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Free advice on all things sex, love and disability

If you feel alone and need to talk to someone, get a bit of down to earth advice or need some practical tips on sex, relationships and flirting, please come and talk to our resident love non expert experts! Everybody wants to feel that they ‘belong’ and finding a sense of belonging with another person is very important to so many of us. Yet finding a ‘soul mate,’ for many people, is not so simple especially when you have a disability.

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Sex and Disability

Even if you’re in an established relationship, all sorts of tensions and difficulties can crop up. It’s especially hard if one of you becomes chronically sick, disabled or has an impairment which changes. It can then become not only something you both need to get your head round, but could mean your partner now has to assist you in different ways and offer you ‘care’ in a way they haven’t done before.

The dynamic of your relationship could change, sex might become physically or emotionally difficult, or you may end up feeling like you’re living with your best friend and sex is off the menu all together. Maybe you’re single and want to date, have fun, find the person of your dreams or even play the field a bit but are scared of ending up feeling like a novelty shag. Where do you look? How do you look? When do you mention an impairment or disability?

Living in a care home and maintaining or even establishing a relationship is no easy feat. Lack of information, attitudes, privacy and access are massive barriers. After all, how many double beds have you ever seen in a care home?

GET TO KNOW YOUR LOVE GURUS!

Mik looking directly into the camera, with red spikey hair and a coloured grid pattern behind him

Mik Scarlet

Mik is a big personality in the media world, representing disability in his own unique way.  He has presented shows on BBC2, Channel 4, ITV, Total Rock Radio and BBC 3 Counties Radio.

Emily yates smiling with bright pink lipstick and a colourful dress

Emily Yates

Emily is an accessible travel writer and accessibility consultant, she has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and has had relationships with both able-bodied and disabled partners.

LOVE LOUNGE LIVE

We’ve put together a selection of your messages and questions from our sexperts.
Do you agree with what they said? Send a reply with your thoughts!

How can I find love and stop feeling so lonely – Love Lounge Q&A

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

Hi Mik and Emily

This is a particularly difficult email to write.  Basically I am a single,  divorced 42-year-old bloke living with Friedreich’s Ataxia – a progressive, genetic disease of the nervous system.
I am lucky enough to have plenty of good friends and I get a lot out of these relationships.  However, I do find myself suffering from loneliness and feel lost when dealing with issues of sexuality and intimacy?
I am not interested in simply calling an escort as I want to build a special friendship based around respect and trust.
I have quite a busy social life and I have recently led a disability campaign in Wales.  This has increased my profile but simply turned me into the most popular lonely person I know.
I think my confidence needs working on and I really enjoyed watching Mik’s recent YouTube video about Dr Phil.  I am not sure which way to turn and was hoping for some advice from your good selves.
Look forward to speaking soon
Nick
Hi Nick,
Many thanks for writing into us with such honesty.  We will certainly do our best to help!
The first thing that popped into my head when I read your email is whether you can use the resources around you to your advantage. It’s wonderful that you have such a supportive network of friends. If you don’t already, can you go to events or on trips with these friends to places that will increase your chances of finding someone in a romantic sense? Have you heard of the site MeetUp? I suggest this to a lot of people because it’s a great way of finding out about what’s going on in your area.  Let’s say that you enjoy cooking, for example, there’s bound to be a MeetUp group in your area that focuses on cooking, or trying out new local restaurants every week.  It’s a great way of meeting people weekly, building up friendships based on similar interests and, who knows, maybe it could lead to romance?!
Have you tried online dating, or are you interested in trying it at all? If mindlessly swiping on Tinder isn’t your thing, how about a site focused on communication and similar interests, like eHarmony? I’m a wheelchair user and met my boyfriend on Tinder, and many of my friend now have very successful relationships from online dating!
You say that you’ve had a busy time recently (and the campaign sounds brilliant!) Don’t forget to take some time for yourself, too.  We often radiate a bit more confidence when we feel good about ourselves, so don’t feel guilty about buying a new outfit that you feel great in, or going and treating yourself to a spa day, if that’s what you’re into!
Hoping this helps Nick, and good luck!
Emily

Accessible sex positions

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

It’s no secret that not everyone can master every single position in the Karma Sutra, but there’s no reason why us disabled people can’t create our own! Whether you’re looking for inclusive tips for the first time you’re getting down and dirty with a disabled partner, or you’re a disabled person looking to spice up your sex life in a more accessible way for you both – we’ve got you covered.  If you like the idea of adding another position or two to your repertoire, in the most stress and pain free ways possible, let us introduce you to our pick of accessible sex positions.  You can thank us later.

