This week 3D wheelchair models Michael and Kay get wet in pool fun. Water is a difficult medium to animate. Plugins can achieve a realistic effect but out of the box Daz3D is hopeless at animating water. Adjusting opacity works fine for still images. However, creating an animated splash effect as Michael plunges into the pool in Daz3D is a big fail.
Three solutions; purchase a plugin, create splashes in another 3D modeling tool to import and animate, or place the camera at water level and move the water surface. For the simple purpose of bringing you original wheelchair related content we did the latter for this short video clip.
Good lighting is essential to realistic effects. Get the movements right before adding lights as they slow render speeds dramatically. We import the pool scene and fill it with water. Animate disability models sexy paraplegic Michael in his briefs and Kay in a pink bikini jumping into the swimming pool. Then add eleven slightly yellow distant lights to replicate sunlight; a ring of five pointing down at -33 degrees, five up at 44 degrees, and one down at -59 degrees. We set raytracing on the last light with an intensity of 73 and a shadow softness of 2 for a realistic sun shadow.
Adjusting Lighting for Wheelchair Renders
The Pool Fun Part
We understand most don’t care how we create content, you just want to see the end results, and that’s ok. We have no purpose without an audience. If our audience does create and share stories, photos, video, comments, etc we will grow faster and serve you better. We built this website so you can express yourself. These anatomically correct models can be made do much more than we have shown here. We are also interested in using real-life models, disabled or not.
Ok rock stars, here is our Flex design wheelchair animation in Daz3D. With a few quick steps you can have fun creating your own wheelchair animation in Daz3D at home for free. Download a free version of Daz 3D from their website. Previously I showed how to import 3D models and figures, set colors, textures, clothing, pose the figures and so on. Now let’s have some 3D anim movie fun.
Wheelchair Wheel Rotation
To setup your wheelchair wheel rotation open Daz3D and click the Pose & Animate tab. 1) Import your wheels to the zero point. 2) Set X Rotate to 720. 3) Set Y Translate to 31. 4) On the timeline set 91 frames, a range of 0 to 90, and drop the frames per second (FPS) to 20. 5) On frame 90 set Z Translate to -389.36. Render to see if your wheelchair wheel rotation is correct and matches the distance.
It might be worth explaining how I calculated wheel rotation and distance. 2 PI R equals the circumference of a circle. Imagine wrapping a string around the tyre then laying it out flat, we want to know that measurement to sync the wheel rotation to distance. PI is 3.14 and R (radius) is 31. So 3.14 x 31 x 2 = 194.68 for one full wheel rotation. Times 2 again for two wheel rotations and we get 389.36.
Posing Disabled Wheelchair Model
Now the wheelchair animation is looking good we start posing disabled wheelchair model Michael. Sit him in our flex wheelchair at frame zero and on frame 90 set Z Translate to -389.36. Then add key-frames and adjust his chest, arms, hands etc to give the illusion he’s pushing the wheelchair. Take a few renders going back and tweaking to achieve a realistic motion. Here’s our paraplegic hunk Michael in motion.
Sweet, all we do now is set a scene add a few lights and drop in a background. Indoor lighting can be a bit tricky in Daz3D so I won’t bore you with all that here. Just know in Daz3D you need raytracing on at least one light to get a realistic shadow effect. Here we have the sunlight (distant light) coming through the window and four down lights (spotlights) all set with raytracing on.
Wheelchair sex and the ability to develop sexuality, participate in sexual activity, and maintain long term intimate relations is desired as much by people with a disability as in the general population. The majority of spinal cord injury wheelchair users are 15 to 45 years of age so sex and fertility often become an important issue. The amount of physical sexual function and ability to feel pleasure or pain sensation after a spinal cord injury depends on level and completeness. In general, an incomplete spinal cord injury affects sexual function to a varying degree if at all, as opposed to complete where no function exists.
For men with incomplete spinal cord injuries involuntary motor and or sensory function still exists below the level of injury. The ability to achieve a sustainable erection for wheelchair sex and reach orgasm is usually possible. After a complete injury the ability to achieve erections, ejaculate, and father children can be greatly compromised. For women complete or incomplete, following an initial absence of menstrual cycle, fertility is rarely impaired, though vaginal lubrication may be. In both sexes limited to no sensation below the level of injury is common. By having wheelchair sex many couples are re-discovering sex after spinal cord injury. Wheelchair sex enriches their lives and results in a more understanding closer relationship.
Safe Sex and What to do With Catheters
Never assume a spinal cord injury causes infertility or makes one incapable of catching and spreading Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). Practice safe sex as you would normally. Men with a permanent Indwelling Catheter (IDC) can remove or fold back and cover with a condom or otherwise secure to penis shaft. Women with an IDC can also leave a catheter in during sex unless it causes problems. Stoma and those who self-cath (pass a catheter several times a day to drain bladder) usually do so just prior to sex to avoid any unwanted urine leakage. Supra Pubic Catheter users are free to engage in wheelchair sex, intimacy and sexual intercourse anytime.
Quadriplegia sex with catheters after spinal cord injury
Usually high level quadriplegics cannot go without a catheter for long. Care should be taken not to pull on a catheter during sex but don’t let it spoil enjoyment. If either wheelchair sex partner (or soloist) has major concern about a catheter for medical or aesthetic reasons tape it and any tubing to the body prior to love making. Be aware tubing pressed hard against skin can cause blisters. A sleeve of soft material slipped over the catheter and or tubing may avoid blistering.
