Sexuality & Little People (LP),
Dwarfism, Short Stature,
and People With Disabilities (PWD)
Bridging the Gap: From Limitations to Fulfilling Your Desires
AASECT Certified sexuality educator
Consultant – Speaker – Life Coach
“I accept my body as imperfect. It gives me breath and gives me life.
What matters most is how I carry myself, not how my body carries me.”
– Dr. Marylou
“Sensuality & Intimacy for Little People, Disabilities, Medical Conditions, and Unique Body Types”
My career as a sexuality educator began when I pioneered an individualized sexuality enhancement education program titled “Heighten Your Sensuality and Intimacy.”
This workshop, first presented at Little People of America conference, was designed to meet the unique needs of Little People (ie: dwarfism) and people with disabilities. I introduced creative techniques, sex positions, and a variety of adult devices that are suited to our range of mobility, to achieve optimal fulfillment in sexual expression and pleasure. In addition to Little People, I work with all disabilities, medical conditions, and unique body types.
Standing a statuesque 3’11” I draw from my formal education and life experiences as a person of short stature who understands our challenges. Over the years, I have had hundreds consultations with Little People and PWD who expressed their resounding testimonial support and a need for more quality sexuality content education. I have also conducted educational sexuality and disability trainings for students and professional clinicians in the fields of sexology, sex therapy, and physical rehabilitation.
I am a certified clinical sexologist with the American College of Sexologist (ACS), and a certified sexuality educator with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, & Therapist (AASECT). I attained a BA from California State University, Northridge in sociology – emphasis in counseling & Interviewing, and doctorate in Human Sexuality (DHS) from the Institute for the Advanced Study in Human Sexuality.
I am a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and AASECT; a lifetime member of Little People of America (LPA), and was the former president of the Kniest SED Group (KSG), a dwarfism organization benefiting persons like myself living with Kniest Syndrome and SED related conditions, and their families.
If you would like to see me in action, I was featured in a mini-doc of my work on WE tv – “Secret Lives of Women.” The two video links are below, or go directly to my website for the radio and tv appearances: http://drmarylou.com/media.html
Video #1 of Dr. Marylou – Sex Educator This portion of the show covers her work as a sex educator including a mini-workshop and review of her favorite toys!
Video #2 of Dr. Marylou – Sex Educator/Living with Short Stature and Her Personal Life
Little People Defined
Little People of America (LPA) www.lpaonline.org defines dwarfism as a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that. The average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4’0, but typical heights range from 2’8 to 4’8. Short stature is generally caused by one of the more than 200 medical conditions known as dwarfism.
Dwarf Specific Sites
Below, taken in part from http://www.lpaonline.org/dwarfism-support-organizations
are several dwarf specific sites online that may be helpful in understanding the medical issues. This list is not inclusive. I suggest you do a Google search with your type of dwarfism diagnosis and educate yourself on the medical implication of your condition. Little People (LP) are considered people with disabilities (PWD). I will use the two distinctions LP and PWD interchangeably at times since there are so many overlaps that apply to both communities.
Association for Children with Russell-Silver Syndrome, Inc.
National Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) Society
Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation
Turner Syndrome Society of the United States
Turner’s Syndrome Society of Canada
Morquio Support Group
International Little People Organization Resources
There are many international organizations for Little People. Below is a list from the Little People of America website: http://www.lpaonline.org/dwarfism-support-organizations.
Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like for me to speak at your organization meeting regarding Little People, Disability, Sexuality, Relationships, and Life Strategies. I will design an entertaining individualized Sexuality Education program to meet the needs of your group!
United States Little People Of America – LPA
Skip the Performance!
It is important to note that intimacy does not always mean intercourse and orgasm. You can have a very passionate and erotic experience with or without intercourse and/or orgasm either alone or with your partner. Our limited range of mobility offers a wonderful opportunity to dialogue with your partner about what is pleasurable to each other and to discover new ways of giving pleasure. Ultimately, the real sensual experience is the heightened emotional connection and intimate bonding that you create with each other.
Since so many Little People live with physically challenging conditions, my goal is to reveal distinctive trends in the sex profile of this population and to raise interesting questions for discussion and resolutions. I also hope to identify limiting issues that may inhibit sexual satisfaction, so we can address ways to increase the overall sexual enjoyment and pleasure potential for Little People and PWD.
One of the most challenging issues for Little People is the ability to reach their own genitals with-out the use of assistive devices. This is most prevalent in certain types of short stature than in other types of short stature. What is most promising is that in my conversations with the hundreds Little People who could not reach their genitals, a majority felt it that sex was very important. This is so critical, because it tells me that Little People do want more satisfaction in their sex life even if they are physically limited; and are open receptors for change and education. I believe this is true for most PWD, and people with medical conditions and unique body types.
“My goal is to research, understand, and teach how we can empower
our sexual health in spite of the medical and social challenges
we experience during our lifetime.”
What are your Disabilities?
Little People are considered people with disabilities. Like other PWD, many have mild to severe medical complications such as orthopedic issues, malformed bones, spinal stenosis, neuro-muscular issues, arthritis, hearing/vision/speech Impairments, mobility Impairment, and chronic pain.
Common physical limitations of dwarfism/and other disabilities – reaching genitals comfortably, range of motion limitations, mobility issues in hips, arms, legs. Can’t straddle, chronic pain, fatigue. Constant stages of pain, in different parts of body new/old while managing activities of daily living (ADL.)
Definition of Disability
Medical impairments, the social construction of disability, and environmental Barriers are all factors in how we adapt and live with a disability. I believe that we are all disabled one way or another. It’s matter of degree and it’s visibility/non-visibility.
Don’t we all have limitations in some way?
How do we define ourselves in the language/words we use?
The World Health Organization has an interesting perspective in the definition of disability we can all relate to: http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/
says it’s an umbrella term covering 3 parts:
An Impairment – is a problem in body function or structure
An Activity Limitation – is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action;
A Participation Restriction – is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.
Disability is not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.
Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.
Disability Affects Sexual Expression
Identity/Expression/Attraction/Biological Sex – Do You Know Yourself…Inside and Out?
Here is a cool guide in exploring non-binary gender and sexuality in relation to your range of “male-ness” to “female-ness with gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual attraction: The Genderbread Person
Many Little People, and people with disabilities do NOT have an affect on identity, attraction, and sexual response i.e. excitement, desires and orgasms. BUT sadly disability may affect sexual expression. For example, one may not feel safe/or or be allowed to express self and what is wanted/desired because of family and/or societal restrictions and acceptance because of their disability.
Another factor is that a person with a disability may not be viewed as sexual beings or desired by others. Disability could be depicted in a more normalized sexual way in mainstream media and film to help improve this situation. We can all contribute to create safe spaces of acceptance for PWD of all expression and gender identities. If you are living with a disability, be brave, safe, and have fun!
There are many sexuality products that are conducive for people with disabilities and short stature. Check out my website for ideas: http://drmarylou.com/products.html