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Emily Yates

Learning to Trust – Love Lounge tips

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

Love Lounge Top Tips – Learning to Trust

Learning to trust can be tough in any relationship, but if you’re disabled and have been hurt before, or are unsure about how a new partner will take to you, your impairment and any additional requirements or care needs you may have, it can be even trickier.  For some top tips on trust that we hope will help you to welcome loved ones with open arms once more, read on.

Tip 1: Don’t tarnish everyone with the same brush.

Whether you’ve had an unfaithful partner, have struggled with open communication in the past, or are even having a hard time removing previous nasty comments about you and your impairment from your mind, please remember not to expect that same negative behaviour from everyone else.  You don’t deserve it, and some people really do know how to treat others right.  We promise.  Learning to trust again is not easy, but reassuring yourself regularly that not everyone behaves badly is a good first step.

Tip 2: Be honest about your past.

We can often make the dangerous mistake of expecting our lovers to be mind readers when it comes to our past relationships and hurt feelings.  Unfortunately, they aren’t (but how great it would be if they were!) If you are finding it tough to trust, and are getting anxious when your partner goes out, or are finding yourself itching to check their phone, please do sit them down and explain how you’re feeling and what you’ve experienced previously. Any loving significant other with nothing to hide will do all they can to put your mind at ease.  But, its then up to you to do your part and give them the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason not to trust them, which will hopefully be never.

Tip 3:  Check in with each other regularly.

Trust, especially in relationships, can be very much like grief.  Over time, it gets easier, but certain things happen when you least expect them to that can trigger those difficult feelings all over again.  When we get those triggers out of nowhere, it can be so easy to shrink up within ourselves emotionally. We don’t want to call our partners out unnecessarily, or give them any reason to think that we are being unreasonable.  Next time this happens, take the step to resist the need to hide and bottle up feelings, and let your lover know how you’re feeling.  The more we talk about these things, the more normalised and easy to work through they become.  And relationships with openness, honesty, and care, no matter how difficult and testing they will be, have the best chance of survival.

Wishing you the very best of luck on your trusting journey.  You deserve happiness that is simple, care-free and long lasting.

Myth Busters – disabled people don’t, won’t and can’t have sex

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

Disabled people don’t, won’t and can’t have sex

How often do you see disabled people ‘getting it on’ on tv, in films or even in porn? No, we don’t see it often either.  Society seems to think that disabled people don’t, won’t and can’t have sex, and that’s a myth that we are here to dispel.  Want to join us, whilst raising a bit of awareness and education along the way? Keep reading!

Myth 1: Penetration

Sadly, we appear to have the (very incorrect) opinion as a society that sex isn’t ‘real’ if it doesn’t involve penetration, and therefore disabled people that can’t have intercourse aren’t sexual people.  This is wrong on every level, and whilst penetration isn’t possible for everyone, it really isn’t all that sex is about.  The possibility to be sensual and sexual exists for absolutely everyone, and many people that struggle with penetration put other skills they might have to very good use…! Perhaps, if we changed our view of penetration, we would also be able to educate ourselves on the complexities and intricacies of pleasure, in all its forms.

Myth 2: A lack of desire

Another common myth when it comes to disability and sex is that disabled people don’t have the same sexual desires as non-disabled people – something else that is desperately untrue! Whilst it is correct that sex can be a little more difficult for some of us (and take a little more time, effort and planning, sadly meaning that one night stands aren’t always on the table for all of us) the desire to have sex and be considered sexy still exists for lots of disabled people.  So, the next time you see an attractive, single disabled person giving you smouldering eye contact, don’t talk yourself out of it by thinking they won’t be interested!

Myth 3: Attraction

This third and final myth is arguably the biggest one, and the toughest to dispel.  It is so unfortunate that disabled people are portrayed so negatively by the media in many ways, and we are almost told not to find disabled people attractive.  Many of our colleagues, friends and partners are disabled and, let us tell you, they are all smart, funny, sexy and drop dead gorgeous in their own ways.  Don’t ever allow the world we live in to prescribe what is attractive and what isn’t.  Sure, a night with a disabled lover may require a little more thought, but it will most certainly be memorable.

So, to set the record straight.  When it comes to disability and sex…

We do, we will, and we can!

Losing your virginity as a disabled person – Love Lounge Top Tips

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

If you’re reading this, the time may well have come to lose the big V (isn’t it a bit off-putting that we dramatise it so much in society?!) You might have discussed having sex for the first time with your new beau, or just decided that tonight might be your night! However you want it to go down, and whoever you’re about to have sex with, we hope that these hints and tips might give you some peace of mind, or even quiet confidence, when it comes to getting it on for the first time.