Orgasm Erectile and Vaginal Function
Men with incomplete spinal cord injuries may achieve reflex, but not psychogenic erections. That is; an erection may be achieved by physical stimulus, touch, not erotic vision or thought. While a more than adequate blessing for most, such erections are not always sustainable or strong enough for penetrative sex. Not only can unpredictable erections cause embarrassing situations during sexual intimacy but for wheelchair users in public (being void of sensation below the level of injury) unaware they have an erection. It has been reported that 45 percent of men have experienced orgasm after spinal cord injury.
Complete injuries involving S2 to S4 affect the nerves responsible for two main chambers (corpora cavernosa) of the penis which fill with blood to create an erection, damage at and above this level makes reflex (physically stimulated) erections totally unachievable for most. If a sphincterectomy has been performed reflex and psychogenic erections are rarely possible. Difficulties with erections may eventually be experienced by nearly half of men with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) caused by lesions of the thoracic spine and autonomic nerves.
The most sensitive area of the penis is the fraenum (underside of penis head). A vibrator applied to the fraenum can not only induce erection but orgasm, ejaculation. For a woman laying face up the erogenous zone is two to three inches inside the vagina and upward, called the G-spot. During wheelchair sex a womans G-spot might be more easily reached by sliding her hips up to the front edge of the wheelchair seat.
Women with incomplete spinal injuries are generally able to produce vaginal lubrication and enjoy wheelchair sex. For women with complete injuries between T10 and T12 there is typically an absence of either psychogenic or reflex lubrication. Attempted penetration of the vagina by any means may trigger adductor and pelvic floor muscle spasm. Be patient and never force entry. It has been reported that 53 percent of women have experienced orgasm after spinal cord injury.
Medications and Sex Aids After Spinal Cord Injury
The introduction of oral medications Viagra and Ciallis have largely replaced their intracavernosal predecessors. Swallowing a pill has much less shock value than injecting and massaging meds into the penis. While both methods can help sustain an erection, the ability to achieve some form of erection in the first place, is most desirable.
I am one of the lucky quadriplegic wheelchair users who can get an erection simply by touch. I have tried Viagra several times. In the interests of research for this wheelchair sex article of course. I did not notice Viagra of any benefit to my usual sexual function. Viagra is really only of benefit to those who can achieve psychogenic erections (erections from erotic thoughts).
Devices such as vacuum erection pumps can initiate erection and tight rings or bands applied to the base of penis will restrict blood drain from the penis once erection is achieved. Penile pump implants are also available but carry risk of erosion, leakage, or infection requiring removal. Some men with intact sacral anterior nerve roots are able to achieve stimulator-driven erections, though the primary reason for doing so is urination, not sex.
Disability sex wedge, paraplegic sex swing, hoist bondage and armrests for wheelchair sex
Disability sex aids like sex wedges, sex swings, vibrators, the height of a bed or table, power tilt on a wheelchair and easily removable arm rests are worth consideration when purchasing equipment with wheelchair sex in mind. Partners of wheelchair users will attest the wheelchair itself becomes a sexual aid at times.
For the more sexually adventurous, electric powered mechanical sex seats and fetish equipment like neck braces, casts, catheters, crutches, straitjackets, bondage, electrostimulators, mouth spreaders, and speculum devices exist.
Sex lubricants such as K-Y Jelly can assist in achieving sexual penetration and increase enjoyment of wheelchair sex. Application of these gels or “body sauces” and massage oils to other areas where greater sensation exists may also prove pleasurable during wheelchair sex.
Wheelchair Sex Positions
Wheelchair sex positions
How do people in wheelchairs have sex? Just like any other person, usually in bed. Some sexual positions are more difficult in bed after spinal cord injury as paralysis makes it hard to roll over or climb on top, compounded by loss of leg function for support, and hips for thrust. Therefore some sexual positions are more easily achieved by practising wheelchair sex. Most modern wheelchairs have easy to remove armrests, swing away footplates, folding backrests and locking brakes and such easily accommodate wheelchair sex and greater sexual freedom. Those in wheelchairs due to spinal cord injury often describe their wheelchair as their legs and therefore it becomes a part of their sexuality.
Paraplegics rely on upper body strength to perform adventurous wheelchair sex positions. Quadriplegics or Tetraplegics rely on assistance from their partner to do the same. For wheelchair sex sliding the paralyzed male or females bottom to the front edge of the wheelchair seat gives greater access for sex. When both sex partners have high level spinal cord injuries a sex worker may be employed to assist in wheelchair sex and intercourse. Be aware when limited sensation below the level of spinal cord injury exists, sensitivity above the level of injury often increases, and can become hypersensitive. Go easy on those nipples.
Some find paralysis and wheelchair users very sexually attractive and actively seek them as partners. Most are caring empathetic people genuinely interested in people with disabilities. Occasionally however such relationships are sought assuming that a position of dominance and control will be given and can result in conflict or violence. Wheelchair sex fetish should not be thought of as perverse. Like any sexual practice it only becomes unhealthy or inappropriate and often illegal when forced into or thrust upon minors and unsuspecting, unwilling parties. For example; public masturbation, flashing and up-skirting.
Throw Clinical Approach Out The Bedroom Window
As a C4 incomplete quadriplegic male able to achieve reflex but not psychogenic erections the sight of my beautiful girlfriend still makes me want to pin her to the wall and tear her lingerie off with my teeth. A clinical diagnosis deeming psychogenic, sexual thought and erotic vision of no benefit to establishing erection, bares no relevance in the bedroom. Scented candles, rose petals, lingerie, nudity, enticement, foreplay, wheelchairs and other apparatus can hold new use and appreciation for both sexes. Blessed with a patient willing partner I even turn my head sideways looking at my hoist lately.
