access intimacy

Kamila Rina
Content Warnings
Assault/Abuse/ViolenceSexual Content
"How to talk to a new lover about PTSD.  About chronic..."
Dec 24, 2020 9:48 PM

Try not to be ashamed as you flinch and tremble

under her warm hands.  Think of the stories

you haven’t told yet.  Tension grips fierce.

Ask her what she thinks as your hands shake

—Eli Clare, “How to Talk to a New Lover about Cerebral Palsy”

How to talk to a new lover about PTSD.  About chronic

pain.  About dissociation.  About thoracic outlet syndrome.

About MCS.  How to talk to a new lover about injured hips,

weak wrists, nerves entrapped at the elbow, arms that can’t be held

above your head, the need for floor lamps, not ceiling fixtures,

for scentless sheets, lube, and sex toys.  How to not dissemble

about the dour difficulties of having sex: the ache and

nerve-grind of repetitive motion, the cunt scars that burn when you

get wet, the parent ze might, at the wrong moment, resemble.

Try not to be ashamed as you flinch and tremble

through the explanations.  Through the fear, like a spreading

stain, that all this makes you broken, unfit, leftovers

that someone will settle for.  Through the fury that all

you expect is being settled for.  You’ll try being a hermit

for a while, forgoing the explaining, the apologies for

your brokenness, even the asking.  You’ll hide out 4 storeys

above the pavement, reading, dreaming, watching spectacular

sunrises.  Until you find a tender romance-friendship,

unexpectedly, over sharing poems like morning glories

under her warm hands. Think of the stories

you’ll tell years from now, about how brave and broken

you both were then, and how you talked, anyway, about

bodies, sex, brokenness, dissociation, how you wrote your own

dictionary.  Your glad risking makes a blueprint; you will do this

again and again.  Next times you’ll talk disability, sex, bodies,

access, brokenness, dissociation, flashbacks, the whole piercingly

glorious mess.  You’ll feel seen, contained, as you speak

of violence, then sex, in such detail, that shame is washed out

and only soft attention remains.  Every day you’ll spill fears

you haven’t told yet. Tension grips fierce

still, when something important, beautiful, twisted, fragile,

needs telling, needs making yourself vulnerable as a hedgehog

showing its belly—but then eases because love and

kindness are the order of your days now, and your every

loved one speaks disability theory, and this crip queendom

is your touchstone, makes you joyful in your aching

body, where your skin, your muscles, your joints, your

lungs, your tachycardic heart, can show themselves,

where you learn to speak your body’s truths without heartbreak.

So.  Ask her what she thinks as your hands shake.

‘Access intimacy’ is a concept named and described by Mia Mingus (

Kamila Rina is an autistic, mad, and physically disabled immigrant Jewish non-binary bisexual poet, a sexuality, gender, and disability educator, and a survivor of long-term violence. They enjoy talking about being present in one’s body and fomenting the revolution. They like trees, books, chocolate, and people and plants that smell good. Kamila has previously been published in Room magazine, Breath & Shadow, Sinister Wisdom, Monstering, and We Have Come Far, and has produced a chapbook titled Multitasking with Feelings. Find them at