Tip 1: Accessible Oral

Oral sex sadly gets left out of far too many sexual experiences, but it’s really pretty easy to make accessible for all! Having a go at a 69 is a great place to start – there’s an opportunity to lie flat or go on top, depending on your strengths, and who doesn’t like receiving pleasure whilst they’re giving it?!  Wheelchair users can also give oral whilst staying seated (and receive it too!) If your partner is able to, just make sure that they’re positioned in a way that works for you.

Tip 2: Spooning and Cowgirls

Sex whilst spooning can be really great; you can use the bed or sofa to stabilise yourself, and don’t be afraid to try different entry angles before you start getting into it – 90 degree spoon sex (whilst not technically involving any spooning anymore) feels amazing! For those of you who are desperate to be cowgirls, but can’t quite straddle far enough with tight leg muscles, have you tried the crouching reverse cowgirl position? It’s like the reverse cowgirl, but you can put your legs under your partner’s, rather than having to straddle them.  Leaning forward so your head is in line with your partner’s feet, you can then ease yourself back onto them, strain and pressure free! And if you struggle to muster up the strength to ‘bounce’ up and down, and your partner to help by grabbing a hold of your hips.  Try it, it’s a real game-changer.

Tip 3:  Using the Resources around you

We’ve mentioned this before in previous Love Lounge articles, but don’t forget to keep up to date with the inclusive sex toys that are on the market – they can make a sex position you’ve been doing for years all the more exciting – how about trying doggy with a bullet on your clit, or missionary with a butt plug in? Great sex doesn’t mean having to totally change up everything you know and love, it just means thinking about positions differently and maybe even stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while.

Here’s to satisfying and fulfilling sex for us all, regardless of ability or preference. Enjoy, and do please let us know if you have an inclusive position that works for you; it might just change someone else’s experience behind closed doors (or in front of them!)

 

Online dating – a love/hate relationship

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

Online Dating – A love/hate relationship

Tinder, POF, eHarmony, Bumble and God knows whatever else, online dating is EVERYWHERE.  Meeting people in cities seems increasingly impossible unless you’re looking on your phone, going up to someone and introducing yourself seems almost alien, and does anyone really fancy you unless they’ve ‘super liked’ you?! Regardless of what we think about online dating, it’s here to stay.  Here are our top tips on navigating the world of swiping, sexy selfies and aubergine emojis…

Tip 1: Think about Disclosure

If you’re online dating as a disabled person, one thing is often on your mind more than anything else: disclosing your impairment. When, where and how you choose to do it (and whether you choose to disclose at all) is totally up to you, but before you start online dating, it might be a good idea to think about what suits you best. Disclosure doesn’t mean shouting from the rooftops, either.  Mentioning that you play wheelchair basketball, or suggesting that you go somewhere with a little bit more light than a basement nightclub are all statements that could lead to fuller disclosure.  Whether you are proud of your impairment or still taking the steps to come to terms with it, knowing how to have conversations around it in a way that makes you feel most comfortable is never a bad thing.

Tip 2: Bucket Lists and Fetishists

We all have preferences, things that excite us and things that we simply just want to try when it comes to sex.  As a disabled person who is online dating, you will, without doubt, come across people who want to sleep with you because they are an admirer of your impairment and also people who want to get you in the sack so they can add a nice, big, fat tick to their sexual bucket list.  If you’re cool with this, and want to try some new experiences yourself, who the hell are we to stop you! Having an awareness and educating yourself around these issues is highly recommended, though.  Have a little google of disability devoteeism, and always beware of someone who goes straight onto their group WhatsApp after a shag to announce the news!

Tip 3:  Teach where possible

Dating, both on and offline, is supposed to be fun (and flipping sexy, too!) Whilst we don’t want to ruin that fun for you, remember that you may well be the first disabled person your new interest has ever spoken to, nevermind dated! They may well say the wrong thing at the wrong time, ask awkward questions and not quite know what to do with themselves at the best of times.  If you like them and they have the best of intentions, there is nothing wrong with taking the time out to educate them around disability, the requirements you have and how best they could help you if and when you need it. Sharing is caring, as they say!

Good luck in that crazy, complicated but ever so fun world of online dating.  Should you ever have any questions or concerns, we are here to help.

Explaining fetishes and fantasies – Love Lounge

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

Some of us will have most definitely been there: enjoying a perfectly nice shag on an evening, but thinking how much better it would be if our partner did this, said that, looked at us in a certain way, focused on a particular body part a bit more, dressed up in that outfit that makes us melt… We all have fetishes and fantasies that we’d love to have fulfilled, however simple or dark they may seem to us (and, of course, disabled people are no different!). But communicating our likes and dislikes and asking for them to be incorporated into our sex lives can be tricky for even the most confident lovers amongst us. If you’d like some hints and tips on how best to explain your fetishes and fantasies, read on!