“Sexy is not about sensation. It took time to recognize that what I was feeling during sex was less about physical sensation and more of a mental build-up. It’s mind over matter, but there’s definitely a release. It was completely frustrating at first, but I think part of the healing process was learning the ways my body works differently after my accident.” – Angela Rockford
Experiment with your partner to discover the new frontier spinal cord injury and wheelchair sex brings. Talk with them to learn about their body, likes and dislikes. People with a physical disability often have a poor self body image, thinking they are damaged goods, broken, somehow less than. This perception or stigma is difficult to change in both the disabled and general public’s mind. Often an able-bodied sex partner will feel guilt for having full sensation. These feelings are normal and should be discussed, but don’t dwell on them. Healthy love making is about pleasing your partner. The person with limited sensation from spinal cord injury often derives great joy and sexual satisfaction from simply pleasuring their partner.
A girlfriend of mine was asked what she sees in me because I’m, “not a whole man.” Resisting the urge to punch them out of their seat she replied, “He’s more man than any I know, I see the man not the wheelchair.”
Spinal Cord Injury Emissions and Ejaculations
For seminal emission to occur the spinal cord nerves from T11 to L2 to the vasa deferentia, seminal vesicles, and prostate must be intact. Emission being a trickling or leakage of semen with no rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscles as in true ejaculation. Some with complete cord lesions at lumbar or sacral level may be able to achieve psychogenic erections and emission. Retrograde ejaculation, where the semen is ejected into the bladder rather than the urethral meatus is common.
When ejaculation cannot be achieved by sexual intercourse it may be induced by masturbation or vibrator stimulus of the fraenum (underside tip) of the penis. Emissions may also be induced by rectal electroejaculation (a vibrator applied to prostate via the anus). A hypo-gastric plexus stimulator can also be implanted to achieve emission, using a single inductive link across the skin. When neither ejaculation nor emission can be achieved collection of sperm by epididymal aspiration or testicular biopsy (a sample collected from testicles by needle) is possible.
Fertility After Spinal Cord Injury
Fertility in men progressively reduces after spinal cord injury. A low sperm count with diminished motility (swim strength) is often due to continuing non-ejaculation, infection and raised testicular temperatures from sitting in a wheelchair and laying in bed for long periods with little mobility and poor air flow. Earliest collection and storage of sperm after a spinal cord injury might therefore be enacted. Seminal fluid quality may improve after repeated ejaculation. All good reasons to engage in regular wheelchair sex.
It is essential to obtain microbiological cultures of the seminal fluid and eradicate any infection prior to proceeding with an attempt at fertilization. Fertilization success rates after spinal cord injury have improved with the use of seminal fluid enhancement techniques, intrauterine insemination, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
For women after an initial absence of menstrual cycles fertility is rarely compromised. If the spinal cord lesion is complete above T10 labor may be painless. When unable to bear down effectively during the second stage of labor forceps are often used to assist in delivery. Autonomic Dysreflexia during labor is a risk for mothers with a spinal cord injury at T6 and above, this can be prevented with an epidural anesthesia.
“(Sex)abled Disability Uncensored” celebrates people with disabilities as sexual beings. This 14-minute film made by San Francisco State University students features the bright and lively participants of the discussion panel sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Disabled Students Union called “Are Cripples Screwed?” Enjoy engaging with Bay area community members and comedian Josh Blue (winner of Last Comic Standing) as they share their personal experiences with wheelchair sex, dating and intimacy. Please consider making a contribution to the production of this video at Sex Smart Films.
For significantly disabled wheelchair users such as high level spinal cord injury tetraplegics (quadriplegics) on ventilators living in structured environments, nursing homes, group homes and institutions, wheelchair sex and opportunities for sexual and gender expression may be limited. Institutional barriers to wheelchair sex and sexual relationships include cramped conditions, a lack of privacy, unwelcome intrusion by support staff, prohibited relationships with staff, prohibited sexual contact between residents and prohibited sexual relations between residents and visitors.
Disabled people’s sexual and emotional needs are rarely included in any discussion or representation in popular culture such as movies, music, and magazines. When disabled people are represented in more sexually positive ways by media, often social cultural and institutional supports follow suit, advocating for disabled people’s greater sexual access and sexual well-being. For wheelchair users with spinal cord injury this positive sexual representation not only promotes wheelchair sex. It strengthens sexual self-identification and heightens sexual self-esteem. It creates an avenue for non-disabled people to see the disabled in a more sexually attractive light.
Disability in the Commercial Sex Industry
Paraplegics and quadriplegics are employed as sex workers in several fields. Increasing numbers of women with paralysis from spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities are being employed in the phone sex industry. Some customers specifically request sexual surrogates (qualified sex therapy educators who engage in sex). Others request wheelchair bound prostitutes. Some earn a living as wheelchair sex porn stars. Disability sex educators, with an actual disability, are highly sought after. Wheelchair bound glamour models are increasingly seen in the fashion industry. There is even a niche for medical equipment test pilots.
A 13 billion dollar industry in the United States, commercial outlets and websites selling “disability fetish” calendars, pictures and videos of disabled women and men having sex, wheelchair sex, naked “gimp” amputees, girls in casts and various other mediums of wheelchair bound people having sex are increasingly common in western culture. Most are produced solely for pornographic use which is fine for adult porn entertainment but is all to often exploitative of the disability sector. Porn movies featuring non-disabled wheelchair pretenders do little to promote real wheelchair sex or sex with a disability. The wheelchair becomes nothing more than a prop.
