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Enhance the UK

Losing sensitivity

By | Disability, Mik Scarlet, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

Hey,

I’m a 40-something gentleman with Spina Bifida I’ve noticed over the last couple of years I’m slowly losing sensitivity in my penis, is there anything I can do about it? Any advice would be helpful.

M

Kind regards

Hi M


Regarding your question about losing sensation in your genitals, I should first ask have you been to see a GP or specialist? I’ve had a couple of times when sensation went strange and it transpired my spine wasn’t doing well so I needed surgery to make it stable. Well worth getting it checked as I know I found after the most recent operation I regained all the lost feeling plus some sensation I hadn’t had since my SCI in 1981.


If you have made sure it’s not a medical issue, don’t worry. Our society obsesses about willys. I’m not sure if you have erectile function but whichever the answer  you can use a technique developed to help people with SCI to develop orgasmic zones all over your body.


Basically you have to learn how to masturbate without touching yourself. Lie on your bed and think very dirty thoughts. Let your imagination run riot. As you feel more and more aroused keep going. With a few tries you’ll find you start to be able to orgasm without being touched. Lots of fun if you ever bored at the cinema eh?


Now you can do this, just as you’re about to orgasm touch yourself or get someone to touch you on a part of your body you already like being touched. Nipples for example. Doing this a few times makes you start to be able to orgasm in a different place to your genitals. It’s a different orgasm as it’s very head first rather than groin first. Trust me it works.


There are videos of me explaining the technique further online. 
While learning how to do this relocation of orgasmic zones is cool I’d definitely make sure everything is cool with your nerves first. Better safe than sorry eh?


I’ve seen guys and girls with zero sensation in their sex organs discover this technique and rediscover sex and their sexuality. If function goes too there’s still so much you can do. I did a video for the Love Lounge about this recently. You’ve still got your tongue, fingers and there’s a whole world of toys to play with. 


Hope this helps mate? I know how it can hurt your confidence. I remember waking up aged 15 to discover my SCI had changed my sexual function for life. Luckily I found it gave me a whole load of new options that everyone I’ve been with seemed to enjoy! 

Keep in touch and stay sexy, 


Mik

Love Lounge Top Tips – Trademarks and Confidence

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

When it comes to dating and relationships, confidence can be hard to find (not least for us disabled people). Regardless of how confident you are, or how comfortable with your impairment you may be, it can be extremely difficult not to blame a rejection on the fact that you’re disabled.  So, with this in mind, here are our tips for creating a confident trademark out of your features (including your impairment), and owning it!

A talking point.

Whilst no-one wants a thousand questions about their impairment or a particular aid the first time that they meet someone, this ‘see the person, not the disability’ rhetoric doesn’t really fly with us, either.  Come on, of course many impairments are visible, and that’s more than okay! We don’t have to pretend they don’t exist, they just don’t have to be an all-encompassing identifying factor, either.  If you’re confident about, or even proud of, your impairment, don’t be afraid to show how you feel it a way that fits with your style.  It can be a great feeling when someone comes up to you and says ‘Wow, I love what you’ve done with your wheelchair, that’s the coolest one I’ve ever seen!’ instead of crossing the street to avoid any interaction.

What about all those other gorgeous features?

We might sound like the Queer Eye team here (and trust us, we are MORE than okay with that!) but remember to focus on all of your other identifying factors that you love and not just the aids you use in everyday life.  Got a great smile? Wear some popping lipstick to show it off.  Love a certain style, pattern or colour when it comes to clothes? Wear them, and make that your trademark.  Perhaps piercings and tattoos are your thing, or suits and paisley shirts.  Whatever it is, make it ‘you’, and then people will have so much more to talk to you about than the elephant in the room (and it makes dating ice breakers a little easier, too!)

Inside always shows on the Outside

Ultimately, none of these tips are any good if you still feel shy, insular and unable to take action on the inside.  Wearing a colourful outfit means nothing if you don’t radiate positivity and an open, welcoming attitude.  This may sound a little strict (but we hope you know where we are coming from): If you want to be seen as more than a disabled guy or girl, you have to show those other facets to yourself in a loud and proud manner because, sadly, society is still waaaay behind in its perceptions of disability.  Let everything that you are shine through, and be proud of it, every single bit of it, ESPECIALLY the bits that are unique to you.

