew this character with the consequences we all know in Notre-Dame de Paris in 1831: “The grimace was his face. Or rather his whole person was a grimace. When this kind of cyclops appeared on the threshold of the chapel, motionless, stocky, and almost as wide as it was high (...) the populace recognized him immediately and cried out, "Quasimodo, the bell-ringer! This is Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame! Quasimodo the one-eyed! Quasimodo the wobbly!" Quasimodo in love, Quasimodo ridiculous. Here is a non-human, isolated, for whom seduction is impossible.

It is also this savage which it is best to bring back to the «normal», under cover of an implicit demand of the common existence of the able-bodied to domesticate it, as it is also necessary to try to adapt to it. Of course, this is about overcoming an ancestral fear of the strange as there were bearded women and all kinds of «creatures», like those released in the film of Ted Browning Freaks in 1932. 

And when it comes to sexuality, the strange is limited to normativity, bodies and relationships. The handicapped, who is missing, who has, in addition, something monstrous, is this hybrid human who colors Western medieval art with the representation of the wild. Excess hair is a characteristic feature. But, it can also have a body part referring to that of an animal so that the boundary between man and animal is not so obvious. 


Miserable, the result of rejection, sexuality with disabilities refers to atavistic fear. The wild monster is the fruit of the viability intrinsic to the concept of sexuality, which refers to reproduction. The wild monster cannot be allowed to reproduce.  With the notion of pleasure, it is the normative character that encloses. The codes of seduction do not admit that the wild monster can give pleasure and its bestiality should not morally give it. It is ultimately a search for the annihilation of what is foreign, as if the handicapped were not a human form and spirit. 

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