Tip 1: The type of person often reflects the type of approach
I’m very fortunate to have a partner who loves to please me, but he can also get a little flustered and go into ‘thinking’ mode if I blurt out something he didn’t expect in the heat of the moment. What are you like, what’s your partner like, and how might they respond to your preferences and desires? It goes without saying that anyone that closes their mind off immediately and refuses any kind of involvement or interest may potentially not be the best sexual match for you, but it’s important to think about the type of person you’re with and bring up fetishes and fantasies in a way that you think they’ll best digest (cos, let’s face it, you’re looking for a positive response!) If you’re the kind of couple that debriefs after sex, maybe mention that, next time, it’d be amazingggg if they added a certain thing into their repertoire, if you’re both impulsive, shout what you want from the rooftops mid-session if you want! Whatever way ends up working for you, tailoring your approach for comfort, honesty and open mindedness from you both is a great step in the right direction.

Tip 2: Is it a ‘must have’, or an added bonus?
Is what you’re into an exciting addition to your sex life, or do you find it difficult to get turned on without it? Be honest with your partner about how important your fetishes, preferences and fantasies are to you, and how often you’d like them to feature in your sex life. And if you don’t know, that’s fine too, as long as you explain this. Being as transparent as possible with your partner will undoubtedly lead to better things for you both in the long run.

Tip 3: Patience and encouragement goes a long way
It can be tempting, when you’ve told a partner about what you like, to expect things to develop quickly, or to experience those fetishes or fantasies every time you get intimate. It’s important for us all to remember that it takes time for others to get comfortable with things that seem obvious to us, and patience and encouragement will be huge factors in your sexual journey together, whichever amazing direction that takes you both in.

Hopefully this article has given you a little more confidence in expressing your desires, whatever they may be. Here’s to great sex for us all, all of the time. We deserve it 😉

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!

 

 

 

Love Lounge Top Tips – Inclusive, sexy companies

By | Disability, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Top tips, Undressing Disability | No Comments

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I think I’d be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t let you know about some of my favourite inclusive, sexy companies that you should totally check out at this time of year (or at any time of year! Let’s be honest, pleasure doesn’t have a time stamp).  So, whether you’re searching for products to surprise your partner with, or looking forward to an orgasmic night in for one, this week on the Love Lounge, we’ve got you covered! Read on for my suggestions, and I can’t wait to hear about yours…

 

Tip 1: Hot Octopuss

The first thing that’s enticing about Hot Octopuss is their brilliant branding.  Edgy rather than flirty, with tattooed, striking models that are a far cry away from the blonde, busty images that often saturate the adult world, it’s fair to say I was instantly hooked.  Hot Octopuss are on a mission to make masturbation more inclusive for every body.  Their selection of pulse male toys can be used with or without an erection, and their new Queen Bee clitoral stimulator sets new standards for female toys, not least because it boasts a long handle that is perfect for those with limited dexterity and movement.  With affordable pricing and display-worthy packaging to boot, Hot Octopuss truly offers something for everyone, regardless of age or ability.

 

Tip 2: Rocks Off

Rocks Off need little introduction; they are the UK’s leading sex toy manufacturer, and sell their products on pretty much every mainstream sexy website you can think of. They need to be praised beyond measure for an inclusive sex toy that is right up my street, though! The Ruby Glow is the ultimate answer to a hands-free orgasm for the seated females amongst us.  Imagine a miniature, battery powered version of a sybian that you can slide underneath you without moving out of your wheelchair (the dream, I know!) True to its name, it dazzles in ruby red velvet silicone, has ten powerful functions, and can even be used through clothing.  You can thank me later.

 

Tip 3:  Liberator Sex Furniture 

On the more luxurious end of the scale is Liberator, a company that prides itself on selling Bedroom Adventure Gear.  Whether you’re looking for a headrest to make positioning less painful, or a chaise lounge that can innocently appear as stylish furniture when your parents come to visit and become a playground for your wildest fantasies behind closed doors, this is the site for you.  There’s wedges and ramps that can be combined to make difficult positions more accessible, and even specialist beanbags to take pressure off your joints and limbs whilst you Netflix and chill (and we all know where that leads…!)  This stuff is far from cheap but, if nothing else, Liberator may well give you the inspo you need to make your sex life all the more inclusive and fun.

Wishing you a very pleasurable Valentine’s Day indeed 😉

 

 

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!

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