Sending love x 

Love Lounge Top Tips – Inclusive Erotica

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

It’s no secret that disabled people aren’t represented nearly as much as they should be in the media,
education and employment, amongst many other areas. The same has often been said about the
sexual arena – how many wheelchair users do you see in mainstream porn or read about in steamy
stories? Very, very few. With thanks to several brilliant writers and activists, this is slowly changing,
with inclusive erotica for all to enjoy and be able to relate to now being available. So, if you’d like to
read a short sexy story or watch a film that includes disability and desire, carry on reading!

Tip 1: Writings to Warm you up at Night

We definitely need more disabled people to write erotica for both disabled and non-disabled
readers. Why? Well, because not only does it give disabled people something realistic and relatable
to get off to (as well as inspo for their own sexual relationships), it also helps non-disabled people to
see their disabled peers as desirable and sexual beings. Let’s be honest – many non-disabled people
view us as people that don’t, won’t and can’t have sex, and those who know this is absolutely untrue
can sometimes fetishise us against our will. Anything that makes disability and sex appear as normal
as it bloody well is is doing a great job! If you fancy reading some inclusive erotica by disabled
writers, have a look at Xan West, who’s recent publication ‘Nine of Swords, Reversed’ is described as
a dominant/submissive “romance novelette” with “autistic, disabled, chronic pain, PTSD and
depression representation.” Penelope Friday, a writer who sometimes uses a wheelchair due to ME,
is also worth a read. Her writings are often inspired by her own experiences, and in a recent
interview she did with Scope, she stated that “[I’m] treated like two different people depending on
whether I’m in my wheelchair or not.”

Tip 2: Disability, Visual Arts and Alternative Porn

If you’re wanting to watch something to get your juices flowing, there’s now several disabled
performers who are doing their utmost to ensure that inclusive porn and sex work gets the attention
and recognition it deserves. Just one example of these people for you to check out is performer
Daniel James, who has cerebral palsy, and told Queerty that “People develop this screwed up notion
in their mind that all individuals with disabilities are physically incapable of sex… Sex when you’re
disabled all comes down to the technique and thinking of ingenious ways to use the surroundings to
your advantage.”

These are just a few examples of the inclusive, sexy options that are out there to be enjoyed by both
disabled and non-disabled people. For more, continue reading this great article that taught us a lot,
too!

If you have any works that you’d like others to know about, please do get in touch with us! We’d be
happy to share them. Until then, enjoy these ��

My Pregnancy and labour – Joy Addo

By | Disability, Lifestyle, My story

I found I was pregnant at work one afternoon and to say I was shocked would be an understatement. I remember it like it was yesterday, the fear and shock that I felt was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I asked my  friend Lauren to take a walk to the pharmacy with me that day, I told her my period was late and just wanted to rule out pregnancy, so being the friend she is she said sure of course. When we got back to the office I remember telling her to go and continue working and I did the test on my own I’m the toilet. 

When I looked at the test I saw 2 lines, so I panicked and honestly thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. In fact I genuinely hoped that they were. I honestly cleaned my glasses a few times a kept looking back at the test but it wasn’t changing. I called Lauren and asked her come have a look as her vision is better than mine. She looked at the test and started nervous laughing, she confirmed it was 2 lines and I was like “Lauren this is not funny” 

When my manager got back from I went into her office and broke down in tears. I showed her the test and she let me go home. 

It was about week later when I starting feeling really sick and of course I assumed it was morning sickness, but for some reason I felt absolutely awful. I had seen programmes on pregnant woman before but I never saw or heard of anyone feeling as bad as I did with morning sickness. 

I finally got diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which is extreme vomiting and sickness during pregnancy. I felt so weak while I was pregnant and I had to be admitted to hospital about 4-5 times because I was dehydrated.

To be honest I did not enjoy pregnancy at all I had never felt so weak on all my life. 

Having my 20 week scan and finding out I was expecting a girl really made a difference to me. I finally was able to get excited and imagine a mini me! (Which she definitely is) 

My labour was very quick, I wasn’t sure if I was having contractions at first and the hospital said to stay at home for as long as possible, so did. 

As they started to progress I was on my bedroom floor grunting and panting for my life. Not to mention I was actually doing several squats, which my body was not made to do at all! 

My mum called a cab and we made our way to the hospital. However as we turned into  the road of  the hospital my waters broke in the back of the mini cab. 

When my mum got out and went into reception to get help, the cab driver came to open the door for me and as I stood up I could feel my baby was literally coming so I laid back in cab and pushed. By the time my mum came back out she saw her grand daughter being held up by my knickers and the cab driver was lost for words. 