The relationship between disability and the commercial sex industry has developed healthier approaches through increased education and recognition of sexuality of people with disabilities as an important issue. With or without disability however gender imbalance will always exist, where women are seen as goods and men as the consumer or buyer of such goods.
Disability in the International Sex Industry
The global sex industry is worth an estimated 850 billion US dollars per year spawning many illegal underground sub-cultures. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, targeting vulnerable sections of populations including disabled people. Globally, 27 million people are held in slavery for the two main purposes of labor and sex. Often considered unable to work, those with a disability are nearly always exploited for sex.
Disabled women often enter into traditional prostitution as the lowest and cheapest commodity due to their extremely marginalized status. This places them at great risk of sexual abuse, rape and sexually transmitted disease HIV/AIDS. Each country has their own inherent problems concerning sexual issues, such as traditional customs and culture, access and support, education and advocacy, economy and research. The problems facing the international sex industry are many and positive outcomes few.
Paraplegic Ellen Stohl – Playboy Pictorial 1989
Five Quick Wheelchair Sex Facts
A Braille copy of Playboy featuring the beautiful paraplegic Ellen Stohl was provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Handicapped in the USA until Congress banned its production.
The average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the USA is 13. Of these more than 10% have a disability.
In Australia, the Accsex Network provides disabled people with a “sex-attendant” and can arrange access to other wheelchair sex services.
The Pink Palace, a brothel in Melbourne, gained global media attention by making their premises wheelchair accessible and installing a sit-down shower.
In Zimbabwe some still believe that HIV/AIDS can be cured by having sex with a disabled person.
Barriers to Sexual Expression After Spinal Cord Injury
Social attitudes and physical barriers associated with decreased mobility as well as a dependency on others for care after a spinal cord injury often hinders sexual expression. A social attitude that deems people with physical disabilities as dependent and helpless only fosters assumptions. It serves to prevent able-bodied people from accepting a person with spinal cord injury as a sexual partner.
Perceived as very “needy” a relationship with a person of high level spinal cord injury such as quadriplegia or tetraplegia is imagined to be extremely demanding and never equal. This attitude can also become internalized by the person with spinal cord injury. They start to believe their dependency makes them undesirable wheelchair sex and life partners.
Wheelchair sex barriers after SCI
Wheelchair sex barriers after spinal cord injury and the true sexual desires, prowess and functions of people with disabilities, are greatly compromised by mythical stigma and stereotypes. People with intellectual disabilities for example are often believed to be oversexed and dangerous or asexual and eternally childlike. Other wheelchair users, especially those with a spinal cord injury are considered unable to parent, conceive, or adequately raise children. These false stereotypes further exclude people with disabilities from sexual activities. This has been highlighted by an increasingly vocal constituency of people with disabilities expressing frustration at the social barriers preventing full participation in life particularly in the taboo area of sexuality.
Emphasis has been placed on social re-integration of wheelchair users like those with spinal cord injury in recent times. Schemes and programs have been developed to open opportunities for wheelchair sex, independent living, education, employment, health, sport, transport and physical wheelchair access. Many people meet sex partners and life partners at college, their workplace and social events, but for wheelchair users they must first be able to participate and express their sexuality. Only then can they be seen as sexually able and possibly sexually attractive.
Identified Sexual Outcomes After Spinal Cord Injury
Today, there is a greater awareness that sexuality is equally important to men and women with disabilities and that sexuality is an integral part of the development and experience of all people. Much of what we know about the social barriers that people with disabilities face in relation to their sexuality comes from the reports of people with disabilities themselves. Disability activists have also played a strong role, campaigning for the sexual rights of people with disabilities, including the right to have sexual relationships, the right to be parents, and the right to access sexual services.
People with a disability including wheelchair users with spinal cord injury don’t always portray the youth, virility, athleticism and physical beauty that is so sought after in western culture. Often resented by the able-bodied, seen as ugly and repulsive, the disabled body is hidden or presented as something to be avoided, corrected, and pitied.
Historically, there has been a fear that people with disabilities will produce offspring with disabilities, and a belief that this is something that should be avoided. Despite the history of exclusion, physical limitations, isolation and abuse, it is important to note that for other people with disabilities, their sexual rights are being achieved and they are leading satisfying sexual lives.
Both paraplegics and quadriplegics living with spinal cord injury are enjoying relationships of all kinds, having children, marrying other disabled people and people who do not have a disability. People with disabilities are enjoying active wheelchair sex lives, dating, loving, touching, kissing, hugging, sucking, fingering, and fucking. Some are accessing the sex industry, visiting sex workers, working as sex workers, consuming pornography, and in some instances, making pornography.
People paralyzed by spinal cord injury are learning and teaching about sex, as sex educators, counselors, and researchers. They are finding and sharing useful ways to enjoy wheelchair sex, express their sexuality, increase sexual pleasure and bolster sexual self esteem. Prioritizing the sexual rights of people with disabilities, as well as dissolving stereotypes, taboos and silences will ensure that these success stories become the norm for most people with disabilities in years to come.
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Latin meaning “this for that” an equal exchange, Quid Pro Quo is the first feature film by Carlos Brooks released by Magnolia Pictures in 2008. Actor Nick Stahl who played John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as well as roles in Spin City, The Thin Red Line, Bully, Safe Passage, and Sleepwalking, plays the central character Isaac Knott, a semi-paraplegic wheelchair reporter in Quid Pro Quo.