Tip 1: Losing your virginity can be a whirlwind of emotions…or not!

Nerves and anxiety, pain, pleasure, giddiness, sadness or… nothing at all.  Having sex for the first time (or even just the anticipation of it beforehand) can induce a series of emotions.  You might feel every single one that we’ve listed above, or you might think that the whole thing was a bit over-rated.  Whether you feel everything at once or nothing at all, that’s more than okay, as long as you feel comfortable with having sex all the way through (and, remember, if you don’t, you can ask your partner to stop at any time; consent can change!)  If, as a disabled person, you’re particularly worried about muscles seizing up, certain positions hurting or being difficult to get into, or what your partner might think of your catheter or the aids you use, feel free to stop proceedings and discuss your concerns with them – that’s so much better than bottling the fear up and wishing that you’d said something earlier when you’re half way through an awkward romp! Sex can be amazing, but first time sex shouldn’t be rushed.

Tip 2: Make sure you’re being treated right

This may sound obvious, but make sure that the person you’re going to have sex with for the first time is at least going to stick around for a cuddle afterwards.  Whilst you might not remember losing your virginity as a particularly earth-shattering experience (unless you’re really lucky!) you’ll never forget the person you lost it to, so make sure they are worth that memory and are going to treat you well throughout. For us disabled people, this can be even more important, especially if you might need help getting back into your wheelchair, or getting dressed afterwards, for example.  Whilst we don’t agree that you should need to be in love with the first person you sleep with, you should care enough about each other to ensure you’re both going to have fun, be able to communicate openly and honestly, and know that whatever happens between you two, stays between you two.

Tip 3:  If at first you don’t succeed…

However much you plan it or fantasise about it, sex doesn’t always happen exactly when we want it to, or the way we want it to.  It might be too painful for you or your partner, muscles might tense up and spasm from the stress of it all, or it might just turn into a hilarious fumble rather than a passionate shag.  Learn to laugh it off, and try again.  Foreplay can be just as good (if not better) than intercourse so as long as you’re enjoying yourselves and each other, what does it matter?

Be safe, have fun and don’t take any of it too seriously.

Penetration isn’t everything – Love Lounge Top Tips

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

For those of us who are disabled, penetration isn’t always possible, comfortable or even desired… but it also isn’t everything.  Whilst penetrative sex is seen as the be all and end all by mainstream society, we are here to tell you that there are ways to be sensual and sexual without it and, trust us, they can be just as pleasurable, too! If you worry about how to satisfy, or be satisfied, without conventional intercourse, please read on.

Tip 1: Conquer foreplay

Want to please without penetration? Learn how to conquer foreplay.  Let’s be honest, it’s how many of us get off best anyway! Learn how your partner responds to touching and oral sex, does their body tense or quiver at certain movements, and want can you do to make them ask for more? If you feel unsure of how to best navigate their body and pleasure points, ask them to feedback to you on what feels good and really gets them going; you’ll be a pro in no time!

Tip 2: Communication is sexy

Sometimes, it’s not what we do that gets our partners off, but what we say. If that’s the case for the person you’re getting under the covers with, make sure to vocalise during those intimate moments.  You might let them know what you love about their body, what about them turns you on, or how good you feel when you’re with them. So whether you’re giving specific details of what you’d like them to do to you, or describing at length what you’d like to do to them, communication really can be sexy, and penetration doesn’t have to be involved once!

Tip 3:  Fantasise to the finish line

Discussing fantasies (or thinking of them yourself during solo play or sex) can be another great way of pleasuring yourself, penetration-free. If they are fantasies that you are comfortable sharing with your partner, sexy conversations around them can also be a great way of getting to know each other and your likes and dislikes in a more intimate way.  Who knows, they might even be fantasies you decide to act on later, too!

Penetration will always be a big player in the sexual dictionary, but it really isn’t everything. We hope this article has given you a little more confidence, and even a few hints and tips to take back to the bedroom…

I want to start dating. When should I disclose my disability?

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Mik Scarlet, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability | No Comments

I am pleased to have seen your website through my Open University website and module I am doing.

