With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, and the world, once again, aflutter with all things love; now is the perfect time to remind those living with disabilities and their partners that sex is not reserved for able-bodied individuals. Candlelit dinners, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and a perfectly adorable Be Mine valentine is a solid way to celebrate; however, so is sexy lingerie and a romp between the sheets, or a combination of the two! Living with a disability does not preclude you from passionate lovemaking; like any worthwhile activity it just requires a bit of planning, preparation and perhaps some creatively placed assistive devices. Read on for what you need to know about sex and disability to bring the fire this Valentine’s Day and all year long.
Give yourself permission
First and foremost, you need to give yourself permission to engage in (and enjoy) sex. Whether baby-making is on your mind, or you’ve matured beyond your reproductive years; sex is an important and ageless part of self care. Sex not only connects you emotionally to a partner (or yourself), but can be a way to protect or even improve your health. Sexual insecurities may be a reason you avoid sex, but the truth is most people, regardless of ability experience them. Sex leaves us vulnerable and almost always demands a certain amount of courage.
Sex may seem daunting especially if your disability is new, or if you’re simply new to sex. Learning how to accommodate your disability requires an intimate understanding of what the activity is and how it works. When trying to figure out how to do sex, it’s important to remember that sex can be more than just thrusting and gyrating. Sex with a disability may require you to broaden your definition of sex beyond traditional penetrative sex; things like masturbation, sensual touching, and mutual masturbation are options that typically require less set up and moving parts. You may find certain acts challenging to accommodate or plain impossible; but just remember, sex isn’t about being able to do it all, it’s about finding ways to do what you need to do to enjoy yourself while pleasuring yourself and/or a partner.
Before setting out into unchartered sex and disability territory. There are a few people that you might want to ask for directions.
Conversations about sex don’t always come up organically when interacting with health care providers. However, it’s important to talk to them about sex, especially if you are unsure about how it will impact your health and safety. Primary healthcare providers can provide general information about the safety of positions and certain types of sex; but just as importantly, they can refer you to other more specialized providers like physiotherapists and occupational therapists who can help determine safe ways to engage in sex.
Sex therapists who specialize in disabled sex are another great resource for individuals looking for information tailored to their specific needs. Another, less conventional profession, gaining in popularity are “intimacy coaches”. Some people may benefit from enlisting the help of an “intimacy coach” as they provide more than just information. Companies such as Sensual Solutions provide relationship coaching, sex education and more intimate “hands-on” services meant to help clients “access their bodies”, for example, helping to position individuals for sex.
Set and manage expectations
It’s important to set and manage expectations about sex for yourself and any partners. If you and your partner had a previous sex life together, it’s important to acknowledge that it may look and feel different; familiar positions and routines may need to be replaced or reimagined. Accommodating your disability may also make spontaneous sex challenging; as sex may need to revolve around access to devices, a safe set up, or in the case of those with fluctuating energy levels, like in chronic fatigue, it may need to happen at a time of the day when your energy is most abundant. Sex with a disability requires trial and error, but you’re in good company as anyone with a healthy sex life will tell you, experimenting is half the fun!
Set the stage
If you want to maximize your chances of success, you need to make sure your environment acts as a support and not a barrier. The following are some assistive devices that can help create an accessible stage.
Wedges are a great positioning aid for people with people with a range of disabilities. By providing secure lift and support beyond what a traditional pillow can offer; they allow people to maintain comfortable and energy saving sex positions. The Liberator Wedge is made from high density foam that supports the body without sinking and stays in place. It’s cover is made from a durable and machine washable microfiber that feels wonderful against bare skin. It is lightweight and easy to store, but it’s subtle design means you may not feel compelled to!
Sex positioning swings are useful for people with limited mobility, pain and fatigue as they reduce strain and allow users to conserve energy while accommodating a number of sex positions. The Spokz Sex Positioning Swing is a great option for those with disabilities as it can be adjusted while the person is in it, meaning only one transfer is needed. It can be installed anywhere there is a strong beam, or joist making any room of the house fair game. It can even be installed outdoors on a strong branch; accommodating even the most adventurous sex lives!