As a New York public radio reporter Isaac Knott begins to recount a story about himself live on-air. Telling when he was eight, his mother and father died in an automobile accident that left him in a wheelchair. Almost forcing us to feel the dark curiosity that turns heads when passing an accident scene Isaac lays his trauma out welcoming.
Continuing his story, Isaac reports that he recently received an anonymous tip from someone identified only as “Ancient Chinese Girl.” She tells him a perfectly able-bodied man walked into an emergency ward downtown, and attempted to bribe a doctor into amputating his leg.
In the course of his investigation, he meets Fiona played by Vera Farmiga, the aforementioned Ancient Chinese Girl. Though she is neither ancient nor Chinese, she is nevertheless supremely attractive, highly intelligent and therefore very secretive keeping to herself. Fiona guides Isaac to a netherworld of people afflicted with a seemingly perverse desire to be disabled.
Seduced by her beauty and intelligence Isaac is quick to suspect that Fiona herself may be a “wannabe.” When he confronts her she protests, “I don’t want to be paralyzed, I already am paralyzed.“ Isaac realizes he must decipher the puzzle of her fantasy motivations before they manifest into an all-too-real, if not fatal, reality.
Along the way, he navigates a semi-surreal world of talismanic items like an antique Milwaukee Brace, a pair of shoes called “spectators,” and a paralyzing chemical called “Ginger Jake.” Events become increasingly extraordinary as Isaac discovers that Fiona does indeed have a terrible agenda, one that resonates in long buried memories of his own past.
Many of the best detective stories evolve in such a way that the story ends up that the detective has actually been investigating himself. Quid Pro Quo’s modern day detective is a public radio investigative reporter Isaac Knott (Nick Stahl) who just happens to be confined to a wheel chair. In the course of doing a story about disability wanna-be’s, Isaac traverses a surreal world of fetishism and transgressive eroticism that recalls the unique perspectives of Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock.
In many ways, Isaac’s “story” is really a journey into his psyche and personal fears. And the totemic clues he discovers during his investigation: a wheelchair, a Milwaukee brace, a pair of shoes are always more than their literal reality. In the context of the film, these items are objects of fetishistic worship. And as such, they become transcendental. A wheelchair is a wheelchair, until it is viewed as a device that possesses the power to delineate someone as “special,” in other words, “handicapped.” It then becomes not so much a conventional transport as a machine that creates pity and empathy.
Granted, all this presupposes a perverse perspective into the way we look at things. But in the course of Isaac’s investigation, he finds Fiona (Vera Farmiga) — or she finds him — and she offers him a window into a dark place that exists somewhere between reality and dreams. Her life’s aspiration is to be crippled, or at least perceived as such. She’s beautiful and successful, yet she longs to be physically destroyed to regain some spiritual transcendence in her life. Her complexity, along with her erotic compulsions, prove irresistible to Isaac.
This quixotic entanglement between reality and its reinterpretation through desire is the heart and soul of Quid Pro Quo. Isaac is drawn to Fiona’s dark side because somewhere in the strata of her perversion lies an underlying truth about himself. He is confined to a wheelchair because of an accident. What can he possibly learn about himself from Fiona’s desire to be like him? In Quid Pro Quo the answer of course is everything.
Carlos Brooks Director
Commenting on the tone of his first feature film, director Carlos Brooks noted:
I told the actors in rehearsal to think of the story as unfolding entirely within that moment that transpires between deep sleep and wakefulness. So from the earliest rehearsals and creative discussions, all the way through scoring and final sound design, we approached the film within that framework, that the film itself should be experienced as a kind of dream. Even to the extent that we avoided the usual overtly “dreamy” film making and editing tricks, in favor of a straightforward style that would, like an actual dream, invite you to perceive it as real.” — Carlos Brooks
This article images and content has been produced here with permission of Magnolia Productions to streetsie.com and may not be reproduced elsewhere without express written permission from the respective works and copyright holders.
Media Release: Powerful National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) video demonstrates the daily disasters faced in the disability sector.
Graham Streets is one of six people to star in a YouTube campaign calling for the Federal Government to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The short video, titled Why the Spinal Injuries Association supports an NDIS, was released last week on YouTube.
In the YouTube campaign, Graham shares how his spinal cord injury has taken a life-long effect on his health. He now weighs just 45 kilograms.
People with permanent, physical disabilities in Australia are really struggling. There are not enough appropriate supports and services in place to allow people to get back into the community and contribute to society. At the moment I can only afford to have my carer help me out of bed in the morning and back into bed at night, so it’s pretty tough going for me during the day. I don’t get to have any lunch. — Graham Streets
Spinal Injuries Association CEO Mark Henley said as well as Graham’s story, the video also highlighted the challenges faced by four other members of the organisation and a member’s mother, who has been caring for her son for the past 35 years. These people also stated how an NDIS would improve their quality of life.
While many of our members and clients lead productive, fulfilling lives, too many are in crisis and it’s time for much-needed change. With the Productivity Commission handing down its final report into an NDIS on 31 July, we need as many people as possible to view our video and sign the online petition for an NDIS at www.spinal.com.au/ndis. People power can really make a difference – it could transform the lives of people with disabilities and those that often support them – their family and loved ones. — Mark Henley
Mark said recent figures from National Disability Services showed that if just 2% of people with a disability had appropriate support and could come off the pension and return to work, there would be a $2.5 billion injection into the economy.
An NDIS wouldn’t just signal major social reform, it also makes good, economic sense. — Mark Henely
Currently, 1.4 million Australians have a serious disability, and unfortunately, a disability can be sustained in an instant. By 2030, there will be around 2.9 million people with a serious disability in this country. On top of those numbers, consider the family and friends who are often providing personal care to people with disabilities and it highlights the enormity of the issue. — Graham Streets
If implemented, a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would begin in stages from January 2014. It would provide appropriate financial support for people with physical disabilities sustained either at birth (for example, cerebral palsy) or at any stage during their life (for example, a spinal cord injury).