My name is Naomi I am a 39 year old disabled woman, from three years ago so all new, I have come to a point in my life where I don’t know how to date, when to disclose my disability but also an illness without a prognosis.  I thought about dating other disabled people without sounding rude, but wouldn’t even know how, what I would put on a dating site as in disclosure,  sorry so many questions,  I think I’m excited about finding your website.
Naomi

Hi Naomi,

Lovely to hear from you, and thanks so much for writing in to us.  In terms of disclosure, it is of course totally up to you when you decide to disclose your disability, but if you feel confident in doing so, mentioning it in a dating site bio might be a good start. I’m not sure if your impairment is visible from your email, but I’m a wheelchair user and have previously added a photo of myself using my chair in my profile, and also mentioned that I play wheelchair basketball – that often does the trick in terms of disclosure!
When it comes to dating other disabled people, asking open, honest practical questions has always helped me.  Without sounding too crude, it’s of course important to find someone that has similar interests/preferences (just as you would want in a non-disabled partner) but who you will also be able to be compatible with practically – with everything from whether that person is able to drive (if that’s important to you) to intimacy. There are specialist sites for disabled people wanting to date other disabled people – just google ‘disabled dating in my area’.  Also have a look at a site called Meet Up – there’s great groups that you can join whether you’re into partying, book clubs, arts and crafts or having a coffee and a natter! I’m a big fan of the meet up site as it can often be a very ‘natural’ way to find someone you’re attracted to, by doing something you both love.

Would love to chat to you more Naomi, and hoping this is a good start 🙂

All best wishes,

Emily

Is it worth it? How can I stop feeling so ugly and alone? – Love Lounge

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Mik Scarlet, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability | No Comments

Hello:

My name is Sarah.  I’ve already been in contact with Mik Scarlet and he referred me to this page.

I have been made to feel unattractive/ugly from quite a young age, and was subjected regularly to sexual abuse from the age of 4. Needless to say I grew up with a very warped view of physical intimacy and a feeling of being undeserving of being in a relationship. My marriage ended due to violence on his part, which stemmed from our lack of communication and my inhibitions on a sexual level stemming back to my childhood and the associations with molestation and abuse. This element led to the end of my next long term relationship which started shortly after my marriage ended.

I was a carer for 9 years and I am now in my mid 50’s. I know it is never too late for love but part of the reason I have given up looking is because of the issue raised by Dr Phil which led me to contact Mik – the fact that as I age my care needs will either outstrip my partner, or I will end up trying to care for my partner when I am no longer physically able to do so-and social services will separate us, leaving me alone and vulnerable at a late stage in life.

So with all that said, is it worth it? I still consider that people would perceive me as  ugly, because I recently saw a comedienne who looked exactly like myself giving an interview representing women who are “proud to be ugly”, thus confirming that I am doomed to be perceived that way by society’s gauge of attractiveness! Leaving my disabilities out of the equation of course, relationships always start with physical attraction, before you go deeper…

Your thoughts/advice would be most appreciated.

Many thanks

Sarah

 

Hi Sarah, many thanks for writing in to us and being so honest and open with a difficult topic.

The first thing I’ll say is… Dr Phil has a lot to answer for! I’m a wheelchair user and needing a bit of extra physical help/care/support is absolutely part of my package when it comes to relationships.  The men I’ve been in relationships with have had to ‘step up’ on a practical level, whether that’s meant lifting my wheelchair into the car for me, or helping with cooking, cleaning and even helping me to wash and dress on my more difficult days.  Do I think they value me any less as a lover? Absolutely not.  In fact, I’d argue that practical intimacy often makes sexual intimacy even stronger! It also upsets me that people tend to never see what us disabled people do for our partners, too.  Since meeting me, my boyfriend has travelled to 4 continents, left a job he hated and started one he loves, moved house and made some amazing new friends.  He’s done these things for himself, of course, but emotional support and encouragement from me has definitely played a part.  What I’m trying to say is don’t ever underestimate what you can provide in a relationship – physical care and support is but one part of many, many successful partnerships.
On the topic of attractiveness, it sounds cliche but everyone possesses so much beauty in their own way.  I know many people who aren’t conventionally ‘pretty’, but their fierce fashion sense, brilliant humour or passion for what they do make them incredibly striking and attractive. I was watching ‘Queer Eye’ this weekend, and something brilliant was said: ‘You’ve done all you can if you present yourself to the world in the best way possible every day’.  We think we will be happy with ourselves once we’ve lose weight, got a boob job or have enough money for expensive make up and jewellery, but if we do the best we can with the body and resources we’ve got at this moment, there’s a quiet confidence in that that I believe with radiate from us into further attractiveness.
Keep fighting the good fight and believing that trying again is worth it.  Having the confidence to open up and write to us already says a lot about the honest and passionate person you are.
Hoping this helps, and please do get in touch if we can help further in any way.
Thanks,
Emily x

So… you fancy a disabled person?

