Sex and Disability: A Peek Inside The Bedroom

Sex and Disability: A Peek Inside The Bedroom

I am disabled. I know. I don’t look disabled, right? In some comparatively small ways, my disability affects my sex life and masturbation.

I have a severe high frequency hearing loss, making me deaf but not Deaf. The problems caused by my deafness in life are small and fairly easy to overcome or circumvent, therefore I don’t really class myself as disabled. I can do everything that a fully abled person is able to do. I can work, I can move around, I can raise my children and I could even drive – if I ever got round to learning.

Sex and disability a peek inside the bedroom

I asked people their thoughts on sex and disability (including invisible illnesses), on a personal level. After all, everyone deserves a happy, fulfilling sex life and/or relationship (#SexNotStigma) if that’s what a person wants in life. Here’s the honest answers they gave.

Quick Menu

ADD/ADHD – Sex With Rose

Amniotic Band Syndrome – Sarah from Marvelous Darling

Chronic Pain & Anorgasmia

Cystic Fibrosis (Anon)

EDS – Minxy Mischief

Epilepsy – Kelly Lockyear

ME and CFS with Edn

ME and CFS (Anon)

ME and CFS (Anon)

Mental Health Issues – Deviant Kitten

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones) (Anon)

Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis – Constance Reid

Severe Anxiety Disorder – Eliza93Marie

‘Sex With Rose’ on ADD/ADHD

sex and disability sex with roseWhat disability do you have?

I have ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, also better known as the non hyper variant of ADHD. This is a mental/neurological disorder and with me it also caused depression and other side effects. The problem with it is that you can’t see straight up if a person has it and sadly, the smarter you are, it’s less likely it’s spotted because you develop tricks to mask the effects. I felt that something was off, so I went to the doctor myself to find out what it was. For me, my ADD means I’m more sensitive to input (especially busy surroundings), it’s hard to focus on anything, I have to use tricks to help me stay on track with day to day chores and I’m quite sensitive at times.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

My ADD affects my sex life in a way that it’s hard for me to focus on anything that’s happening sex wise. So yes, for instance receiving oral is quite boring for me and really kills my sexy mood. Any kind of sexy mood is very easily to kill if I get distracted. During sex it’s the same thing, at some point I will get bored with it and start thinking about other things. Grocery lists, things to do, if I put off the heat, anything can pop up in my head. This also means for me that so far, I’ve never been able to come during sex. So far I just managed with masturbation, with the help of something sexy to read to focus on. Because of this, sex definitely is less interesting to me.

Which sex positions or ways of masturbating are the best for you?

Alone, sadly, works the best. While focussing on something like a story to keep my head with it.

If you have a sexual partner(s), how do they feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times with them? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship(s)?

I’ve often told people about my inability to come during sex and a lot of the times it’s perceived as a challenge. Obviously, this is less fun and I’m definitely bored more quickly. For my partners it can be tricky because once I’m out of the mood, it’s hard to keep it going. So therefore it’s usually done right when the mood is gone. That or I endure a little bit more just to get it over with. It can be frustrating at times for my partner but I don’t make a secret out of it that sex can be boring for me.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

Don’t try to be someone you’re not. It’s okay to not be able to do some things or do things differently. Try and accept that part of you and be glad for the things you do have and enjoy.

Sarah from Marvelous Darling on Amniotic Band Syndrome

sex and disability marvy darlingWhat disability do you have?

I have Amniotic Band Syndrome, which affected my left foot. Basically, while I was a fetus, my left foot got kind of compacted and had cut off circulation. As a result, my left foot is half the size of my right. This only slightly affects my day-to-day movements (I cannot run, but I can walk just fine). More so, it affects my comfort with my body, and has been something to navigate with sexual partners. Plainly put, it’s not attractive at all.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

Directly, my disability has no effect on sex or masturbation. Indirectly, it’s a different story. I still struggle with feeling less feminine because I don’t have pretty feet. It sounds silly when you consider that there are other people with bigger struggles, but it’s definitely something I’ve had to get over. I used to be very nervous to take off my shoes in front of sexual partners. At a certain point, though, I decided that if they were very uncomfortable with it, it just wasn’t going to work. After all, there are another 6 billion people out there. If my foot bothers you, I’m sure you can fuck someone else.

Are there any sex positions or ways of masturbating which are impossible for you due to your disability? Or perhaps some which are just very uncomfortable, positions that others may take for granted?

Because I’m unable to get up onto my tip-toes, and because I’m 4’11” (150cm), a lot of positions that require standing on my part simply don’t work. Almost every partner I’ve had has been more than a foot taller than I. Because my toes on the left foot don’t work, my grip in slippery situations is lessened – shower sex is a no-go.