Everyone around me was panicking but I had heard my baby make a little cry and her hand grabbed my finger so I knew she was fine. 

They rushed us into to labour ward and apologised for making me stay at home for so long. But everything was fine, my daughter was born I didn’t need any form of after care not even a stitch so I was happy and we went home the very next day. 

About 2 weeks after Janelle was born I had a knock on the door from Tarick the cab driver. He came to her and asked me if she wanted to buy his car when she’s older as it was her birth place! 

 

A new born baby in a hospital crib

Janelle, just after being born

Love Lounge Top Tips – Managing frustration

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

With a new, or even an existing, partner, it can take some time to find a sexual ‘niche’ – where you both feel like you really fit and are giving and receiving pleasure in a way that suits you best.  Of course, for those of us with impairments, finding that groove and really feeling comfortable and confident in bed can sometimes feel like it’s taking even longer. Managing the frustration of this can turn out to be one of the best things you’ll ever learn in a relationship, because when frustration takes over, we often fail to communicate effectively at all.

Tip 1: Voice sooner rather than later.

If something isn’t feeling right sexually or romantically to you, whether it’s to do with your partner’s kissing technique, or their ability to get you off, it’s best to voice things sooner rather than later (bottling up feelings and frustrations so often only ends in negativity).  By voicing something, you don’t need to be unkind or start an argument; you might start by trying to guide your partner in a more effective way, or showing them exactly how you like to be touched by showing them yourself and asking them to watch. In fact, guiding and educating a lover can be a really sexy and fulfilling thing to do, and perhaps we need to stop viewing it as such a bad thing when a significant other doesn’t please us in the way we expect immediately.

Tip 2: Be open to education yourself.

As keen as you might be to school your partner in pleasure, be prepared to be educated yourself, and remember to keep asking if what you’re doing suits your significant other and what they’re into.  We often forget, as we get comfortable in relationships, that our preferences, fetishes and interests can change when it comes to sex.  A sex life that’s full of communication, understanding and an ability to be open and honest will always be a good one.

Tip 3:  Still frustrated? Shake it up!

If you’re still struggling to find a common love language between the two of you in the bedroom, why not mix things up, lose your inhibitions and try something totally new? If dressing up and role playing often makes you cringe, why not reset your sexual meter and just have a go? Failing to communicate and deliver sexually is often all in the mind rather than the body, and you or your partner might be lacking confidence, be stuck in a rut or have had a particularly stressful few months – and these are all things that stepping out of your comfort zone together, in a safe and strong manner with no judgement attached, can help with.

Sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and, although a bit of frustration can be healthy and leave you wanting more, it shouldn’t be making you want to leave.  We hope these tips help and, should you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with us.

 

Love Lounge Top Tips – Moving in

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

Picture the scene… the honeymoon period may technically be over in your relationship, but everything is still going swimmingly.  You’ve got through those awkward first dates and cringeworthy double-texting, and you still love being around each other.  You’ve met their relatives, they’ve met yours, and there’s even been the odd item of clothing or toothbrush left at each other’s places.  You decide it’s about time to have that first serious conversation – should you move in together?

Tip 1: Avoid assumptions and expectations

No doubt all of us have done this at some stage – got really excited and passionate about the possibility of something happening, only to be bitterly disappointed when someone doesn’t feel exactly the same way.  It’s no different with this conversation; try your best (where possible!) to start the conversation without judgement, assumption or expectations. Then you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment, your partner doesn’t feel a pressure to agree with your way of thinking and you can rest assured that you are getting their honest opinion on the matter.  If that opinion is the same as yours, perfect! If not, calmly ask them to explain how they’re feeling and work through the difference together in a positive and progressive way.

Tip 2: Accessible planning!

If you do agree to take the leap and move in together, fantastic! If one or both of you has a physical or sensory impairment, this may well be where the need for planning kicks in. Will you require a step free home, a larger bathroom to cater for personal aids, or even a dedicated space and garden for your guide dog to lounge and play? Often, it’s not just about the home itself, either; many disabled people would prefer to live near accessible bus stops or train stations, and nearby supermarkets or pharmacies can be particularly helpful if there is ever an emergency.  Once you do start planning, don’t be shy in asking for support with moving.  Call or email your local estate agents and see if they have any suitable properties to match your criteria, put your name on waiting lists with housing associations (many of whom have specific accessible housing available) and ask friends and family to help, too! This stage of moving in together can be stressful (and might even put a bit of strain on your relationship every now and again!) But the result is more than worth it.

