Guest blog: Disabled people have kinky sex – who’d have thought it?

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

This week’s guest blog is one I’ve been waiting to post for a while, so I hope it gives you something to think about. Writing a pretty personal sex blog means I end up focusing heavily on my own experience. If I’m challenging any assumptions, they’ll (usually) be ones that affect my life: the myth that men want sex and women want money, the idea that feminism is shit for men, the body myths about what exactly counts as ‘attractive’, etc. But we’re loaded down with a million more assumptions when it comes to sex, and I lack the personal experience to blog about them with anything other than an angry detachment. These things piss me off, but someone who has been directly affected by this bullshit is far better placed to explain why than I am.

So please welcome Richard. He’s an author, sick of the assumptions that people make about disabled people, who has written a novel that explores capabilities and societal limits, starring a disabled serial killer as the anti-hero. You can read extracts from the novel over on his Goodreads blog, or buy it from Amazon, and in the meantime check out his guest blog, and please don’t be surprised that disabled people have kinky sex too…

 

Disabled people have kinky sex: who’d have thought it?

I had blindfolded her and tied her to the bed frame. It had been an awkard enterprise tying her up. It’s more difficult than you might imagine restraining a full-grown woman and blindfolding her with her own stockings. Not because she was resisting, if that’s what you were thinking? In fact, the difficulty was all mine, not hers, she was an enthusiastic submissive.

The problem was caused by the fact that I’m a “crip” (that’s disabled person to you “non-crips”) and tying all those complicated knots and stuff with only one arm is difficult and annoying. To be honest bondage is not in my top 10 sexual activities, probably because of this.  But my lover was extremely keen on restraint and on all kinds of submissive activities. She loved being told what to do, what the rules were. It made her feel like she had a purpose and removed the mental chaos she felt if she had to work out what to do in sexual situations. She was also disabled. She was very high functioning ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). She was a genius but had severe problems with social interaction. We had amazing sex.  She’d taught herself to orgasm at will. Lucky woman, you’re thinking.  Unfortunately that story has an unhappy ending.

So there you are; two different types of “crip” having kinky sex. Fuck me, who’d a thunk it?

The misconceptions most people have about the disabled led me to write a novel called Pavement about a disabled serial killer. He also has sex – with a non-disabled woman who likes him.  I’m interested in the limits society places around what “they” decide disabled people are capable of and if we exceed those limits, we are immediately placed in the “brave and inspirational” category of “crip”. This makes me mad and sad.  So I wrote a novel and I chose to have an anti-hero, someone with mental and physical problems, placed him at the bottom of societies pile (where so many disabled people reside) and then get him to take on that society and he does. It’s dark and funny and gruesome. I wrote it to try and make people think about the world and those of us who don’t fit in, who aren’t allowed to fit in.

I observe our society has an unfortunate default attitude to disabled people. They are “lesser”, a bit stupid, and in of need pity. The idea that they could have active and rewarding sex lives is not addressed, it’s somehow thought of as wrong. There is, however, relief ahead. Some residential homes for severely disabled people are now facilitating residents to access sex workers if so desired. It’s a controversial policy and the rules are odd. A care worker cannot call the sex worker direct but can dial the number and then the “crip” has to make the arrangements himself (and it is mainly men using the services). That’s fine, except if you can’t talk…

I have met several sex workers that work almost exclusively with disabled clients and they find it rewarding work; not only in a financial sense but in an emotional one as well. Ultimately, it would be most helpful if disabled people could find rewarding and attachment based relationships that included healthy sex. But then that’s not exclusive to the disabled. Everyone could benefit from one of those elusive prizes.

The disabled would like (yes, I speak for them all…) to feel they are included in society and that it’s okay for them to have sexual needs and desires of their own. Oh, it’s OK for non-disabled men to be devotees – that’s what non-disabled followers of amputees are called – they get their jollies from sexual interaction or fantasy with amputees and, again are mainly male. We can be objects or subjects but not, it would seem, participants in the sexual game. Disabled people have often been denied sexual happiness and expression and although attitudes are changing, there’s still a long way to go.

