‘Paralyzed bride’ is proving disabilities don’t limit sexuality with new shoot

She became known as 'the paralyzed bride' after an accident in 2010. She's changing the narrative.


Dylan Love


Published Aug 3, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 5:51 am CDT

A 29-year-old woman is finding time to be a wife, mother, and lingerie model. She’s doing it without the use of her legs.

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Rachelle Friedman Chapman became known as “the paralyzed bride” when a poolside horseplay incident at her bachelorette party left her paralyzed from the chest down, just weeks before her wedding in May 2010. She eventually turned that crisis into an opportunity as a motivational speaker and author, but she’s again defying expectation by putting her body on the line.

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Friedman donned Victoria’s Secret lingerie for a photo shoot to remind the world that people who live with disabilities are still sexual beings. Her pictures ought to help make the case obvious. She told People that this shoot was the first time she had donned a bikini since the accident that left her paralyzed more than five years ago.

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Another photographer, Michael Stokes, is addressing the same issue from another direction. His photo series, “Always Loyal,” puts male military amputees on sexy display, and the Kickstarter project to release the photos as a book raised more than $400,000.



Disability consultant Lee Rachel Jurman explained to the Daily Dot that “the down-and-dirty is that, in general, people with physical disabilities tend to be seen as asexual people. All kinds of people are people, and some are sexual. Having a disability doesn’t automatically preclude you from that.”

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H/T Huffington Post | Photo via Rachelle F. Chapman/Twitter

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*First Published: Aug 3, 2015, 8:34 pm CDT