A disabled man and his able-bodied fiancé have opened up about their sex life in a candid video on their YouTube channel, as they want to fight “damaging stereotypes” in which interabled couples can’t have the same level of intimacy as other couples.
Shane Burcaw, 27 and Hannah Alyward, 24, have answered their fans’ most intense questions in their latest YouTube video.
On their channel ‘Squirmy and Grubs’, they addressed such questions as to how do they manage intimacy in an interabled relationship.
Although this isn’t the usual sort of thing they discuss, they wanted to open up about their sex life in order to battle the misconceptions around disabled people not being able to have physical intimacy with their partners.
Hannah said in reference to their physical relationship: “A lot of people assume it doesn’t exist.
“That’s a really damaging stereotype for all disabled people when you assume that disabled people aren’t sexually active.”
Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Shane has a neuromuscular disease which causes muscles to deteriorate over time. Since he was two-years-old, he has been in an electric wheelchair and can barely move his legs, arms and hands.
The couple met when Hannah reached out to the writer and public speaker after watching a documentary called The Office which was produced by actor Rainn Wilson about his life.
In her email addressed to Shane, she complimented Shane’s sense of humour and his writing. She then admitted that she thought he was very cute. Through Facetime calls and text messages, they got to know each and eventually fell deeply in love.
To educate people about interabled relationships, the couple thought it would be a great idea to launched a YouTube channel to share their life with others. They named it ‘Squirmy and Grubs’ and in their latest video, they addressed many questions they had faced about the sexual aspects of their relationship.
Shane explained that although he wanted to keep some things about their relationship private, he wanted to correct people on their assumptions surrounding disability and intimacy.
So the couple wouldn’t have to divulge too much, the couple used the word “intimacy” as an umbrella term to “refer to any number of sexual acts”.
Shane noted: “When we say intimacy, we mean sex. We mean other sexual acts.”
Recently, the couple has shared with fans that they have would love to have children one day and in an old post, Shane confirmed that he’s “perfectly capable of having sex”.
At the time, he wrote: “I get boners and my boners shoot sperm, so having kids is a real option.”
One of the first questions the couple addressed was by another disabled person. She had recently become disabled and was curious as to how Hannah prevented herself from injuring Shane.
Hannah admitted that when the couple initially got together, she was incredibly nervous about hurting Shane and when she wanted to move any part of him, she would feel the need to ask him beforehand.
Shane recalled: “I remember you being like ‘I don’t want to break you’.”
In response, Shane would say ‘just break me, go ahead’.
Hannah then noted in the video that although her husband-to-be may look fragile, he’s “a lot less fragile” then he looks and she added that he’s mindful of his own safety. Despite the couple having been together for years now, she said that Shane still reminds her to be careful when putting on his socks.
She said: “Shane is very cautious about his body movements — and you verbalize it.
“I pretty much know how every single part of your body can move and to what extent and to what direction. I know his body as well as I know mine now.”
However, the couple then recalled the time years ago in which Hannah had Shane screaming in agony. It was “at the end of intimacy” and she had leaned in to give him a kiss and accidentally squished his elbow.
Meanwhile, another fan was curious to know if their sex life needed constant verbal communication. Yet the couple said that were just as capable as being communicative with their bodies, just like able-bodied couples.
Hannah said: “I think our intimate life does benefit from that and saying what both of us want and figuring out how to get it.
“Because I think a lot of the time if you’re doing cookie-cutter whatever, it might not be completely what both people are dreaming of having.”
Shane added: “When I’m on the giving end of intimacy, I am very prone to be like, ‘Is this good? Is this fine? How’s this? Is this alright?’ Hannah is often like, ‘Shut up.'”
Another person asked the couple whether or not Hannah was the ‘dominant’ in the relationship, as she has to comfort Shane and initiate intimacy. Despite this, Hannah insisted that this isn’t the case.
She explained that Shane has a “very outgoing personality” and can be very affectionate. Although he may not be able to get up and give her a hug, he will instead ask her to come over and lean in so that he can kiss her or hold her hand.
He commented: “I like to be physically affectionate. I am always doing whatever I can to embrace Hannah.”