Your mobility device
For individuals using wheelchairs, your chair itself can be a really useful sex aid. Using your chair for sex limits the number of transfers needed between surfaces, eliminates the need to learn how to use a new device and ensures your sex device is always available. A chair with low profile, or no armrests like Invacare’s Top End Crossfire can provide more flexibility when it comes to involving a partner. Although not highly recommended, if incorporating a walker or rollator into your fun make sure it can support the combined weight of all participants and you engage the breaks.
Are you looking for the beast of all wheelchairs? Invacare’s Top End Crossfire All Terrain Wheelchair is designed to leave some serious tracks.
If you enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures, this is definitely the chair for you. You can take on almost anything with the Crossfire All Terrain Wheelchair. It is constructed with 6061T6 aluminum and equipped with enormous 25” x 2.75” knobby wheels. It has huge 8” x 2” front casters for extreme traction. Boasting significant ground clearance, forward and side-to-side stability, you will be able to conquer the toughest terrain.
Set the mood
Now that the scene is set, it’s important to set the mood. While some people are able to jump right into sex, most require a bit of a warm up. Reduced sensation, pain, mobility issues and mental health challenges may require more involved foreplay. Cognitive exercises including fantasizing, meditation, relaxation and other breathing techniques may be worth exploring. Sex toys are another great way to set the mood. They come in all shapes and sizes and serve a range of purposes. The following are a few particularly exciting devices that can accommodate a range of abilities during sex.
Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo Lux
At the cutting edge of the sex toy scene is the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo Lux. This masturbation aid is perfect for anyone with a penis. It is hands-free and can be used with erect or flaccid penises, making it especially useful for those with limited grip strength, limited mobility, fatigue and those with erection problems. It is controlled by buttons on the device, or by a wrist-strap remote that can be worn and operated by the user or their partner. It’s water resistant design means it can be used in the shower, bath or hot tub and is easy to clean.
Vibrator gripping aid
While most gripping aids can assist with holding a vibrator, Active Hands general purpose gripping aid has been repurposed by many in the disability community as a sex toy aid. It is made of machine washable, durable neoprene and it’s padded palm reduces chafing and the discomfort of prolonged vibration on your hand. It is ideal for anyone with reduced or no grip strength or limited or no hand mobility.
While Bondage Tape is typically used to restrain and restrict, it can be repurposed to adapt a wide range of sex toys for hands-free use! You can use it to firmly, but temporarily, attach toys to a range of surfaces without leaving a sticky residue. It’s a great solution for individuals with reduced grip strength, limited hand mobility and those who need to use their hands to help mobilize the rest of their body.
Spare Parts Hardware Deuce Harness
Unlike other dildo holders, the Spare Parts Hardware Deuce Harness is designed for people with penises. It has two holes, one for a dildo and one for your penis. This is a great option not only for people with erectile dysfunction, but also people with limited mobility, pain, fatigue or any other condition that makes using an erection challenging.
The SpareParts Deuce is a unique strapon harness designed to accommodate a penis. Great for people wanting to explore double penetration or those who struggle with erectile dysfunction.
These are just a few of the many devices available to assist those with disabilities. The sex toy industry is massive and is constantly evolving. It has been at the forefront of accessibility when it comes to sex and disability and continues to come up with and market creative solutions for people of all abilities to have and enjoy sex.
Have we left you wanting more?
Check out these amazing sex and disability resources for more great information!
DisabilityAfterDark is a brand aimed at talking about sexuality and disability. Through podcasts, blogs and presentations they work to address the fear, discomfort and misinformation around sex and disability while shining a light on the intersectionality, fun, and vulnerability of sex and disability that is rarely talked about.
Kaleigh Trace is a writer and sex educator who also lives with a disability. She writes and talks about “shameless sex of all kinds, for all kinds”. She is the author of the award winning book Hot, Wet & Shaking: How I Learned To Talk About Sex which captures her perspective of sex as something to be talked about and enjoyed by everyone.
The PleasureAble Sexual Device Manual for Persons with Disabilities is a free online resource created by clinicians and researchers for people of all abilities and sexual orientations to assist with their quality of sexual life. It is a practical resource for people with disabilities that includes research, clinical expertise, and product information to aid with dialogue surrounding sex and disabilities.
And, like always, click over to evika.io to explore a range of assistive devices to help you with sex or any other activity that brings you meaning or joy!