Historically, disabled people have been stripped of their bodily autonomy and denied freedom of expression, which has sadly included our needs and desires around sex. How often do you see disabled people featured in rom-coms or glossy magazines? How often do you see us modelling sexy lingerie or in ethical porn (in a way that doesn’t portray us as a novelty)? I can count the number of times on one hand.
The media rarely highlights disabled people in sexual or romantic contexts, but that definitely doesn’t mean we don’t want to have those experiences. Many of us do! For a long time, the lack of disabled representation led me to believe sexual pleasure and intimacy was out of bounds for me. I had never seen anyone from my community in romantic relationships in the many soaps and tearjerker films I watched. The movements of people having sex in the films just weren’t possible for my body. And everyone looked so unattainably unflawed.
For a long time, the lack of disabled representation led me to believe sexual pleasure and intimacy was out of bounds for me.
As disabled sex educator Caz Killjoy tells me: “For non-disabled bodies we have many resources where they’re like ‘here, try this new thing.’ Disabled people don’t get the same creative sexual prompts and we need them, just like everyone needs them.”
Whilst all sexually active people go on a journey of exploration to learn what feels good for them, disabled people often face several more physical barriers to sex than the average non-disabled person does. Finding accessible positions, movements, and toys can involve a lot of trial and error, so without further ado, here are some tricks and tips I’ve learned along the way.
12 sex tips for disabled people
As disabled people we are used to having to be creative to find ways to access things in their everyday lives. Killjoy says: “Disabled people are massively creative; we’ve had to be in order to survive and to access what we need. We can apply that creativity to our sexual lives, which means not limiting ourselves to one brand or something. If you have trouble holding something, get a glove and put tape around it. there’s no judge telling you, you can’t, so long as you and your partner(s) are happy.”
Get comfy with a back support pillow
One of the most life-changing purchases I have ever made is an innocuous back support pillow. It’s triangular and slots between the lower back and the bed. Completely supporting the spine, it pushes your body up towards your partner, allowing for deeper penetration and taking the pressure off you to raise your body entirely alone. You could also try moving a pregnancy support pillow around as you need it, or just whatever pillows and cushions you have already!
“Sex furniture/pillows can be a game changer for some people as it can make penetrative sex more accessible and more comfortable,” advises disabled sex educator Damian Weatherald. “They can assist someone to get into a position that they normally would not be able to.”
Spoon to your heart’s content
Laying side-by-side with a partner offers a low impact intimate experience. Doing a slow grind on one another in this position can be amazing for gradually building unbearable heat.
Flip it upside down
If intimate areas are too far away, try 69ing so that everything is within easy reach. Being closer to each other’s genitalia will give you and your partner more control over your movements too. Perfect for long, slow exploratory sessions.
Use a chair
Try sitting on your partner’s lap, or vice versa, in a chair or wheelchair. Facing their front or sitting on their lap, this position can be great for anyone that needs to sit down during sex. A great tool I’ve got my eye on is the Lovehoney’s Bondage Boutique Sex Position Enhancer Chair, which has a hole in the middle perfect for easy access.
Bring in everyday items to heighten the fun
Time to get messy! Perfect for those looking to enjoy themselves without lots of physical exertion. Explore yourself and your partner with the help of everyday items like blindfolds, melted chocolate, ice, or massage oil.
Use support with heavy toys
For people with low mobility in your arms or limited strength, you might decide to avoid clunky, heavier toys, like some of the plug in magic wands on the market. However, these babies do tend to pack a punch, so it would be a shame to bin them off altogether. Try putting your wand on a pillow and lying alongside it, strapping it to a chair or asking someone else to use it on your body.
Invest in sex toys that focus on arousal
Nipple clamps and suckers are awesome and can be enjoyed by lots of people with mobility impairments. Vibrating nipple clamps especially help bring those extra tantalising body shivers. Penis owners could also try a vibrating cock ring for intense hands free pleasure. Lovehoney’s We Vibe Verge Vibrating Cock Ring, which comes with both a remote and in-app control, offers plenty of different options for use.
Go hands free
Not needing to hold a toy in place can be an absolute game changer, both in terms of relaxing the focus on handiwork and also opening the possibility of your hands building less intensive, low key pleasure at the same time that the toy is getting to work. As well as larger vibrators and clit stimulators that could be positioned against a pillow, try toys that use a remote, or strap on to something.
Harnesses are brilliant for keeping a compatible dildo in place so that both people can enjoy a hands free sexual experience. Sex swings aren’t typically a realistic option to install in the home, but using one, at a sex party for example, can be a really great way of exploring your partner’s body whilst your main frame is supported.
How to have sex using a strap-on
Enjoy bondage play with cuffs and restraints
Lots of disabled people find cuffs and restraints really helpful for taking the weight off and relaxing into positions they might not otherwise be able to do. Plus they’re extra fun to explore with!
Try placing a couples sex toy between your bodies
Something like the Hot Octopuss Duo, which wraps around the penis and vibrates whilst simultaneously vibrating on the outside for another partner to feel too, works to pleasure both people. It also comes with a remote with a large easy-push button.
Use bondage tape creatively
Bondage tape only sticks to itself and is very useful for holding things in the place you need them. Use it to wrap your sex toys around the pillow or your body.
Try out interactive and app-based sex toys
Toys that can be controlled via an app or even long-distance can be a game changer for a whole host of people, disabled or not.
The best sex toys for men
“Interactive sex toys can help people who cannot have penetrative sex with a partner due to physical reasons or those who are in long distance relationships,” explains Weatherald.