This support would allow people to fund their personal care needs, therapy, aids and equipment, home modifications, and employment training, — expenses that they now have to pay for on top of their everyday — living expenses that all Australians face.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) one of the most influential Mexican spinal injury artists of the middle twentieth century. Frida Kahlo painted images of the disabled female body. Striking self portrait’s of her own spinal cord injury and trauma. As a teenager in 1925 a tram car accident left Frida Kahlo with multiple injuries. She would endure a long and painful recovery.
Broken spinal column vertebrae, collarbone, ribs and pelvis, eleven fractures in right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail from the tram also pierced her abdomen and uterus. In Frida Kahlo’s paintings these injuries and her now seriously impaired reproductive ability transcend from the canvas.
Born in Coyoacán, Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón. Frida Kahlo’s artwork interweaves traditional Mexican votive painting and technical images of the body. Modern medical science (x-rays, surgical implements, hospital experience) fused with Christian icons of redemption through physical pain and suffering. In this way, Frida Kahlo painted an entirely new depiction of the female experience and form.
The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo Artwork
Frida Kahlo’s ground breaking artwork is among the first, and perhaps the most daring, to render a portrait of transparent, explicit, bodily trauma. Prior to her artwork pain was shown through gestures of agony. Scenes of crucifixion or martyrdom, as in the work of Kathe Kollwitz, Picasso’s Guernica. Or explicit gore in battle scenes and beheadings the likes of Salome, Jose Posada’s dancing skeletons, or any number of other mythological illustrations.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” – Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo’s artwork is particularly of interest to disability studies. Not only for the auto-biographical renditions of her spinal and other injuries, illnesses, and surgeries, but also because of the nature of the body she invents. Often the interior of the body is visible and continuous with the exterior. In a kind of psychic Mobius strip they become one.
Frida Kahlo Greatest Artworks
In her greatest artworks The Broken Column, The Two Fridas, Roots, The Tree of Hope, and Without Hopes, there is no clear division between inner reality and outer appearance. Thus the un-shareable nature of individual pain becomes explicit and felt. To look at one of Frida Kahlo’s greatest artworks is to punch yourself in the face. Her paintings scream a raging agony. A visible pain taken and shared in empathy.
Frida Kahlo the Movie
My jaw dropped when I saw the movie Frida. Played by Salma Hayek, the only woman who could make a mono-brow sexy. In the opening scene of the movie Frida suffers a chilling spinal cord injury, in a tram car accident. The movie clip below follows with her drug induced hazy dreams of dancing x-ray skeletons. Dreams that are very familiar to me.
Nightmarish visions dancing skeletons plagued my spinal cord injury recovery. All my life I’ve also seen dark shadowy figures like those in the movie Ghost. None bother me though. I get the feeling they are not out to hurt me. This video clip from the movie Frida is a little graphic. Any realistic life-like portrayal of a spinal cord injury accident will make you wince. And so I warn you this video clip from the movie Frida featuring Salma Hayek is very realistic.
By the 1930s, x-ray technology had been in public use for some time. X-rays ended the concept of the opaque body. Public hospitals had also been established as places of collective community experience. Frida Kahlo demolishes the idea of a disabled body in pain being a shameful and hidden thing after her arduous spinal cord injury treatment.
Frida Kahlo bravely offers her body up in many taboo contexts. Her spinal cord injury and images of pain are never separate from her life at large. Never represented as a different sphere of experience in kind or degree. Her illnesses are fully in context with the rest of her life.
The examinations of marriage, sexuality, cultural patrimony, and family are the same visual icons as those in mainstream disability. Her paintings in the context of traditional images display the female body as a mysterious, irrational, and secretive vessel. It’s when Frida Kahlo’s spinal cord injury comes in fusion with her life on canvas she parts from, and directly opposes, mainstream disability paintings.
The baring of her body inside and out is more than a simple nude self-portrait. Her body is small and doll-like. It appears as a toy in the grip of immense forces. Not as a mythical goddess-like being. Embedding the matter-of-fact details of her medical experiences within a highly emotional language. Frida Kahlo demystifies disability and presents it both inside and out of mainstream. To open oneself to a Frida Kahlo painting is to feel the vulnerability of one’s own body. To immediately experience its transcendence through art.
Frida Kahlo Paintings Gallery
Frida Kahalo Fire in the Machine
Another aspect of Frida’s disability paintings is the mutability of her body (a factor of chronic but unpredictable illness). Symbolized in her portrayals of her body in partial trans-mutation with animals, partners, or the natural world in general. One can align her pairing with monkeys, Diego, and the Little Deer, with the way disabled people must render control or custody over their bodies. This is also evident in paintings of her doubled self as a reflection.
A kind of permeability arises, a thinning of boundaries that enables her to see herself as an amalgam of parts. History, love, and culture build her self-portraits. She depicts herself or others in isolation only when in a state of deep emotional pain and despair. Disability is often imagined as a state of weakness and withdrawal. Frida Kahlo gives us a world in which pain becomes a fire in the machine. A state of wild ferocity. A disrobing to reveal a body in full communion.