By | Emily Yates, The Love Lounge, Top tips, Undressing Disability | No Comments

As we are sure you know by now, the Love Lounge isn’t just for disabled people.  It is a platform for everyone, disabled or not, to gain awareness of, and learn about, dating, relationships, sex and love in a thoroughly accessible and inclusive way.  Sadly, disabled people don’t yet have the voice that they deserve when it comes to these issues, and we believe that encouraging everyone to educate themselves so that they too can ‘fight the good fight’ can only be a good thing.  In light of this, we are regularly contacted by non-disabled people who, very often, all have one question in common: ‘how can I let my disabled acquaintance know that I want more than a friendship? I’m terrified of saying the wrong thing, or doing something to offend them!’ If you feel this way, or know someone that does, you might want to read on.

 

Tip 1: Think about why you feel differently

Why do you like the person? Are they funny, gorgeous, smart, stylish, kind, passionate about what they do, or a mixture of all of the above? They certainly sound like a catch to us, and the fact that they are in a wheelchair, Deaf, visually impaired or struggle with communication shouldn’t take that away from them.  Disabled people are sexy, too! Are you terrified about what they will think if you let them know how you feel, or are you actually worried about other peoples’ opinions? As the famous saying goes: those who mind won’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.  There’s no doubt about it, you’ve (sadly) got to have inner confidence and strength to go out with a disabled person in today’s society, but that makes you a bloody good catch, too!

Tip 2: Good intention is everything

For so many people, worrying about patronising or offending disabled people is a real issue, and of course it’s something that you don’t want to be doing when you’re asking someone out, on a first date with them, or even about to get it on.  That’s why good intentions go such a long way; don’t worry too much about slipping up or saying the wrong thing if you truly mean well. Us disabled people have a bit of a sixth sense when it comes to intention, and can often easily ‘weed out’ the people who we know are trying to mock us rather than show a genuine interest. Other than that, why should what you say to a disabled partner be any different to how you would address a non-disabled one? Unless you’re discussing the most accessible hotel to stay in during a romantic weekend away, or new sexual positions to try that you want to ensure are inclusive to the both of you, there’s no need for disability to even really be a factor.

Tip 3:  Enjoy the ride!

Don’t let your worries or lack of knowledge around disability stop you from having what could be an amazing date, night between the sheets or long-term relationship with a disabled person.  If you meet a disabled person that you find attractive, go for it! Who knows what adventures you could both go on together?

 

 

Accessible bedroom antic hacks

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability | No Comments

Love Lounge Top Tips – Accessible bedroom antic hacks

I’m certainly not telling you anything you haven’t heard before when I say that those of us who are disabled are often considered less-than-sexy by society.  Well, quite frankly, society doesn’t know any better and, after reading this article, I hope that you can show anyone lucky enough to get into your bed just what they’ve been missing out on.  Some of us might not be as agile, pain and care free as our non-disabled peers when it comes to sex, but we do have some interesting aids and objects in our households that can support great, accessible bedroom antics.  Introducing to you: my top hacks for some mind-blowing accessible bedroom antics.  Enjoy!

 

Tip 1: The Bed Rail

Many of us have grab rails near, or connected to, our beds to enable us to transfer in and out with ease. Admittedly, plenty of them are not all that attractive to look at, but have you considered tying rope, ribbon or handcuffs to them to make things that little bit more exciting in the bedroom? It’s such a great way to make what is otherwise quite a medical and clinical aid into something you’ll appreciate, and maybe even have a little grin at every time you see it!

 

Tip 2: The Hoist

Hoists are somewhat of a necessity to many of us.  Yes, they get us from A to B, but what if they could be a part of a brilliant and varied sex life too? If your partner is able to get into a few flexible positions, or if you just fancy a different position for some solo fun, try using your hoist as a bit of a sex swing next time you’re in the mood.  Who knows, it might just become a staple in your sexy repertoire.

 

Tip 3:  The Wheelchair

This last one might sound like an obvious one, but the wheelchair users amongst us sit in a very versatile bit of kit every day.  Yes, they grant an amazing amount of independence and are great for getting around, but they can also provide a seat for some saucy sexual experiences, too.  Next time you fancy getting it on, try using your wheelchair in a different way.  You might want to use it as a base for tying you or your partner to, as an aid for seated oral sex, or even stay seated in it whilst you use a sex toy (have a look at last week’s post for some amazing inclusive sex toy options!)

