Originally published November-December 1994

Back in ’81, when I was in rehab, after the whoops that put me on these wheels, my class got well enough that the docs figured we were ready for The Talk.

It was a small unit: three or four spinal cord injuries, an old stroker, a head trauma; so they held The Talk in a small conference room with all the applicable customers, their significant others, the medical director and the psychologist, in case anybody seized up.

Dr. Holtzman opened with the observation that all of us probably had been wondering about this, so there was no point putting it off. “Your sex life isn’t necessarily over,” he said.

I knew that, but looking at the other two guys in wheelchairs — a 17-year-old boy who looked like he’d rather have been given a Playboy and an hour alone in the can, and a guy with a baseball cap advertising lassos from Sheridan, Wyo., with a wife whose face was a mask of cluelessness — I wasn’t sure their sex lives had yet begun.

Without a lot of preamble, the doctor launched into a dry dissertation on prosthetics, penile implants and various chemicals to put a little starch in your shorts, all of which he quickly dismissed as too Star Wars for cozy interludes, and moved right on to oral sex.

I snuck a peek at the quad in the baseball cap and his wife, and when the word “penile” entered the room, the wife registered anger and hubby looked nauseated. By the time oral sex came under discussion, they were backing away from the doctor’s chair, and when he uttered the word “cunnilingus,” she got up, switched his chair on and steered him out of the room. …

But I didn’t let this man’s sad story discourage me. I went to college: oral sex was part of the curriculum. I met my wife in college. You figure it out.

Besides which, while I was still in rehab, Coming Home was on TV. I’d not seen it at the movies, but friends told me they edited out the good parts for television. Those parts, I heard later, would be in the cable version, which was airing the week after I got out of rehab. I thought, “hot damn.” I could hang out on street corners in my new wheelchair, and women like Jane Fonda would take me home and lick me all over.

It didn’t happen. But over the ensuing years my popularity and my satisfaction with sex haven’t suffered. If anything, my services are more in demand.

Why? Let me put it this way: the male of the species is not noted for endurance where matters sexual are concerned. The literary mot “Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am” sums up the typical male approach to love making — no love at all, by a woman’s standards, but mere procreative hydraulics.

Women like to be cuddled, lingered over like a smorgasbord, and they deserve to be. Women are capable of multiple orgasms, but ironically, since a man’s notion of multiple orgasm is one in five minutes and another next week, many women seldom get to enjoy even one. And lads, I’ll tell you something: if you’ve never seen the bliss in the eyes of a satisfied woman, you’ve missed the most beautiful sight in nature. Prettier than a litter of pups in the bed of a brand-new pickup.

But a good gimp, freed from the yoke of pure hydraulics, can spend the time a good woman deserves. In the liberating knowledge that his main sex organ sits between his ears and not between his thighs, a man can turn vice into virtue and become the lover the woman of his dreams dreams about.

Use your imagination. Without imagination and emotion, sex is just epidermal friction. Eskimos rub noses because getting naked is cold, time-consuming and