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How has sex changed for you?
I had to do a rewiring. What my doctor told me is that the way the brain takes in information is 80 percent through vision and the remaining 20 percent is distributed through other senses. When the vision gets taken away, you go through a process where the other senses fight to take over. What really changed is my sense of smell and my sense of touch. I could feel things very well. So sex became more sensual.
When I was sighted, sometimes I’d look at people and be so focused on the visual aspect. I liked brunettes. Black, Asian, Latino. I thought they were all amazing. When I became blind, that wasn’t the big thing anymore. I became attracted to big hands and square jawlines. How I evaluate attractiveness has become more tactile.
What about one night stands?
For me, when I’m sleeping with somebody, I need to connect. There’s no more of that bam-wham-thank-you-ma’am, you know? I have to take my time and really savor every minute of it. As a person with a disability, vision loss especially, you have to sometimes take your time with things. And I think that was one of the biggest lessons for me. I had to learn to slow down. With men specifically. It was really tough to just jump into bed with someone without getting to know them a little bit.
Is there anything you miss being able to see?
There was a time when I mourned my vision loss. The first two or three years of blindness were very tough, and I did suffer from depression. But as I learned to connect with the world in a different way, I realized that I’m not missing out on anything. Right now I can smell the rain before it falls. I can’t see the water drip, but I can hear it. I’ve found a different way to connect with the world, and it makes me happy. I’m content.
If you could go back ten years and tell your 26-year-old self who was still sighted one thing, one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could talk to that person who I was before, I would just tell him that there’s always something after the nothing. That’s something that has really helped me in dealing with my disability. Gay men, in general, we have a lot of fears. We have fears of gaining weight. We have fears of getting old. We have fears of not being able to do certain things. All these fears, what they do, is block things out. We’re unable to see beyond them. But there really is something after the nothing. And so that’s what I would tell the 26 year old.
It doesn’t end here.