“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” – Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo Final Days
Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954. The official cause of death was given as PE (Pulmonary Embolism, a blood clot in the lungs). Some suspect Frida Kahlo died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental. An autopsy was never performed. Frida Kahlo had been very ill throughout the previous year. Her right leg had been amputated at the knee owing to gangrene. Frida Kahlo also had a bout of bronchopneumonia near that time. In her final days Frida Kahlo was said to be ill and frail. Barely a shell of the once vivacious artist. With such a strong embodiment in her paintings Frida Kahlo will always be loved by her fans.
Agence France Presse, Yahoo News (2007). Largest-ever exhibit of Frida Kahlo work to open in Mexico.
Cruz, Barbara (1996). Frida Kahlo: Portrait of a Mexican Painter. Berkeley Heights: Enslow.
Gonzalez, M. (2005). Kahlo – A Life. Socialist Review, June 2005.
errera, Hayden. (1983). Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo.
In conjunction with Juraatmedia we present The Waterdance (1992). A true-to-life film showcasing the epic struggle through rehabilitation, dealing with paralysis and coming to terms with spinal cord injury and wheelchair life. This somewhat dark movie written by Neal Jimenez (after he was paralyzed in a hiking accident) sheds light on a rehabilitation hospital spinal unit and three newly paralyzed central characters.
In this spinal unit people are transformed as each must adapt to their new reality. A social order develops with its own shifting loyalties and rules. The Waterdance captures the tumultuous spinal unit world and portrays it in terms that the general public can understand.
Out for a stroll
Along the way, we meet the typically diverse set of characters seen in such spinal units who have nothing in common except similar disabilities. Their similarities prove not enough and an uneasy dynamic between them develops. Author Joel Garcia (Eric Stoltz) breaks his neck while hiking, and finds himself in the spinal unit rehab center with Bloss (William Forsythe), a racist biker and Raymond Hill (Wesley Snipes), an exaggerating ladies man. Considerable tension builds as each character tries to deal with his new found disability and the problems that go with it.
We warn this movie contains coarse language, sexual references and other adult content not suitable for minors. It is rated R. 106 minutes. Enjoy!
Anna feeding Joel in halo brace
Joel appears to adapt easily to his new found paralysis using free drugs, sunglasses and curtains dull to his senses. Internally he doesn’t know how he will cope with his life and lover Anna (Helen Hunt), who is having as difficult a time as he is. Anna is married to another man, and Joel struggles to decide whether staying with Anna, as they had planned, is the best thing for them in light of his new disability.
Biker friends of the once tough guy Bloss seem more interested in his compensation payout using a lawyer from a TV add than his well being. Bloss has a meltdown in his wheelchair that makes him realize he must face the truth surrounding his accident. Only then he begins to temper his anger and channel his frustrations in more creative ways.
After tipping their wheelchairs Raymond reveals to Bloss a dream about dancing on the surface of a lake to stay afloat, it becomes apparent that each of them must find his own Waterdance to survive his tragedy. Depressed about the separation from his wife and daughter, Raymond is discharged from hospital into a nursing home, where he attempts suicide.
The Waterdance is one of a handful of films that deals honestly and wisely with the issues of disability, spinal cord injury and life in a wheelchair. It may appear depressing at first, but it also highlights how strong people can be when faced with life’s greatest challenges.
I was meant to go and see Mum but we decided to go bush bashing first. Me and my boyfriend were in the back of a four wheel drive. It was great fun for awhile then things just got out of hand. The last thing I remember was my boyfriend yelling at the driver to slow down. Then I woke up in hospital a C5 paraplegic.
My parents were really upset. They told me I’d never be able to walk again. I have some use of my arms and hands. Now I need a helper to come to my unit to help me shower.
Life as a Paraplegic
Tegan Crick - Paraplegic
I had started a hair dressing apprenticeship and absolutely loved it. But that’s just not a possibility anymore. I also used to love going out dancing. I still go out sometimes if I know it’s not going to be too crowded. I get a reality check when I see people dancing and think, ‘Yeah, I used to do that.’ People look at me differently now. Treat me differently. They feel sorry for me. I’ve lost friends who just don’t know what to say to me. I think, ‘It’s just me. Not me in a wheelchair.’
Queensland Department of Transport Campaign
Share your story at the Queensland Transport Department road safety website. Spread the message to slow down think twice and don’t drive tired. A spinal cord injury can happen in a split second. One choice can change your life forever.
Janine Shepherd was a 24 year old cross country skier in training for the winter Olympics when her life took a dramatic turn in 1986, hit by a truck while training in the Blue Mountains. Janine suffered terrible spinal cord injuries breaking her neck and back. Doctors and family feared she would not survive. Her incredible strength and determination forged an inspirational life story of great heartache, triumph and extraordinary achievement.
ONE SPLIT SECOND
For an Olympian a split second can mean the difference between winning or losing. Life was about to prove just how definitive a split second would be for Janine. Her neck and back were broken in six places as well as five ribs, right arm, clavicle and foot bones. Her right side was torn open and filled with gravel. Severe facial blows opened her forehead exposing the skull. Janine also suffered internal injuries losing near five litres of blood.
Janine in part attributes her survival to her fitness and strong athletic physical condition. “I think maybe all the training I’d done up to that point was to prepare me for surviving this accident.”
Janine Shepherd in Hospital
ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER
Speaking about her life hanging in the balance in the Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney 1988 Janine recalls, “It was a great struggle for me to just even stay connected in this world. It’s sort of hard and difficult to talk about. I know that I went to the other side and I came back again, and I think what really kept me here in this life was the fact that my father was sitting next to my bed and holding my hand, I think that was my lifeline.
