What I want to do, and what my disability allows me to do are two very different things.
Let’s talk sex and disability. When you put me down on paper there’s a million and one things I physically can’t do – my body just doesn’t function like the stereotypical ‘normal’. Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s why sex work is perfect for me, but what about sex?
What do you do when your body has an annoying habit of doing whatever it wants to do, but you love sex? How can you enjoy yourself when one of your many ailments may start acting up at any moment? How do you cope? Well, I’m no expert, and this isn’t supposed to be a definitive guide on how to manage sex and disability, it’s just how I deal with it. I’m putting some of my tips down on virtual paper in the hope that someone else might find them handy.
Please do keep in mind that sex and disability is one of those things that’s extremely individual. What works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa. This post also focuses mainly the physical side effects of a disability that impacts pain and movement, not the mental health side of things, though I may write about that in time.
Sex and Disability: Tips and Tricks
1. Have emergency supplies handy.
I am a firm believer in having a medicine cabinet as a bedside table (not really, but it looks that way). I have every painkiller, heat patch, muscle rub, and tablet known to man on my bedside table. Not only is it helpful in the middle of the night when I wake up in pain, or my body doesn’t like what I’ve put in it, but it’s also extremely useful when my symptoms flare up during sex – granted, everything has to pause for a set amount of time until the tablets kick in, but that’s just a good excuse to watch some porn or talk dirty to keep the mood going.
Now, tablets, heat packs, and gels may not help you, or maybe you have other things to deal with your body being somewhat douchey, but the same theory applies. Basically, be prepared. Approach it like you would sex – you need condoms (if you use them), lube, whatever toys you want to play with, and a good environment. Same applies to you in regards to your health condition; bring the items you’d need for a worse case flare into the bedroom. That way, if something happens and you start to feel rubbish half way through, you’re prepared, and your partner has all the tools to help you.
2. Figure out what works for you.
I am not a gymnast. I cannot flip my leg above my head, or stand in heels whilst having sex, or even move quickly – I’m on about that flip people seem to manage when they go from being on the bottom, to the top. It’s freakin’ magical how some people do that.
I went through a lot of trial and error when I first started having sex to figure out what works for me. I’ve found that my ability to be flexible, and move during sex varies day to day – sometimes even hour to hour. And that’s okay. Some days when I feel particularly energetic I like being on top. Other times, my hip or hips have given out, and a little on the bed spooning action where I don’t move much is all I can manage.
Adjust to to fit your body’s capabilities for the day – work around your limitations to find what you can do.
Similar to the point above, don’t stress.
‘Don’t stress’ she says. ‘Easier said than done!’ Hold back the eye roll for just one minute, and hear me out.
Stress, anxiety, and chronic illness go hand in hand. After all, a lot of the time you have no clue when your body is going to turn on you, so it makes sense that your body can be a source of stress and anxiety.
If you need to take time before sex to pamper yourself, give yourself ten minutes alone, or if you need to plan out every detail that covers all eventualities so you’re more relaxed during sex, that’s okay. Do what makes you feel comfortable. However, at the same time, don’t expect your body to do the impossible. I’m not saying you need to lower your expectations, but adjust them if they’re outside what you’d consider your normal. I say this, because I’m guilty of it. I have days where I think I can go on top and thrust like there’s no tomorrow, then one minute into it I realise that’s a terrible idea.
The golden rule when it comes to anything sex related.
I’ve had my fair share of partners that have had their penis on the mind during sex. Granted, that’s rather understandable as sex usually involves the genitals, but sometimes they think about their junk a little too much. ‘Just a little bit longer’ is a phrase that’s been uttered to me more than once during sex, when I’ve mentioned changing positions due to *insert pain problem here*.
But, that was then. And, I’ve come a long way since then. Now, if my partner can’t deal with the fact that three seconds to their orgasm they might have to stop and change positions, I don’t want that person as a partner. When I have sex I want to be comfortable, be relaxed, and not feel as though I’m putting myself under the pressure to perform. Discomfort in sex is not sexy. Comfort is.
To feel comfortable during sex, I’ve found that I need to tell my partner how I’m feeling that day, or warn them that x, y, or z might be off the table. If I’m in the midst of a bad pain flare and feel aroused, my partner and I discuss it. We talk about what I might be able to do, and understand that we may have to stop or change what we’re doing midway through. All this does mean more thought has to go into sex, and someone may end up with blue balls (or clitoris), but you know what? That’s fine.
5. Sex and Disability: Toys and Aids
At the moment I’m experimenting with a bunch of toys and aids to see what works best for me. In time I want to make a page dedicated to the sex toys and sex aids that seem to be more disability friendly. But, before that happens I need to try out a bunch more.
Even though I haven’t tried out as many as I’d like to, I’ve put sex toys and aids on my list of tips. The reason I’ve done this is because they’ve made my life a hell of a lot easier. Mechanical toys take the strain off my wrists, and self thrusting ones mean I don’t have to move around on the bed as much. These are just two examples of how sex toys help me. I’m sure there are other ways I’m forgetting, but I hope you can see where I’m going with this.
Disabilities put limitations upon us that we don’t like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work with them. Just like I have a walking stick for my bad days, I have a vibrator for the days my wrists hurt. I like to think of sex toys as my sexual crutch. Without them I can get by okay, but with them, I get off a lot better.
Bottom line, you know your body, and you know what’s best for your body. Communicate with your partner your limitations for the day. Never feel like you have to push your physical limitations or try to ignore them for the sake of an orgasm. As good as those endorphins feel in the moment, more often than not you’ll pay for it later.
Basically, listen to your body.