 

Switching things up in the bedroom and incorporating aids and devices we wouldn’t usually see as sexy is a great way to spice up your sex life and have a whole new appreciation for the things we use every day. Here’s hoping you have plenty of fun doing so and, as always, we’d love to hear if you have any accessible bedroom antic hacks of your own!

 

 

 

Feeling sexy

By | Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability | No Comments

Typing the word ‘sexy’ makes me squirm a little bit, but it’s important! It sometimes seems that, by
not choosing us for films, adverts and campaigns, society is trying to tell us disabled people
something: that we aren’t desirable, or worthy of attention based on our looks. Excuse the
language, but that is utter bollocks. Sadly though, it can often have the desired effect, and we can
feel less-than in so many ways, not least sexually. So, how can we get our mojo back and ensure
that feeling fiiiine isn’t just for the non-disabled? Read on for some of my personal hints and tips
(and feel free to add your own!)

Tip 1: You are Enough
I read so many articles that encourage readers to focus on everything other than their impairment
when it comes to feeling attractive. There’s no need! Instead, we need to start believing that every
bit of us is sexy, even the bits that don’t work properly, or do the opposite of what we want them to!
First things first, take the time to appreciate the whole ‘you’, even the parts of your body or
personality that you’ve always been insecure about. It’s easier said than done, we know, but it really
does make quite the difference when you can look in the mirror, give yourself a little smile and think
‘yep, you’ll do!’

Tip 2: Unravel the attractiveness
One of the things that annoys me most about how many people view disability is weirdly also one of
the things I find most attractive about myself. I’ll try to explain… There is nothing that makes me
feel more attractive when meeting someone new on a night out than when they’ve all but cast me
aside because I’m a wheelchair user, and I ‘unravel’ other parts of myself – my interests, opinions
and humour – and can see the person that didn’t want to know a minute ago suddenly changing
their mind. Their initial narrowmindedness probably means that I won’t be going home with them,
but knowing that their mentality has changed just a little bit makes me feel so good, and powerful in
a way. Find what it is that makes you feel powerful and attractive, and work it!

Tip 3: Haters gonna hate.
And that’s okay, don’t let them grind you down. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – none
of us are – but its important not to let one opinion define you. Change the things you want to and
can, and move forward loving the bits you can’t, because worrying about and apologising for who
you are and what you’re about isn’t sexy; owning it is.
Here’s to you, you sexy thing. Go get ‘em!

Communicating with a new sexual partner

By | Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge | No Comments

Bedroom antics with someone new are supposed to be exciting. Start watching any TV series on
Netflix, and the sex scenes will always be impulsive, passionate and steamy. It’s great when that
happens, but it happens much more rarely in the real world, especially when you’re disabled and
taking the next step with someone new! Many of us have to plan ahead when it comes to getting
intimate, as well as talking about our capabilities and limitations, likes and dislikes. All of this is more
than okay (and quite often makes us better lovers in the long run!) but if you’re still unsure of how
to navigate that ‘first time chat’, below are some tips that we hope will help you out.

Tip 1: Honesty is the best policy.
Wanting to get it on but feeling nervous about doing so? Just say. Are there certain positions that
are uncomfortable or impossible, or specific aids or equipment you need to use? Let your partner
know. Is there something they can do instead that would really turn you on? Tell them! Whatever
you’re feeling, don’t keep quiet and then let it get in the way of you having a good time. If you like
this person enough to be having sex with them, we’re pretty sure they’ll like you enough to learn
about your body and how they can best please you. Enjoying each other – after all – is what it’s all
about.

Tip 2: Stay open.
If you do decide to talk about sex before getting down to it, there may be a few questions that your
new partner asks. Whilst it’s important to try and keep the conversation light and playful (let’s face
it, no-one wants to feel like they are being medically examined), it’s also vital that you stay as open
to questions as possible, and answer them sincerely, as long as the person asking them is doing so
with the best of intentions. There aren’t many people out there who know a lot about disability
(and even less have gone to bed with one of us), so being respectful of each other’s questions and
answers is a huge step to ensuring that all worries and stresses can disappear before you get
intimate.

Tip 3: It’s not always about talking.
Our body language says so much about us, we often forget how important it really is! Some people
like to talk and reassure each other during sex, but an intense look, certain touch, laugh or moan can
also speak a thousand words and let your partner know how you’re feeling and if they are doing all
the right things or not. It goes without saying that you both have the right, at any point, to stop

what’s going on and not take it any further, but communicating openly with your body as well as
your voice can often do a lot of the communicating for you.

Good luck. Here’s to stress-free, satisfying sex for us all!

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