For far too long, folks with disabilities have been left out of the wide, amazing world of sex. This has got to change. This week's Sex Stories We Love looks at some of the struggles sexy people with disabilities contend with and some of the actions needed to move forward.
Carnal Closed Captions
Fortunately, the world is a changing place, not that you'd get any of that from the tone of this snarky article. We are coming to understand that different people have different accessibility needs, and options are available to help people. Given the prevalence of media being consumed via online portals, it is critical that equity is given through websites with closed captioning for online videos, including porn sites. Porn is not an exclusively visual medium. Significant sexy content can and is conveyed via dialogue and descriptive sound. Sure, Pornhub has a section of closed captioned content, but given their status in the online content industry, they should be doing more and offering more. Descriptive porn for all!
Recommended Sex Toys
Those of us who write sex toy reviews sometimes suggest "we're taking one for the team." Testing sex toys and reporting back ain't as easy as it sounds! I can only imagine the extra challenges Hollie Anne-Brooks faced in finding a selection of good sex toys for disabled people. Most of the products listed are sex toys that also happen to work well for people of different abilities. Of course, not all will work well for everyone, but these recommendations are a great starting point. And here's hoping more sex toy companies are taking notice and will start to employ and consult people with disabilities to help guide a better, more equal, way forward.
I hate to say it, but this interview with Alexander, a fellow with cerebral palsy, and his partner, Christina, is a fairly rare instance in sexual reportage. Rarely are people with disabilities allowed to share their own voice when they describe their sex lives. That agency is rarely offered because, all-too-often, disabled people have been desexualized. Their experiences are more often lumped into "research." Absolutely, there are many fantastic people out there sharing their own stories about disability and sex, but this is a marginalized group who don't, often enough, receive a platform to share and inform. Let's make 2020 about hearing more from disabled folks as they tell the world all about their struggles and orgasms.
Sex Ed Equality
The point of education is to create equity among all people, to offer all people the same opportunities to learn, grow, and experience life. This is also a critical key to the implementation of progressive sex education. While this is still a struggle in many parts of the world, just getting some decent sex ed in place at all, it is good to see that some folks are understanding that people with disabilities are also fundamentally deserving of sex education as well. Historically, along with being desexualized, some disabled folks are also infantilized. They aren't even taught differences between sexes and genders and it is assumed they will never develop sexual desire and need. This is wrong and unfair. Inclusive sex ed for all!
Sex and Mental Health
There are many important conversations to be had around sex and disability, and we're touching on just a few today. If you'll indulge me a bit, I want to personally make space for a wee discussion on sex, mental health, and disability. As someone with bipolar disorder, I can offer my first-hand experience of the challenges mental health issues can have on a person's sex life. They bring their own level of frustration because these concerns might not be obvious or always evidence. They can also manifest in so many different ways. When you have sex, you want your head to spin in a good way. Unfortunately, the opposite happens far too often when you're dealing with mental health issues.
Finally, I'm really glad that the hit show Sex Education introduced Isaac (played by George Robinson) to the cast this year. The representation of an authentic, complex, disabled character is another strong indication that this show is trying to represent the current teenage experience. I can't wait to see where his portrayal will go.
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