Chronic illnesses are conditions that are discussed by many but somehow also overlooked and misunderstood. Emotional and mental health are also forgotten as part of the treatment when someone lives with a chronic illness, yet it is one of the most impactful supports on someone’s health trajectory. Additionally, when there is a present mental health care provider, they may not specialize, understand, or implement one’s chronic illness into a discussion on emotions and behaviors.
In the adult industry, chronic illness is experienced by many, but in a broader sense, some feel “swept under the rug.” An anonymous cam performer shares: “I feel like it's taboo. This field is about bodies and experiencing pleasure, and yet when it comes to someone who is visibly or invisibly ill, we can be forgotten or cast out because we don’t fit the mold.”
When chronically ill and in a physical industry, it is imperative to find support, like-minded performers, and sites that promote appropriate visibility and care. Concerns of feeling ostracized, pushed to the margins, “less than” other performers, fetishized, or bullied are valid and real. It is imperative to understand that society works as it is intended to, which currently is for those that are able-bodied and in industries that aren’t considered “taboo.” It can be easy to throw in the towel and feel like support will never arrive; however, there are strong anti-ableism advocates, especially in the adult industry, who champion disabled bodies, their attraction, and their abilities.
Lack of strength, body mass, libido, interest, and self-value/esteem can affect someone’s ability to feel successful in their work, relationships, and the world. Chronic illnesses, when treated ineffectively or without mental health support, can lead to sexual dysfunctions that would affect all individuals, but especially those in the adult industry who rely on healthy functioning to complete their work and engage with others in their personal life. Thankfully, there are treatments, supports, and steps one can take to fight stigma, receive care, and feel like oneself again.
Although chronic illness can prove challenging and be a part of an intersectional, complex identity, know you are valid and deserving of appropriate, attuned, informed care. Be well!