"Can you hang on? I have to take my arm off." My 20-pound bionic arm is sexy as hell but it also makes the bed a little crowded.
I first saw the Bebionic arm—a robotic prosthetic that functions through electrodes and muscles—on an amputee actress and activist whom I met for drinks after she'd expressed interest in an article I'd written. I was born missing my left hand and went 23 years without wearing a prosthetic, but three years ago when she walked through the bar door to meet me for drinks, my eye went straight to her prosthetic—an all-white futuristic robot hand. It was the sexiest thing on Earth. An arm fit for a stormtrooper sex goddess. I had to have one.
“Bitch, where did you get that?” I couldn’t help but blurt out as our French fries and sauvignon blanc arrived at the table. It was as if I had seen her in the hottest outfit and needed to know where she got it immediately. This arm could make jeans and a T-shirt look like Agent Provocateur lingerie. I was already fantasizing about an all-black version for myself, the dark counterpart to her angelic aura.
I’ve never let my lack of a left arm get in the way of my sexual confidence. Feeling insecure and unsexy was never an option for me. I’ve always stood out—if people are going to stare at me for being physically different, I realized early on, I could either wither into myself or slay. I choose slaying.
The first time I had sex wasn’t particularly ceremonious. But it was hot. I knew from a young age I liked girls, and though queer sex can be hard to define, I knew something amazing was happening when my study partner slipped her hand into my panties one afternoon. We were sitting in front of my family’s computer watching YouTube videos (typical 15-year-old stuff) as she lightly ran her fingers over me. I was so blissed out I didn’t even have time to panic or analyze. The next thing I knew, we were grabbing for one another, lips and limbs entangled as an obscure video played on the desktop in the background. I ripped off my bra without giving a second thought to the shape of my breasts. I let her unbutton my pants, and she unbuttoned her own, as I couldn’t with one hand.
It was animalistic, it was magical. It was everything the movies make the first time look like. Of course it was awkward and new, and we weren’t experienced enough to make it explosive, but it wasn’t anxiety provoking. I could’ve had three hands, or a hook for a hand, or no hands, or a tentacle for arm. It didn’t matter. I was so into her, I didn’t even have the brain space to feel self-conscious, let alone intellectualize that I was a disabled person having sex for the first time.
Being disabled is such a normal, everyday part of my life that sometimes when one would assume I’m thinking about it the most, I’m not thinking about it at all.
The second time I had sex with the same girl, I got in my own head. My boobs were too pointy, I had stomach rolls, my moans sounded more guttural than porn-star. It was like I was moving backwards. All of a sudden I was hyperaware of myself, and not mine and my partner’s pleasure. She had been going down on me and I wasn’t making a sound, too busy wondering what I looked like from her POV. Still, in all my hookup anxieties, I never once thought about my arm.
For years, I had both good sex and bad sex without my arm being an issue. Then in college I met someone who made me think about it all the time.
Our sex was earth-shattering, still some of the best I’ve ever had. She told me she thought I was beautiful, but she started to make strange comments about my disability.
“If you had two arms, you’d be straight and really slutty.”
“Have you ever fucked a girl with your stump?”
We broke up for a multitude of reasons, her attitude toward my disability being one of them. I dated, slept with, and even loved other women after her. They weren’t as fixated on my lack of an arm, but now I was.
Six months after I’d first laid eyes on the sleek white arm, I was sliding on my very own black bionic prosthetic. A month after that, I was sliding into a booth next to a tattooed brunette. I felt unstoppable, clad in incredibly sexy armor. Part sexy cyborg, part model. Instead of my date asking, “What happened to your arm?” or deliberately avoiding bring it up, she remarked, “Wow! Bionic woman.”
With my bionic arm, my already high sexual confidence skyrocketed. But it wasn’t long until I realized I had a new set of logistics to deal with. While trying to show my date how I could rotate my bionic wrist, I accidentally unscrewed the entire hand. It thudded to the peanut-covered floor. It was embarrassing, but it was real. And being real is hot. After I picked up my hand, she leaned over and kissed me. Then kissed me again.
That night as we furiously made out in an Uber on the way to her apartment, I cursed myself for not wearing cuter panties. Honestly, the fact that this was about to be my first time having sex as a bionic woman didn’t cross my mind. Being disabled is such a normal, everyday part of my life, that sometimes when one would assume I’m thinking about it the most, I’m not thinking about it at all.
Once we moved our kissing from the car to her bed, I struggled to find a comfortable position for my bionic arm. It turns out that when it's time to get down and dirty, it just gets in the way. No one wants to have sex while wearing a 20-pound piece of carbon fiber, no matter how hot it looks.
"Can you hang on a sec?" I yanked it off, surprised by the farting noise it made when it detached. As she laughed and placed my prosthetic on the nightstand, all I could think about was how much I liked her.
Now that I’ve had sex with multiple women after that first bionic date, I have the whole arm-removal thing down pat. (Although I still have the occasional “fart.”) Bionic arm or not, everyone is always staring. This gives me two choices: Shrink away or be confident. I choose the latter. And I have great sex because of it.
Dayna Troisi is a sex and dating writer whose essays have been published in Marie Claire, Allure, Elite Daily, and Buzzfeed, among others. She is also the managing editor at GO Magazine.
Originally Appeared on Glamour