Tip 3:  Enjoy all the good bits.

Once you’ve found the perfect place and moved in, it’s time to get on with all the more enjoyable parts of the process.  If you’re a Pinterest or Instagram fan, there’s nothing quite like searching for the perfect paint colour or most kooky furniture, and we’re sure we don’t need to even mention the joy of being able to have sex whenever you want, and wherever you want it..! Don’t forget to congratulate yourselves on taking the next step in your relationship, and we’re sure our invite to the house warming will be in the post soon 😉

 

Love Lounge Top Tips – Feeling Broody?

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge

For many people, becoming a parent and having children someday is absolute #lifegoals, but it would be difficult for anyone to dispute that it is a BIG decision, not least for those of us who are disabled.  If you’re feeling broody, that’s not to say that it’s not possible to be a brilliant disabled mum or dad, but there might possibly be a few extra things to consider on your journey to becoming one.  If you see kids in your future, but don’t quite know where to start, this one is for you.

Tip 1: Have the conversation

First things first, if you are currently with a partner, do they feel the same way about having children? As scary as it may seem, having the conversation and knowing that you are both on the same wavelength, or have similar timelines in mind when it comes to parenting, can be really helpful and productive for both of you.  And it’s totally fine if you’re not ready, or the person you’re with isn’t, as long as you are both honest with each other and never make promises that you don’t have an intention of keeping.

Tip 2: Plan as well as you can

Let’s face it, parenting takes a lot of planning, and this is most definitely the case for us disabled people.  If you are a wheelchair user, you might want to think about how you are going to get your baby, a pram and your chair in the car, if your energy levels can get considerably low, it might be worth considering whether or not you will express milk and bottle feed your baby at night time, so your partner and you can share feeding responsibilities.  Find certain positions difficult and painful? You might want to make sure this information goes into your birth plan.  These are just a few examples, and there are plenty of things to think about, but just remember, whatever works for you is the best and correct decision, regardless of what anyone else around you is doing or suggesting.  There is never a perfect time to have a baby, but it is possible to plan and make it the best time for you.

Tip 3:  Hack your way through parenting life

When the baby does arrive, enjoy parenthood! It might be worth becoming a bit of a parenting engineer, too, and hacking your way through the first few months.  Perhaps picking your son or daughter out of their cot becomes tiring and tough, and you might find a way that’s much easier on your body by creating a side door on the cot, for example.  Maybe body slings will work much better for you than a bulky pram, or perhaps you’ll come up with an innovative way to be alerted to your baby’s cries at night if you are hard of hearing.  Whatever ends up working for you and your child, please share the information with the communities around you, on or offline.  There is sadly still a taboo and fear around disabled parenting, with many people being desperate to be a mum or dad, but worrying quite how they will manage or whether they will be good enough.  Knowledge is power, as they say, and let’s remember that sharing a hacking success might empower someone else to take the beautiful leap to becoming a disabled parent.

 

Myth busters – Tinnitus

By | Disability, Emily Yates

Can you hear ringing, buzzing, hissing or even a whistling sound when others can’t? You may have tinnitus, a widely misunderstood (and very common) condition that affects around 20%, or 1 in 5, of us. Tinnitus can affect you regardless of your age and experience, and several factors can cause it, including exposure to loud sounds, hearing loss due to aging and even problems with circulation.  Tinnitus can be inconvenient to some and extremely painful and even scary to others, but there are things that can be done to manage, and even improve it in some circumstances.  Below are some of the most common myths relating to tinnitus – but don’t take our word for it; it’s vital that you book in to see an audiologist or health professional as soon as possible and get checked out.  Not only can they properly diagnose your symptoms as tinnitus, they can also give you hints, tips and methods to handle it on a regular basis.

It’s never helpful when myths around certain medical conditions mask the facts.  We hope this myth busting guide on tinnitus will give you the knowledge and confidence to live your life to its greatest potential, regardless of what obstacles may appear along the way.

 

Myth 1: Your Tinnitus Will Only Get Worse

False! Don’t believe it! Symptoms of tinnitus can swap and change, just like our moods or routine can.  What you don’t often hear is that tinnitus symptoms can actually improve over time (and that can largely be down to those who have the condition learning how their body reacts to it, and changing certain routines or activities to mitigate as many negative variables as possible).  If you feel that your tinnitus is changing or worsening at any point, do go and get checked out by a professional.  Stress at work, tiredness and even too much earwax build-up can all be factors!

