It always amazes me how so few disabled use their spare time waiting for appointments or for the plumber to come round to fix the boiler, to read up about sex. Maybe looking at books about non-disabled people enjoying sexual things you cannot do, feels depressing. However, they will also be telling you how bodies function sexually, so you can find ways to enjoy yourself, and they will be giving you knowledge which you can use to your advantage.
Modern books about sex do include aspects of disability. Here’s a reading list for starters:
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability edited by Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette 2006.
Sensitively written with many direct quotes from disabled people on how to change preconceived ideas about sex in order to gain more pleasure. This book is much more about attitude than sexual activities.
New Joy of Sex by Susan Quilliam 2008 Octopus.
A beautiful, tender book which many can gain from. Susan is one of Outsiders patrons, with an interest in disability.
The Sex Book by Suzi Godson 2002 Cassell.
Modern and wide-ranging, with a section on disability at the end. Suzi includes this quote: “I put all these stupid specifications in my personal ad, like ‘must be tall and not bald’. I got lots of replies I was interested in, but the funniest one was from a short, bald man called Richard, who joked about my discriminatory ad. I married him.”
Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides 2000 Goofy Foot Press.
Many testimonies by young people, and the excellent ideas for and by disabled people, make this very interesting read.
The Sex Myth — why everything we are told is wrong by Brooke Magnanti. 2012 Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Brooke (Belle du Jour) reveals scientific proof about the difference between men and women; sex addiction; the sexualisation of children; adult businesses bringing more rape to an area; pornography objectifying women; adult content on the net; trafficked sex slaves; banning of prostitution; and the motivation of the prohibitionists — with all the scams that have falsified the facts.
Good Vibrations Guide To Sex by Cathy Winks. Includes many treasures not to be found elsewhere such as a guide to improving self body image.
Books Beyond Words using pictures on subjects of sex and sexuality www.rcpsych.ac.uk/publications.bbw
There may be much literature about sex and your particular condition, especially if you have a learning difficulty, spinal injury, or MS. You can find much of these references on our Sexual Respect Tool Kit http://sexualrespect.com/wordpress/resources/
For those of you with a hidden impairment, look at the SHADA leaflet on Fatigue, which gives some great advice.http://www.shada.org.uk.
Brook supports all young people (under 25) in their sexual lives and trains their staff in sex and disability. They will come and speak to groups of you and run educational workshops. The fpa (Family Planning Association) also run training sessions for any group who ask them, on any sexual matter, and will travel to other parts of the country or hold the session in their own London HQ. They have one training day which is for people with learning difficulties called How to Turn Dreams to a Reality.
Sex is normally pleasurable and it’s only human conditioning which gets in the way of enjoyment. Many people are brought up to think sex is dirty and unmentionable. Many disabled people have the extra problems of having been told that sexual enjoyment is not for them; they may have been left out of teenage gossip and experimentation; and then they are shunned as a partner.
If you are single and on your todd, there are still many ways to enjoy sexual pleasure:
Getting to accept, enjoy and love your own body, by using one of Outsiders’ Partners (see menu bar) or someone local to give you a similar experience. Mat Fraser really worked on himself. being photographed by Ashley (see Our Partners), learning karate, drums, and acting. Now he’s married to one of the most beauriful erotic dancers in New York. If you pose for sexy pictures, you could even send them to http://www.gimpsgonewild.com/ and sell them!
• Looking at desirable people and feeling turned on. Especially in the summer, when bodies are brown and skimpily attired, many happy days can be spent people-watching. Just don’t be brought down by jealousy or self pity.
Go to a strip pub (not a lapdancing emporium). Striptease is an art form where the girls and boys are creative in their teasing. Striptease caters to voyeurs but also to everyday folk, who usually find it aspirational, so they imagine themselves in this agile body and doing incredibly sexy moves.
• Looking at beautiful erotic pictures in books and magazines or online, or looking a seedy porn pictures, whatever is your thing.
