Relationships & Sex

Why we need to talk more about disability and sex

In today’s world, inclusion has become a topic of focus. Our efforts to support the minority groups, such as the LGBTQ community, has made great strides in improving their overall quality of life.  When it comes to the disabled community, the current situation doesn’t give us much optimism. Yes, as a society we have accessible bathrooms and support programs, but there’s something fundamental we ignore – disabled sex.

When it comes to disabled singles dating and the idea of sex, it’s still a taboo in our society. Disabled dating site, Meet Disabled Singles, shares why having a kink for a disabled person is becoming more popular

According to Scope’s data from 2014, about two-thirds of Brits are uncomfortable when having a basic conversation with a disabled person. This fear and ignorance are awkward and troublesome. They keep the disabled community held back when it comes to having their needs met.

Not only does this stigma occur on a basic level, but there’s also a clear problem in understanding the disabled people’s need for sex. 

The numbers don’t lie – only 7% of non-disabled people have dated someone with a disability. Many people see being disabled and sexual is seen as abnormal. “But you’re disabled, why would you want to have sex?”

“Because I’m human, that’s why!“

Writer and disability activist Penny Pepper told The Guardian: “If disabled people aren’t having sex, they would like to. The reasons they are not is overwhelmingly to do with the barriers in society. I’ve known quite a few disabled people who, because of this, have resigned themselves to never having sex.”

Although disabled people are sexually ignored on a mainstream level, in the BDSM world (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism), it’s a different story.

Devotees are individuals who are sexually aroused by disabled people. Not only does this kink allow disabled people to explore themselves sexually, but it closes the gap between disabled and non-disabled people in the bedroom.

With the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, it made BDSM look like a sexy and sultry affair between two non-disabled individuals. In reality, it’s nothing like that.

For those with a disability, BDSM allows them to learn how to handle their disability. Plus, it helps them focus on controlling pain, learn various social dynamics and develop sexual confidence as a disabled person

This isn’t something new that just popped up in the world of BDSM. Disabled people have a long history with BDSM as it’s one of the only inclusive subcultures which allow them to open up and explore their sexuality with other disabled and non-disabled -people.

To be in an environment where people love and desire you when your day-to-day society ignores you is incredibly refreshing.

But even though BDSM is a portal for self-expression and sexual exploration, it’s also a balancing act. When it comes to minority groups, they can easily become fetishised within the BDSM community.

This happens when the person is not seen anymore as a human, but rather as a sexual object used to fulfil a need. For example, bad devotees are individuals who enjoy watching disabled people struggle with day-to-day tasks.

This is when it’s no longer about genuine attraction to disabled people; instead, it’s shifted to power and vulnerability.

In Emily Yates’ documentary, Meet the Devotees, she talks about the limited sexual roles available to disabled people.

Yates said: “We end up being one of two things- – infantilized or hypersexualized – neither of which help with the normalisation of the disability and sex arena. I don’t want to be treated like a child or a ‘bucket list’ item, just the wheelchair-using woman that I am.”

Yes, having a kink for a disabled person is more common than we think, yet, it’s a constant balancing act.

Disabled people need a space where they can sexually explore and express themselves with non-disabled and disabled individuals alike, reducing the stigma and normalising sex and disability.

Through BDSM that can happen and it is happening. But, there needs to be self-awareness on both sides to ensure disabled people are receiving equal treatment.

By Meet Disabled Singles


  1. If you NEED sex, then you already have a problem. Desire is normal, but saying one NEEDS sex is the most ignorant statement I’ve ever read! If you have no self control of your own body, then you have more problems than you realize! The persons that NEED sex, instead of fixing the problem, are the same type of people that end up with diseases, multiple marriages, and several kids from several marriages. They also ask themselves when things keep failing, why? TRY LOOKING IN THE MIRROR!!

    1. The aim of the article was to break down the taboo around sex and disability so that disabled people who want to have sex or pleasure can do so. Everyone should be able to enjoy pleasure if they want to.

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