In our series on disability, sex and relationships, expert and resident agony aunt Tuppy – who runs Outsiders, a private club for disabled people looking for a relationship – answers your questions. This week she talks about finding and connecting intimately if you’re blind…
Dear Aunty Tuppy
I am a blind man in my early 30s. I lost my sight a couple of years back and am just getting over my depression. I now want to start darting again, but am feel a bit lost.
When finding a partner, I used to rely on eye contact to work out whether the girl was interested in me, but now I won’t know where I am with her. Nor will I in the bedroom. How will I know what she wants?
I know you will tell me to talk to a girl instead of seeing her eyes, but I have always been shy and find talking about relationships, and sex in particular, almost impossible. Please advise me, I don’t know what to do.
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Your focus is currently on your loss of sight, and how that could be a negative when it comes to relationships. But not being able to talk about sex might have a bigger impairment than not being able to see. I guess sex was not discussed in your family and so you have no experience of it. So, what you need is practice, and I have some ideas.
I would suggest buying some audio versions of educational sex books, or sexual stories (the Audiobooks.com website is a good place to start). Listening to them will make you accustomed to hearing the words and descriptions of sexual practices.
I would also recommend seeing a sex worker or tantric practitioner, and asking them to describe what they are doing with you and discuss sex with you, to give you practice. Our TLC website is the best place for disabled people to find such services – www.TLC-Trust.org.uk. Practice makes perfect!
When it comes to meeting someone, do you have friends that could take you out clubbing or to parties where you will meet girls? They can describe the single girls to you and you can ask to be introduced to the one you like the sound of.
Remember not to talk about yourself when meeting new woman, but to ask her to tell you more about herself and what she likes doing. Instead of eye contact, ask her to hold your hand so you can be certain she is beside you (not popped off to the loo or deserted you). You will be able to tell from how she is holding your hand how she is feeling about you – does it seem like she wants to get away or that she’s really comfortable.
Once you do get back out there and meet someone, perhaps be honest and mention your shyness to the girl you are with. Also encourage her to be free to tell you anything, from personal to intimate. You must learn to trust girls. Don’t become intimate until you trust her implicitly, that way you won’t feel nervous.
Get to know her life, her family and friends, and let her to meet your friends. Ask your friends what they think about her as friends are often able to see through people and be honest about what they see.
Other newly blind men have told me that they miss the visual stimulation of seeing their partner in sexy clothing, watching them get undressed or be naked. Many they have said they find sex less stimulating because of missing this. But there are ways around it.
One couple I spoke to bought audio erotica and used that to turn themselves on. Also, just feeling a female body and listening to her tell you how she feels can turn most men on. Learn to focus on your other senses when you have sex – feeling her body, the taste and aroma of each part of it and the sounds she makes when being aroused. As you cannot see her smile, ask her to tell you when she is blissfully happy.
I am glad you are over getting over your depression from losing your sight. If you would like more support with that, you would enjoy the online Outsiders Clubhouse, which is a wonderful place where our members provide remarkable peer support for each other, especially in our Sex and Disability Group Chat. You can join by visiting www.Outsiders.org.uk.
Let me know if all this is helpful and I hope you find a loving girlfriend soon.
If you’ve got a question for Tuppy and would like her help, please email her: AuntyTuppy@Outsiders.org.uk
Outsiders is a FREE social, peer support and dating club, run by and for socially and physically disabled people. Its members have a wide range of impairments, including visual and hearing impairment.