There’s a brilliant website http://www.gimpsgonewild.com/ where sexy disabled people pose and others can buy their photo sets.
• Watching erotic or porn movies. If you’ve never watched anything like this before, and want something gentle, I recommend Silken Sleeves by Maria Beatty as I have shown it to disabled women and been told how much they enjoyed it. If you want to see a disabled woman, try Loree Erickson’s Want. It features Loree’s story as a queer woman with a disability www.femmegimp.org
Remember that oorn is fantasy, not reality and it should not be used as sex education. For example. anal sex looks easy in porn but the arse does not let anything enter (without painful consequences) and it’s owner needs to know how to open up.
• Hiring a sex worker — definitely the ultimate extravagance and potentially the most enjoyable of all. The escort who helps Tuppy run the TLC website (www.tlc-trust.org.uk) says her aim is to ensure all her disabled clients go away with a huge smile on their face.
• And finally, a much cheaper option, is masturbation, which can be extremely pleasurable and some say more pleasurable than sex because you don’t have to worry about the other person! However, this isn’t always the case — some disabled people are too depressed to wank, and others physically unable, because they cannot reach, move their arms, or don’t have enough strength to hold a sex toy for long enough. Then there are the poor sods who try not to do it because their religion tells them it’s wrong. What is wrong is sexual repression, actually, as it leads to bad behaviour and poor health.
There are some men who lose their erections because of depression, and others lose the capacity to fantasize. Some find masturbation a reminder they are alone. One man who had become disabled after a road accident slept with a wig on his pillow to try and help him feel he had a partner when he was in bed. One good recommendation is a lovely striptease show to brighten spirits and put you in the mood.
People who cannot masturbate because of physical restraints can ask a friend to tuck a vibrator into a tight pair of pants, turn it on and leave the room, coming back to turn it off and put it away. If you have no willing friend, try a really local sex worker to see if they will pop by to lend a hand for a small fee, when business is slack.
Sex toys which are hands free include the Humpus (www.humpus.com), the Venus 2000, the Sybian (both American and very expensive) and the panties with a vibator in the crotch, which come with a remote control. Outsiders is trying to find someone to make bespoke harnesses for disabled people, to fit comfortably on their bodies and hold the sex toy of their choice. The MA+ Guide is a guide to sex toys which disabled people might like, which can be dowloaded from http://mswa.org.au/Learn-About-MS/Publications-and-Downloads
Outsiders is working on creating toys which can be used by people without motor control of their hands, in the middle of the night without help.
Those with sexually crippling religious beliefs — you can make up your own mind!
Many men and some women have learned to masturbate fast because they don’t want to be discovered. However, many of the stages of arousal are worth dilly-dallying over, for they are quite exquisite in their own right. Moreover, getting accustomed to long sessions will be good training for gentlemen when they come to making love with a partner.
The Tantric way of experiencing sex can be really useful to disabled people: it teaches people to dwell on the moment of pleasure, rather than continually feeling they have to move on to the ultimate, an orgasm. Goal-free sex is much more relaxing, easy on the body, with less focus on intercourse and orgasm, and more on freedom to do whatever feels nice (or naughty!).
Performance anxiety is a real dampener to sex. Most men experience it during their first encounter with a new partner (unless they are gay and experiencing new partners everyday!) Simply by trying too hard and worrying, a man loses his erection, feels a failure and gives up, instead of carrying on pleasing his partner with kisses and caresses which bring them to heights of ecstasy and even orgasm. Women should be gentle and make an effort to join in the seduction, taking equal responsibility, and being proactive, or she’ll always be with men who worry about their erections.
Performance anxiety can be exaggerated if you have a physical impairment and the best way around all this is to discuss what is going on, and have a laugh, instead of feeling lost and tragic. Disabled people are good at asking for things, and clever at overcoming difficulties in other parts of their lives, so apply this to sex.
Sexual pleasure is one of the few luxuries in life which is free and available to everyone, despite disabilities and impairments, so we owe it to ourselves to really make the most of it.