Ethan and Julie Ruby were “just” friends for years when, after dinner with their group of friends, they each felt a spark of chemistry. They began dating and enjoyed six months of incredible sex until a car hit Ethan, causing a T6 spinal cord injury. During rehab, Ethan offered Julie the inevitable out, “You don’t have to stick around; now’s the time to walk away.” But she stayed, they married in 2006 and are expecting their first child, thanks to artificial insemination.
For the Rubys, life is good: They have an apartment in Manhattan and a home in Cold Spring, N.Y. Julie has her own psychoanalytic practice and Ethan is a successful day trader. Ethan, a partner in the non-profit WearableCollections.org, is “paying it forward” in Mount Sinai Hospital’s Life Challenge Adventure program. He also dabbles in professional poker and founded Poker for Life, a fundraising entity for nonprofits.
There is only one area of their life together that could be better — as it is with many wheelchair users — sexual satisfaction. With Ethan’s level of injury, he is unable to attain an erection; this, along with their memories of a wonderful sexual compatibility, cause them great frustration and pain.
Ethan and Julie met while attending Brandeis University — he for one year before transferring to University of Pennsylvania. Part of a circle of college friends, they stayed good friends, meeting occasionally for dinner parties and the usual nights out. Then one night in early 2000, dinner conversation turned to relationships — they’d both had their share of bad ones. Something clicked that night and they dated secretly for a while — at the end of which they didn’t even kiss. They didn’t want their f