Talking with B.J. Jackson it’s hard to guess which part of his life he’s more surprised by: The part where at 26 he is married and in a loving partnership, has three amazing kids (with a forth on the way) and uses double prostheses for the two legs he lost in Iraq -- or the part where he spends his time talking with strangers about his sex life. All things considered, both are accomplishments worth boasting about, but it’s the sex talk that still makes him blush.
Robert "B.J." Jackson was born on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa, on June 12, 1981. He enlisted in the Iowa National Guard when he was 19. Four years later, he was deployed to Iraq. On August 7, 2003 -- his first day off in over a month -- the Humvee that B.J. was driving through Baghdad hit a landmine. After being stabilized, B.J. was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, to begin treatment for severe burns and the loss of both legs below the knees.
Last December, in his new role as national spokesperson for the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, B.J. and his wife Abby participated in the Coalition’s Road to Recovery Conference. They spoke on a sexuality panel to a group of 100 severely wounded service members who were given an all-expense paid trip to Disney World for them and their families. Even though B.J. said he was hesitant about speaking publicly about his sex life (it was Abby who told the crowd “we’ll answer any questions you have, even about sex”) hearing him talk about the work he does now makes it clear that he’s caught the advocacy bug.
B.J. and Abby took time out of their hectic schedule to talk with me about rebuilding a sex life after war time, dealing with the expectations of others, and why you should never listen to your grandfather’s advice about sex.
Next page...Read the interview with B.J. and Abby Jackson.