Diary of a Wheel Girl

Why I, as a quadriplegic, chose to take it off for a lingerie photo shoot

Save it for my husband they say? No. These photos have a deep purpose.

When the accident first happened, I thought, what are people going to think of me now? Are people going to still think that I’m beautiful or that I’m just this quadriplegic chick in a wheelchair with nothing going for her?

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

I had a fiancé at the time as many of you know. I was hurt at my bachelorette party so we were supposed to get married five weeks later. I knew we would be together forever and that he wouldn’t leave but I did wonder what our sexual relationship was going to be like from there on out. How does someone like me even have sex? Am I even sexy or desirable?
Many women and men go through this after an accident like mine. It’s like everything was taken from you at once including your sexuality and your womanhood. I started hating my body because I didn’t have control over it. It’s not like I can do squats and get a nice ass or do a bunch of sit ups and get a six pack.

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

I actually used to be an aerobics instructor but for senior citizens. It was super fun and I also taught line dancing. I was also a lifeguard so being fit, active and looking good was something that meant a lot to me. But my image issues had to take a backseat to all the things I was dealing with my injury.

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

Five years after the accident I came up with an idea. What if I had a sexy lingerie photo shoot to show the world that people in wheelchairs are not undesirable and we are sexy, sexual beings? It was definitely done for that reason but at the same time it was also done for people in my situation who feel like they have lost that in themselves. I also have a catheter where a tube goes into my bladder through my lower stomach. Definitely not the sexiest thing ever and it makes you feel like crap having to have it. But I wanted to show it. I wanted to show it because there are other girls and guys out there Who also have one and might feel ashamed. Don’t feel ashamed by your imperfections, feel empowered!

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

I had women and men write me telling me how much the photos meant to them. They had just excepted the fact that they were just not going to be desirable and no one was ever going to look at them that way. I even had a man who was going to have surgery due to bladder cancer tell me that these photos saved his life. He was going to have to get a catheter bag and he just wanted to end it all. The photo makes people feel comfortable because you can’t help but look at it and think about something positive. It breaks the stereotype of what the able-bodied world Imagines people with disabilities to be and it also opens the mind of people who are dealing with the same thing because they have never looked at themselves positively.

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

I got a lot of negative comments from people saying I should just keep this between me and my husband. I’d like to know where the outrage is from people when male models pose in Calvin Klein underwear? Where is the outrage for women modeling bra and underwear sets on like every single clothing site? And most of all, why are people so freaking afraid of the human body and talking about sexuality? I literally had people telling me I was a whore and that there was a different way to spread this message besides sexualizing myself. Sexualizing myself is the whole point! Women and men in my situation never see a photo that might be described as sexy in the media. So what does that tell us? Well it makes us feel like nobody will ever see us that way. But not only did it get people in my situation to view the photos as positive but they saw how much positive feedback. I got.

I’m just trying to make a difference.

To educate and empower people.

If you don’t like it then this photo shoot was not for you. Move along.

Rachelle Chapman Quadriplegic lingerie photo shoot

6 thoughts on “Why I, as a quadriplegic, chose to take it off for a lingerie photo shoot”

  1. Congratulations on your Blog, Rachelle. Ignore those people with their negative and rude comments. They are done because those people are uneducated and embaressed by their ignorance. I’ve come across a lot of them in my 32 years since a RTA left me with spinal injuries but I found that those people are in the minority. It is not only disabled people who have to make adjustments in their lives. I have a young friend who is not disabled but is dealing with Bowel Cancer and will wear a Colostomy Bag for the rest of her life. She was worried about her sexuality until I shared your photoshoot with her. It changed her outlook on things. She immediately went out and bought some new lingerie. So keep up the good work!

  2. It’s so awesome that you did this! I am an able-bodied person but so appreciate your countering the stereotypes out there. None of us, able-bodied or not, talk about women’s sexuality openly enough. I appreciate that you’re doing that. I stumbled across your blog just today and am glad I found it. Thanks for providing insight and education to all of us.

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