Sex Toys and Disability
Ever since the Jessica Rabbit first made an appearance on Sex and the City, sex toys have become an accepted part of people's lives. Over two million rabbits were sold last year, and surveys suggest that up to 75 per cent of women own at least one sex toy nowadays. And they're not just for women; a recent poll found that 36 per cent of men own toys too.
The bonus with sex toys, if you're disabled, is that they can be used to simulate parts of the body that you can't reach or feel with your hands.
Whether you're disabled or not, toys can be used to spice up your sex life. They can be used with a partner or alone. It's your choice as to whether you want to use one. Be aware that some partners may feel threatened by a toy, so reassure them that it's not a replacement for them, but an added bonus for both of you. Toys are an accepted part of people's sex lives today; they're even given out by the NHS in some areas.
Vibrators are the most popular type of sex toy. Women generally use them for clitoral stimulation, or to penetrate the vagina or anus.
If you find it difficult to stimulate yourself with a vibrator, ask your partner to help. If you're single, try lying on top of the vibrator and rubbing against it with your clitoris and pubic mound. Or put it between two cushions – on the sofa, for example – and use them to 'hold' it, while the toy penetrates you.
The most common ways for men to use a vibrator is to insert it in their anus or to hold it against their penis. For some men, this kind of stimulation is enough to bring about orgasm.
If you have a limited grip, try adapting your vibrator by adding a Velcro handle. Many vibrators come with a separate control, which can also help, as they are not so fiddly. The very latest toys can even be remote controlled, using a keyring – from up to 500 feet away!
Strap-on pouch vibrators are a great idea for people who cannot hold a vibrator at all, as they are held on with a harness. Whilst they are mostly designed for women, many men find them enjoyable as well.
The only difference between dildos and vibrators is that dildos don't vibrate. They're designed for penetration, and like vibrators, are available in numerous shapes, sizes and materials. Silicon dildos are extra pliable, making them great for G-spot stimulation. Or try a glass dildo; you can heat it up in warm water or cool it in the fridge for extra thrills. Some dildos come with a suction cup at the base, so that you can attach them to the floor or the wall of the shower. You can also get strap- on dildos, to use with a partner.
Cock-rings are designed to help maintain an erection. They can be made of many materials: latex, silicon or metal. However, metal ones can be tricky to remove.
Nipple–clamps can be used to tease the nipples, on men or women, but can be fiddly if you have problems with dexterity.
Anal beads are used to stimulate the prostate in men, or give anal pleasure to women. They are inserted into the anus, then pulled out at the point of orgasm. This can also prove tricky if you have problems with dexterity, though some beads come with a ring on the end that you could tie a piece of string to, to make it easier to reach.
In either case, if you phone or email the company you are buying from and explain your disability, you might find them willing to make suggestions about the right toy for you.
- Always use a water based lubricant with sex toys to add pleasure and avoid discomfort
- If you share a sex toy with someone else, remember to put a condom on it
- Clean toys with warm soapy water – but make sure electric ones are unplugged or the batteries are removed. Alternatively, use alcohol wipes, available from many stores that sell sex toys.
- Anything that penetrates your anus should have a flared base to avoid it being ‘lost’ in your body cavity
- If you do use any toy in your anus, make sure that you wash it well before inserting it into the vagina, as otherwise you could spread germs and get an infection.
Knowing what you’re looking for
There are thousands of sex toys out there, all claiming to provide the most intense enjoyment and best orgasm. In reality, there are many gimmicks out there that fire little more than the imagination. The best way to find out what you like is to try different toys. Don't go for the expensive ones to start with; you can still discover whether you like the buzz or a vibrator or prefer using a dildo, with toys at the cheaper end of the market.
Alternatively, ask around your friends to see what they recommend. There's no need to be embarrassed; Masturbation is a normal and healthy part of life.
Knowing where to look for it
You don't need to brave a seedy sex-shop to experiment with toys. There are numerous shops springing up that are designed to make people feel comfortable; Coco de Mer, Myla, Beau Blue and Ann Summers to name just a few.
There's also a wealth of websites and mail order companies out there. These companies recognise the need for privacy and nearly all of them put their products in plain packaging. Some companies are more reliable than others, and, as with any purchase it is important to go through one with a good reputation.
- Sh! Is a women only erotic emporium. They have a good website and a mail order catalogue. Tel: 020 7613 5458
- Sex toys, videos and magazines for men are sold in Clonezone shops around the country, or online
- Other good sites include www.LoveHoney.co.uk, www.truffle.me.uk, and www.ftheshop.co.uk
Whilst using a toy is a perfectly healthy form of play for most people, some may see it kinky or perverted. If you rely on someone with these views to un-wrap your parcels or buy batteries, this could be a problem. Think if there is anyone else who might be able to help. Raise the subject gently and try to be sensitive to the other person’s views and feelings. Perhaps you could leave this leaflet lying around to break the ice.
Any questions on personal issues like these can be asked on our Sex and Disability Helpline:
Post: Tuppy Owens, BCM Box Lovely, London WC1N 3XX
Email: Email Helpline
Phone: 07770 884 985 : The Helpline is open weekdays 11am to 7pm