Blog posts are by their very nature short and so I can’t delve too far into the murky waters of sex and disability but I hope I to give you pause for thought. Oh, and what happened with my beautiful and brilliant autistic lover? She was unable to cope with the complete lack of support society provided for her and after a long struggle to “fit in” and with no warning whatsoever, she committed suicide.

My lover’s heartbreaking death illustrates that navigating life is difficult, sometimes insolvably so, and with a disability, visible or otherwise it’s even harder. Disability, like skin colour and gender, is not something you choose. It’s thrust upon us and the last thing we need is to be reviled, laughed at or to feel we can’t have an independent life and sexuality. The current trend is to demonise the disabled as somehow worthless and as a burden rather than as people that can make unique and productive contribution to society – so naturally the last thing they should do is have sex because then they might reproduce and then heaven help the rest of you.

So next time you see a “crip” try and imagine them fucking…Wait…No, not like that.

15 Comments

  • As a military spouse who supports Wounded Warrior and Challenged Athletes, I find myself not at all deterred by the disability, many of the men a fantasy of mine as I go about the events. But then again, I am surrounded by bodies in motion and pushing limits, and that is hot to me.
    And I’m quite aware of how kinky some of these people can be.
    I’m sorry to hear about your lover. And I applaud you giving her the fantasy she craved of bondage; my husband loves to tie, and I’m sure he’d find ways if he lost a limb (sadly, it’s a conversation that we have often as his job puts him more at risk), but the learning curve and frustration would be quite a challenge.

  • RB says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your lover’s death; that’s absolutely awful, and it’s fucking horrendous that she couldn’t get the support that she needed. As far as the world’s come with disability awareness, it still has so far to go.

    This was a great, powerful piece. Thank you. x

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your lover.

    Both my husband and I are also “crips” and enjoy a kinky sex life. Not everything is possible, but we’ve learned to be creative.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “We’ve learned to be creative” – there is such a world of possibility encompassed in those five words =)

      • Desire on wheels says:

        Yep. Tramadol (synthetic opioid painkiller) -> can’t come -> finally got up the nerve to use a vibrator in partnered sex -> ooh, fun!

  • FarmerDan says:

    As a very naive young man I briefly shared a house with a guy whose left arm ended at the wrist due to a birth defect.

    At the time I could never work out why girls were drawn to him like bees to honey whenever his stump emerged from his sleeve ..

    (there’s a new tag for you, GOTN: ‘wristing’)

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi there. I’m a bit gutted by your comment, to be honest. Did you see this bit in the piece?

      “Oh, it’s OK for non-disabled men to be devotees – that’s what non-disabled followers of amputees are called – they get their jollies from sexual interaction or fantasy with amputees and, again are mainly male. We can be objects or subjects but not, it would seem, participants in the sexual game. ”

      I sort of assumed that wouldn’t lead to any comments that reduced people with disabilities to simple objects of fetishisation. Sure, some people do have specific fantasies and fetishes, although in this case I doubt all these women were simply drawn to this guy because of sexual possibilities. Perhaps he was a hot bloke. Maybe I’m overreacting, and I certainly can’t speak for the author of the blog, but I feel like your comment missed the point by about a thousand miles.

  • Tigrez says:

    I think I’m in the same position (no pun intended) as Stephanie.
    I’ve found I’ve been increasingly kinky with my husband as our disabilities have worsened; it’s like we get more creative to make up for the things we can no longer manage.

    • Stephanie says:

      My disabilities are for the most part, static (i.e. cerebral palsy doesn’t worsen or get better), but certain symptoms like muscle or joint stiffness can easily change from day to day, so that’s where the creativity comes in. One position on one day might not work on another night. My husband has fibromyalgia, which can often limit his ability to participate actively, so me fellating him with him finger-fucking me (69 with lots of pillows) is something we can both really enjoy without risking a flare on his part. Sometimes, during the throes, we may have to stop suddenly due to him suddenly getting a pain spike (not necessarily anything I did, because fibro pain is THAT weird; it can come from nowhere). At those times, we’ve turned it into a joke, one or the other of us saying, “Uh-oh – sex injury!”. *groan, groan*

      Cuddling is also a GREAT pain reliever!

  • Stephanie says:

    Have you all heard of or read “The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability” by Miriam Silverberg, et al? Really indispensable, and although not by any means the be-all, end-all to sex and disability info and education, I found it liberating and reassuring.

