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Photos of Sex and Disability

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Since 2000, I have been taking photos of disabled people having sex. There are almost no photographic images in public circulation that show disabled people being sexy, let alone sexual, in any kind of genuine, non-fetishized way. It is my hope to begin to fill this void by producing images that demonstrate the simple fact that people with disabilities are just as richly, emotionally, intimately, lovingly, passionately, and playfully sexual with their partners as everyone else.

In 1999, I began taking fine art sexual photos of couples in long-term, loving relationships, seeing what I could capture on film regarding the aspects of sex that interest me the most -- intimacy, vulnerability, personal connection, love, affection, passion, joy. I began photographing friends, then friends of friends, then (as more people learned of my work) people from a wider network -- people being sexual in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. I am fascinated by the process of working with people in a way that allows them be comfortable and genuine in front of a camera while being sexual. It is a true privilege to be allowed to watch and photograph people in these most intimate and personal moments. My hope is that some of my images honestly capture some of the emotional richness and complexity that, I believe, lie at the heart of deep and satisfying sex, but that is almost completely absent from the sexual imagery that is most commonly produced and viewed -- commercial pornography.

One of the first couples I photographed included a man with cerebral palsy. When I showed images from that shoot to friends active in the movement to acknowledge, respect, and support the full sexuality of people with disabilities, I was strongly encouraged to do more photography with disabled people, and to put together a book of photographs portraying the full sexuality of people with disabilities. To date, I have photographed six such couples, and I'm actively looking for additional couples and individuals to photograph for this project. A book of these images is scheduled to be published in 2006 or 2007.

David Steinberg
PO Box 2992
Santa Cruz, CA 95063

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