THE GREATEST RACE
“To me it’s not really about learning to walk again, it’s about learning to live again and that was what was important to me. Physically I lost so much. For an athlete, I lost everything that was important, which was my physical body. I spent six months in hospital, you knw, lying in that spinal ward and it was just a dreadful time.”
Janine Shepherd RAFF Flight
SPREADING WINGS TO FLY
Janine’s determined will and positive attitude shone through conquering new mountains. Pushing through pain barriers in a new direction, never happy with good enough. For many with quadriplegia or paraplegia the thought ‘If I can’t walk, I’ll fly’ remains just a thought. Not Janine, lifted into her first flight in a full body plaster cast. “The moment I started flying, any thoughts of depression were gone because I had something to focus on. To me it was like I had this new direction, this new passion. Every waking moment was about flying. I just completely threw myself into flying, so it became my life.”
Within a year Janine Shepherd not only gained her private pilot’s licence as a partial paraplegic but a commercial pilot’s licence, Instrument Rating, Twin Engine Rating and her Instructors Rating. In 1988 Janine fulfilled a life long dream riding in a Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 jet fighter. Pushing her body beyond it’s physical limits is second nature to Janine. When asked, “What is it that’s making you move?” Janine replied, “Just the messages, I’ve had a lot of practice and I guess, retrained my nervous system to be able to put one foot in front of the other.”
Step by painful step Janine went on to become a fully qualified aerobatics instructor, completed a University degree in Physical Education. Participated as an Olympic torch runner Newcastle to Gosford in 2000. Valiantly attempted to make the 2004 Paralympic Dressage team forced to withdraw due to cronic back pain. Having once been told she would never be able, Janine believes her greatest achievements are her three children.
Janine Shepherd – Never Tell Me Never
NEVER TELL ME NEVER
Janine Shepherd’s first publication bacame a best-seller. The book titled Never Tell Me Never (1995) is her story, a testament to the power of the human spirit, and one that will move and inspire all who read it.
Doctors had warned her parents she was not expected to survive, and if by some miracle she recovered, she would never walk again. Janine drew on her champion athlete spirit from deep within and fought to heal her broken body and crushed morale.
The runaway success of Never Tell Me Never motivated Janine to author three more inspiring publications. Janine Shepherd’s series of autobiographies have become classics in the survivor genre and have all become best-sellers.
Her inspiring life story was made into a feature film also entitled Never Tell Me Never, featuring Claudia Karvan and Michael Caton.
Janine Shepherd – Dare To Fly
DARE TO FLY
A sequel that describes an almost miraculous new family lifestyle Dare To Fly (1997) continues on from where Never Tell Me Never ended. It takes us through the publication of her first book, the birth of her first two children and careers as a pilot and a motivational public speaker.
Janine focuses on the love and strength gathered from her family and the people around her who have been such a tremendous support, forever encouraging her to remain positive and keep on pushing forward. Suffering terrible pain from her partial paraplegic Janine decides to undergo further corrective surgery.
Dare To Fly is an easy to read ordinary account of this extraordinary womans journey through life. Recalling the happenings of her everyday post-accident life Janine says, “We all need to know that no matter what happens to us in this life, we are never alone.” This statement was to become more prophetic than Janine first realized.
Janine Shepherd – Reaching For The Stars
REACHING FOR THE STARS
In response to overwhelming interest and thousands of requests from readers Janine Shepherd compiled Reaching For The Stars – Reflections on a journey through life and living (1998).
A retrospective collection of poems and passages used in her motivational speaking engagements, some of which were sent to her by people undergoing similiar trials.
Janine brings together her favorite inspirational verses and motivational quotes as well as many observations of her own. The book again takes the familiar journey form culminating in the thoughts and reflections upon her lifes story and what her unbelievable journey has taught her; that love is the most important thing of all — without it we are nothing — if we love and are loved we are capable of anything! Janine states, “Your destiny can be a matter of choice or of chance.”
Janine Shepherd – On My Own Two Feet
ON MY OWN TWO FEET
Janine Shepherd’s brutally honest account of the struggle to save herself and her family from a devastating illness which threatened to destroy everything she held dear.
On My Own Two Feet (2007) takes us through moving to the Southern Highlands where Janine’s love for horses blossomed teaching her daughter the joys of riding. Then a devastating phone call came, “I am calling to let you know that your husband has fallen sick.”
Ill, husband Tim grows increasingly distant from Janine much to her anguish, “I hope that one day perhaps he will read it and understand why I did what I had to do.”
A touching uplifting story, On My Own Two Feet is told with the characteristic honesty, generous warmth, integrity and?sense of humour Janine is renowned for. Traits that saw her endure and conquer dark days.
LIFE TODAY AFTER SPINAL CORD INJURY
Janine Shepherd is a popular keynote and corporate motivational speaker traveling extensively throughout Australia and abroad inspiring and educating others with her captivating stories of courage, strength and determination. Janine and her three children Annabel, Charlotte, Angus and their Blue Heeler cattle dog Buddy currently reside in Avalon nestled in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Janine Shepherd was one of only ten recipients of the Outstanding Young Persons of the World award from Junior Chamber International in 1998. In 1999 named Australian Achiever by the National Australian Day Council. In 2001 made the Australia Day honours list as an appointed Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Janine Shepherd has served on the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as the youngest and only female director. She is also a patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury in the near future.
Editors note: Janine and I were both 24 at the time of our accident though six years apart. I first became aware of her incredible story as a quadriplegic unable to move anything but my head in hospital when my father narrated an audio version of Never Tell Me Never. I have followed Janine’s triumphs and tribulations since, drawing great strength and inspiration from her incredible fortitude and grace in the face of adversity.