A friend of mine handed me this link today, “Stephen Hawking Frequents Sex Club In California: Report”
Stephen Hawking may be confined to a wheelchair, but that doesn’t seem keep him from making the rounds. The celebrated astrophysicist is a regular at a sex club in California, according to media reports.
The 70-year-old, almost completely paralyzed by a neurological disorder known as motor neurone disease, frequents a San Bernadino “swinger’s club” called Freedom Acres, a long-time member of the club told Radar Online.
“I have seen Stephen Hawking at the club more than a handful of times,” the member told the blog. “He arrives with an entourage of nurses and assistants. Last time I saw him, he was in the back ‘play area’ lying on a bed fully clothed with two naked women gyrating all over him.
Apparently, Cambridge issued a statement on the matter:
A spokesman for the university, where the 70-year-old is a world-renowned physicist, described the reports on an American website as “lurid” and added the cosmologist was not a “regular”.
Tim Holt, a press officer for the university, told the News that the celebrated author of A Brief History of Time did visit the Freedom Acres, as first reported on the website Radar, but it had been a one-off.
Here’s my question: why is this news at all?
Could it be because he’s famous? 70 years old? An astrophysicist? Someone who has been a controversial figure with regard to religion? Someone with a disability?
Could it be because the club is not just your run-of-the-mill strip club, but a swinger’s club?
I don’t know, but some of the language used in these reports have my ableist sense tingling.
“Stephen Hawking may be confined to a wheelchair, but that doesn’t seem keep him from making the rounds”
Stephen Hawking is not “confined” to a wheelchair. Without the wheelchair, he’d be stuck in bed, unable to move about on his own. Wheelchairs set people free, they do not confine people.
That someone with a disability engages in sex-related activities should not come as a surprise to anybody. Yet part of the reason Hawking visiting sex clubs is news seems to be because society dos not see Hawking as a sexual being.
Society does not see people with disabilities (or people who are older, and other groups of people) as sexual beings. Case in point: people who have sexual attractions to people with disabilities often find themselves labeled deviant, sick, or fetishists. I bet you can’t remember the last time the media portrayed a person with a disability as a sexual being without sensationalizing it, yet people with disabilities have the same needs for emotional and erotic closeness as anyone else. Sex and disability shouldn’t be so taboo.