 

Myth 2: If You Have Tinnitus, You Will Lose Your Hearing

Plain and simple: tinnitus does not cause hearing loss. This misconception is one that is banded around a lot, and it really isn’t helpful to many people living with the condition.  Instead, it’s useful to think of tinnitus as a symptom, or effect, of another issue, like prolonged noise exposure, for example.  That’s not to say that tinnitus can’t create some negative outcomes; it can. Tinnitus can make it difficult to concentrate on a task that really requires your attention, and even get to sleep at times.  And what can tiredness, stress and anxiety do? Yep, you guessed it! Make your tinnitus worse (sorry to be the bearer of bad news…)

If you have tinnitus and are having trouble sleeping, it might be worth making a mental note of the food and drink you consume before bed that might not help this.  Too much caffeine, cheese or chocolate, whilst not being medically proven to worsen tinnitus, can sometimes affect your sleeping pattern, so these things might be best avoided when you are going through a particularly stressful time or feeling especially tired.  Don’t do anything too drastic immediately though if you are a committed coffee drinker; a study by Deafness Research UK revealed that suddenly cutting caffeine can actually worsen symptoms.

 

Myth 3: Tinnitus Is A ‘Lost Cause’

We often hear of people being told that there is nothing that can be done to help manage or improve their tinnitus, and they simply have to get on with it, regardless of how many issues it is causing.  Whilst it is true that a cure for tinnitus doesn’t yet exist, it equally isn’t a totally lost cause.  First things first, go and see a professional to discuss exactly how your tinnitus affects you and how it has changed over time, and then have an online browse of a couple of options that might just help you out. For example, noise machines have been created to ensure that you are listening to pleasant, gentle sounds like rain drops or waterfalls instead of your own tinnitus as you fall asleep (and they might even help you in falling asleep faster!) If a noise machine works for you, you might also consider wearing a tinnitus masker.  This sits in a similar way to a hearing aid, and ensures that those welcome sounds can become portable, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing.  Some people also find keeping a food diary helpful.  Some food and drink has been known to aggravate tinnitus, so perhaps keep one for yourself in order to manage yours.  Last but not least, don’t underestimate the emotional impact that a condition like tinnitus can have: meditation may help you in navigating any stress or anxiety caused by your tinnitus – give it a try, and good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Love Lounge Top Tips – Taking the next step

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

Whether we’re going on a first date, sleeping together for the first time, proposing, getting married or having children, we can often feel a distinct amount of pressure when it comes to taking the next big steps in our relationships, and the amount of pressure is definitely no less for disabled people! Whether you’ve got to plan ahead for an accessible date, discuss painless sexual positions with your partner, or think about the practicalities of becoming a disabled parent, there’s undoubtedly plenty to consider! Here are our top tips for taking those next steps – good luck, and enjoy!

Tip 1: Ensure you are comfortable

This first tip might sound a little obvious, but peer pressure and societal pressure play a big part in the direction that many of us take our relationships in, and the speed in which we develop them.  Whatever you do, don’t take a leap into commitment because that’s what all your friends are doing, because you’re at the age where you ‘should’ be doing these things, or because a family member has told you to hold on to the non-disabled ‘saint’ your partner is often viewed as.  There is no right or wrong way to move through a relationship, and certainly no right or wrong time to do it.  As long as you feel utterly comfortable and confident in your decisions, you will know that you are doing the right thing for you.

Tip 2: Research your Support Network

If you still live in the same town as your supportive parents and long-term friends, that’s brilliant; you might have all the support network you need.  But, for a lot of disabled people wanting to live independently or have children, a bit of extra support has got to be found, especially if you live somewhere different to where you grew up. If you think you might require personal care when living alone, or the help of a nanny or child minder when you take the next step of having children, make sure you do your research and are happy with the choices you find.  There is no shame at all in asking for help, especially when that help is going to ensure your own safety and care!

Tip 3:  Don’t get so caught up in planning that you don’t enjoy the ride.

As disabled people, most of us are real planners.  Let’s face it, we’ve had to be from a young age, and everything from driving to going on holiday and getting work has taken extended time and effort.  When it comes to making big decisions in your relationship, though, make sure that you save some time to enjoy yourself, too! Planning an accessible wedding or an amazingly romantic weekend away is great, but is it really any fun if you spend all your time worrying rather than marvelling in the next step that you and your partner have taken together? Remember, all the best journeys are ones that you can look back on with love for every single step.

Love Lounge Top Tips – Accessible sex positions

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

 

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!)

 

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