Here at Disability Horizons, we’re always trying to change society’s negative perceptions of disability and bust misconceptions. This is particularly true when it comes to sex and disability.
We’ve been looking at what people search online, and this includes the phrases ‘disability and sex drive’ and ‘sex when disabled’. Is this people believing that disabled people are asexual, with no wants, desires or needs? Or is this disabled people themselves unsure whether they can have sex with their condition?
Either way, ahead of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing disabled people’s sex stories to prove what’s possible and break down the taboo. Here, our resident shop reviewer Zec talks openly about his sex life as a married disabled man.
The first thing I want to get straight with this article and for anyone searching those terms – disabled people have sex. We do it to the best of our ability and, it may come as a big surprise to people, but many of us do it very well!
Before I go on, I should just warn you that I am going to talk very frankly about sex – I am not the type to hold back. I will speak from my experience and point of view and speak candidly!
So don’t say that I didn’t warn you. But at least you have a choice – the poor editors at Disability Horizons don’t and I apologise for that (except I don’t really ).
Disability and sex drive
I haven’t always been disabled. In 1997, I was also diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as ME or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – you can read more about how I became disabled in my first article on Disability Horizons. One of the first things I was worried about wasn’t losing the ability to walk, it was saying goodbye to my sex life.
When my pain levels started to grow, my mobility became increasingly problematic. I also had multiple knee surgeries, and too many years on crutches damaged my shoulders and wrists, so I started to use a wheelchair. I suddenly had this feeling of impending doom, that my sex life would never be the same again.
Happily, I now look back at that and laugh because, shock horror, my sex life is now better than it ever was.
Despite the fact that disabled people and those with health conditions have many varying physical and mental impairments, just like an able-bodied person, we still have those same desires, wants and the need for sex.
When people are aroused, their brain releases the chemicals oxytocin and endorphins, and it’s no different if you’re disabled. It just means that we have to approach sex differently.
My sex life as a disabled married man
I am very fortunate, I haven’t had to date or find a partner as a disabled person. No, I lured the girl of my dreams in my early 20s, married her and had children before becoming disabled.
For me when it comes to sex, I not only have the problem of a physical disability but also constant pain to varying levels and periods of extreme physical and mental fatigue.
But my brain does not seem to understand this and even on the worst of days, it suddenly nudges me and says, “By the way, you are feeling horny, have some chemicals.”
And so, there I am, laid in extreme pain and/or with fatigue and feeling aroused. Great!
Quite often in these circumstances, when I turn and look at my wife and she somehow knows what I am thinking, she says, “No, aren’t you in enough pain already?” She is right because even on the best of days, the act of sex will cause a big flare-up that can last for days.
But it’s worth it! I am willing to cause myself all manner of harm when I have an erection – and I don’t mean that in a kinky, spank me, tie me up and hurt me kind of way. I mean that I don’t care if I have days of payback because I have had sex.
Adjusting our sex life
So how do we get around these issues? The first thing we needed to do was change our positions. We had to forget doggy style because of my knees and pain, which my wife actually tells me is a bonus of me being disabled.
We’ve also had to forget the missionary position too, and sometimes, when my hips are playing up, I can’t make any sort of thrusting movement. In addition, sometimes penetrative sex is just not possible.
If I had gone back in time and told a 20-year-old me that this would happen, I think I would have cried a little. But the truth is, it really isn’t a problem.
And yes, despite these changes, I still say that our sex life now is better than it was before! We’ve been together for 31 years, so we know each other well and we were able to work out my new limits together. Also, as we’ve had to rethink things and do them differently, we’ve also had to slow it down, which isn’t a bad thing 😉
So we take things as they come, depending on how I am feeling with my ever-changing condition.
On a good day, when fatigue is only a slight problem and my pain levels are down to a three (and yes, that is a good day), I can go mad and fill my boots (poor choice of words, but you get what I mean).
On days like that, I am able to have penetrative sex. That is usually done with my wife on top, me being the big spoon or with my wife on her back, me on my side next to her and her leg nearest me over my side (no idea what the name of that position is).
I know right, practically a gymnast – go me! Of course, that is after the introductory foreplay to get all right bits to the right level and ready.
Disabled sex aid equipment
So let’s skip to the complete opposite end of my disability and what happens when my pain levels are high and or my fatigue is more problematic (but not at a level where it is impossible to do anything).
In these circumstances, we use sex toys or aids – and it’s taken our sex life to the next level. We had used sex toys before, but only really a basic vibrator for my wife that was rarely used.
Now, we use loads, most of which I have reviewed a few on my website, www.satonmybutt.co.uk. So, on a bad day, we stick to foreplay and use sex toys for an orgasm rather than penetrative sex.
For some reason, people view sex toys as a bit naughty, a kink and something that we must not talk about. But the truth is that everyone should have at least one sex toy and, for disabled people, they are a game-changer.
I have to confess that when we received the first sex toy for men, I was a tad embarrassed and hesitant to use it. But after testing a few, I have found a very good one that we can use for me when I can’t physically manage to have sex. Everyone has the right to orgasm, even if they don’t have a partner.
There is a massive range of sex toys for either the penis or vagina (and other bits) and many sold online now come in very discreet packages. There are also some amazingly innovative and inclusive sex toys on the market. There are even hands-free toys and some that can be controlled via a remote or smartphone.
The Pulse from Hot Octopuss enables someone who can’t get an erection due to erectile dysfunction or spinal cord injury, to orgasm, that is amazing. There is also a Pulse Duo where a partner can get on top and an area of vibration will take care of their needs.
There is a lot of sex equipment available too!. These can range from simple, covered foam wedges to help with positioning, to large pieces of furniture. Some of these will even have the option to house a sex toy for hands-free pleasure. Check out Bedroom Adventures for products like these!
There still needs to be more sex toys designed for disabled people, but there is a lot out there to start with.
So, the answer to the questions on having sex when you’re disabled and sex drive is that where there is a will, there is a way! And I really believe that people shouldn’t be embarrassed about the topic, especially when it comes to disability.
Do not feel ashamed – the desire for sex is a basic and primal urge that every living creature has, and just because we are disabled, that does not mean that we should suppress those urges!
By Zec Richardson
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