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Enabling Romance: A Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships for the Disabled.

by Ken Kroll and Erica Levy Klein. New York: Harmony Books, 1992. 209 pages, $22.50.

The authors of this readable book are a married couple; Ken Kroll has dystonia, a neuromuscular disorder, and uses a wheelchair; his wife, Erica is nondisabled. The book is a useful and understandable guide to love and sexual relationships for people with disabilities and their partners. It should also be helpful for counselors, teachers, and other professionals, for the authors provide important insight into what it's like to be a social, romantic and sexual being who also has a disability. The book is based on the authors' own experience and the experiences of over seventy-five couples who responded to their questionnaires. Although it mainly addresses heterosexual couples, there is a great deal of material that applies to gay or lesbian couples as well.

The need for sexual expression is not lost due to illness or accident, the authors say. Every person is a sexual being, and hardly anyone is too disabled to have some pleasure from his or her sexuality--with a partner if possible, or alone, if necessary. "It is up to each person to discover the kind of sexual expression that works for him or her and the best way to achieve it," they write.

The initial chapters deal with the fears about disabilities that are ingrained in our culture. The authors provide practical advice about how to open up honest communications, how to begin a relationship or friendship, and how to deal with the problems of a "mixed relationship"--one that involves disabled and nondisabled partners.

Subsequent chapters are about sexual variations and alternatives for couples and individuals with specific disabilities. The chapter on MS is brief. It contains straightforward accounts from two people with MS who found positive sexual expressions and positive self-expression. But it says that people with MS experience "only transient sexual difficulties." This is not always true. People with MS who have persistent or recurring problems can find helpful advice in this book, despite this error.

Reviewed by Helen Crohn, CSW, a clinical social worker and certified sex therapist in private practice in New York. Ms. Crohn is also director of Advanced Training Programs at the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in New York City.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Crohn, Helen
Publication:Inside MS
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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