On nights out, strangers ask me if I can have sex… #EndTheAwkward

Sam Renke with long blonde hairGuest post from actor Samantha Renke, who is supporting Scope’s End the Awkward campaign and stars in our Awkward Moments film. She has brittle bones and uses a wheelchair.

Not to blow my own trumpet or anything – but I’m a good dresser, some people think I’m attractive, and I do attract good-looking guys.

I love dancing and going out, usually with a big group of friends. All of us tend to be quite loud – you’d definitely notice us in a nightclub.

Because I have a condition that’s commonly known as brittle bones, my bones break easily and I have to use a wheelchair all the time. I am also only four feet tall.

As you might imagine, I have had plenty of awkward moments on my nights out!

‘What’s your favourite sexual position?’

Sometimes people don’t seem to know how to start a conversation with me, so they end up asking very direct questions. Like whether I can have sex, for example.

I wouldn’t go up to someone in the street and say, ‘Excuse me, what’s your favourite sexual position?’

Or I get guys coming up to me and saying: ‘While you’re down there…’ Hilarious. I’m a northern lass and I can take as much as they can give, but I also like to be wooed and treated with common decency. I am a lady after all.

Generally, though, curiosity is a good thing, and disabled people will always come across it. I want to deal with it in a positive way. Ignorance breeds ignorance – how are people going to learn if they don’t ask questions?

Being comfortable with myself

It has taken me a long time to be comfortable in my disability, but I certainly am now.

When I started first going out aged 18 with the girls, I didn’t really get much attention. Boys wouldn’t want to be seen approaching someone in a wheelchair. You could tell some boys had egged each other on to talk to me in quite a jokey way.

Even today, I mainly have relationships with people who have started off as friends, because the barriers have already been broken down. With strangers in bars, it has always been harder.

But even there, it is all about bringing the barriers down. I try and encourage people to be more open-minded.

Don’t be scared!

Black and white profile shot of Sam Renke smiling
Samantha Renke is supporting Scope’s End the Awkward campaign

When I’m attracted to someone, I tend to make nervous jokes – like ‘I’ve never broken a bone during sex’, or ‘I do really want a family one day.’ They’re things non-disabled people would normally say later in a relationship, but I feel I have to do it quite quickly.

But other than that, there’s not much difference between my life and anyone else’s. We all want friendships and love, we want to date, and as disabled people we’re probably more comfortable in our own skin than a lot of others.

You’ll find that most disabled people are fun people to be around. There’s no need to be so scared of approaching us, or to be worrying about getting things wrong. I want people to learn something from meeting me, so if they meet someone else like me, they won’t feel that same kind of awkwardness.

We find a lot of situations quite humorous, and we don’t get offended easily. We’ve probably heard it before!

Do you have an awkward story to share? Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media. 

Find out how Scope is ending the awkward this summer.