  • DD says:

    I wanted to write and address two points of misinformation in this blog post:

    1) Devotées are far from exclusively male or exclusively attracted to amputation. I know, because I am a female devotée, and I am attacted to all sorts of men, with disabilities ranging from blindness to SCIs to congenital issues. In fact, I’m part of a vibrant online community for female and gay male devotées, which celebrates disabled men of all stripes. And lest you assume the site is a place of rampant objectification, I should add that we have a large and very (happily) vocal contingent of disabled men on the site, too. Believe me when I tell you, these are smart, savvy, successful disabled men who know all about devoteeism…and love it. :) The site has, in fact, spawned innumerable long-term relationships and not a few happy marriages.

    2) I’m also a bit bothered by your response to Farmer Dan above: Why isn’t it acceptable to find an amputated stump beautiful? I challenge you to dig into that thought, as I suspect you will find entrenched ableism beneath (and yes, disabled people can be ableists, too). The fact is, all the “devs” I associate with have been fascinated since childhood with all manner of difference. To say that we *must not* love the look of a stump, or a wheelchair, or a white cane…is to say those things are not–cannot be–beautiful. And we would disagree. Besides, how is it all that different from preferring men who wear glasses? Or who have red hair? Or big muscles? Is that objectificsrion? Fetishization? If it is, 99% of humans (excluding the self-identified asexual) are guilty.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I think you’ve misunderstood my comment. I don’t think it’s ‘unacceptable’ to find an amputated stump beautiful, nor am I going to tell you who you should fancy and what particular qualities about someone you should find hot.

      “To say that we *must not* love the look of a stump, or a wheelchair…”

      I have not said that, and I wouldn’t, because it would be ridiculous. What I object to is reducing people with disabilities to simple sexual objects based on a fetish. There’s a difference between fetishising something and finding it incredibly hot and reducing people who have that quality to purely sexual objects, attractive because *and only because* of that particular characteristic. Same goes for e.g. muscles, glasses and the other things you mentioned.

      My issue with Farmer Dan’s comment is that, in direct response to an article in which the author had highlighted this problem, he told an anecdote in which he assumed that this one particular guy was attractive to women because *and only because* he had an objectifiable physical characteristic. We fancy people for millions of different reasons, but the difference between having a particular desire and offensively objectifying is in whether and how you acknowledge and celebrate the person’s sexual agency, other characteristics, etc. Which I think is pretty much what you’re getting at, and why I don’t understand why you don’t get my original comment.

      Re: your point 1 – I don’t want to speak for the author, but I don’t think he said that devotees are exclusively male. He said ‘mainly.’

  • Desire on wheels says:

    Hooray for this post. I’m disabled and very much interested in how disability and sexuality interact. The last paragraph reminds me of the dirty looks you’ll get snogging someone in public if you also have a mobility aid. “Good God, I hope they’re not planning to breed.

    I’m pretty much vanilla, although at the level whee I’m starting to wonder exactly what counts as kinky. Pain is something unpleasant that I try to get rid of, for instance, not something I can personally imagine wanting for recreational purposes. But I have friends who are both disabled and thoroughly kinky, and I hear that some people actually find a good flogging helps with fibro pain. Endorphins and such.

  • Hannah says:

    One of my partners had MS. He was a good friend and approached me saying he’d been watching a fair bit of porn, and he asked if I would be willing to try and replicate some of the acts in the videos, but obviously modified to suit what he and I could do. It felt no different to any of my partners asking me to explore something with them, which I happily do with a few of my friends. It was a really enjoyable experience for us both, and at times we couldn’t stop laughing at the things we were attempting, and how ridiculous it must have looked from the outside as I’m wheeling him around in his chair in a pair of heels and not much else. But we found we could do most things in our own way, and some things we weren’t expecting!

  • Mrs TeePot says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.
    I loved this post so much that I wanted to leave a comment, and now I’m not sure what to say!
    There seems to be a lot of “awww that’s so lovely/cute, I’m so glad they found someone” around disabled people finding love, but people are mortified if it’s implied or mentioned that they’re having sex, let alone have a healthy sex life.
    There are so many weird societal rules & regulations around what is ‘acceptable’ for disabled people to do. Baffling.

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