Which sex positions or ways of masturbating are the best for you?

My partner doesn’t mind seeing my feet during sex, so any position that doesn’t involve standing works well for us. He’s even used them to steady himself in a modified missionary position.

How does your partner feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship?

My partner isn’t bothered by my disability and has always just accepted it as a fact. He actually has the perfect attitude: If he could fix it for me, he would, but he accepts that it’s just a part of me. I’ve had people say before that they “sort of like it”, and frankly, that’s insulting. I don’t like it. If I could have normal feet, I would, in a heartbeat. Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t wear nice shoes, so I get anxious about not looking nice enough when we go out, and then I face an anxiety spiral. My partner is very calming in those situations, though he doesn’t quite understand.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

Look for someone who accepts you, but doesn’t fetishize you.

Nobilis on Chronic Pain & Anorgasmia

My wife’s disability has affected our sex life for a long time, rather a bit the way global climate change affects small Pacific islands… gradually drowning it.

It all started with a botched gastric bypass that led to a corrective surgery, resulting in a MRSA infection that had to be treated with a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic. The antibiotic damaged her endocrine system, resulting in a number of metabolic disorders. Along the way, her fibromyalgia and migraines got worse. She is now able to be up and about, on average, perhaps two or three hours a day.

The chronic pain is the worst part. Between migraines, fibro, and various other problems, she’s in pain much of the time. And unlike some people, sex doesn’t help her in any way. She has become anorgasmic and has very little sexual desire.  What’s worse, the “fibro fog” effects on her cognitive abilities have left her with difficulties processing strong emotions, so the feelings that would result from allowing me to seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere would be just as painful as her medical conditions. I’m a terrible liar, so even cheating is out of the question.

So I’m left, at least in physical terms, celibate.

But you know what they say… your biggest sex organ is your brain. My sexless real life has led to a rich imaginary life, full of encounters with a wide variety of partners in a wide variety of settings. I can explore a thousand kinks that would be impossible or at least highly unlikely in the real world. If there’s a silver lining to this particular cloud, it’s the richness I think this life has brought to my erotica writing. My writing partner is constantly amazed by the freaky stuff I think up.

Anonymous on Cystic Fibrosis

I have cystic fibrosis. It is genetic, affects lung capacity and has an adverse effect on joints. I have to go to the hospital for regular 2 week admissions for IV antibiotics and intense physio treatment to clear my chest.

At best, my lung capacity is 50% which means I don’t have much stamina at all. When I am ill, I find even simple sexual positions tiring. Thankfully this doesn’t affect masturbation too much, but sometimes even this is an effort and can bring on a coughing fit.

Somewhat luckily I have only had one sexual partner and I’m still with her. She is very active in the bedroom and loves to be in charge. When we got together at 16 I wasn’t as ill as I am now, so was able to do a lot more. I could also last longer during sex. These days it helps me a lot that she likes the cowgirl sex position, which means she takes full control, doing most of the movement.

die cast doxy wand vibrator cara sutra review-9When I’m really ill we tend to spoon (which unfortunately she finds quite boring) and I can’t always reach climax when we do have sex. She used to use bullet vibrators to reach orgasm in the past until she discovered the Doxy Wand Vibrator which always does the job without fail. The only struggle I have, is that I wish I was able to have sex in more positions like I used to when I was younger. It really upsets me that I can rarely have sex in doggy or missionary position as I get too tired. My partner also likes oral sex and face sitting which I quite enjoy. She finds it very empowering but we do have to be careful as I can get dangerously breathless. We make sure we have set signals and safewords in place.

In terms of how accepting my partner is with my disability: she’s amazing and always has been. She always finds ways around my illness, to keep things exciting and new. In the bedroom she’s always spicing things up. We’ve been together 6 years and in a long term relationship such as this I think it’s always good to find out and try new things – even more so if it makes me (due to my illness) more comfortable and relaxed.

Even when I feel relatively well, I always have a coughing fit after sex, every time like clockwork. I guess in that way sex is very good for chest clearance!
My advice to other people with the same disability would be to make sure you are comfortable with your partner. Try and relax as much as possible and don’t be so self conscious (took me a lot of time to not worry about the coughing during or after sex) and also try and stay as fit as possible. Be willing to compromise and accept there’s some things you won’t be able to do. Invest in some sex toys for your partner as they need to be sexually satisfied despite your illness.

Another note to anyone with cystic fibrosis who has to have IVs in hospital for longer than a week or two (some people I know go in for much longer without a break): don’t be afraid to have sex in the toilets or sneak out for a couple of hours if you can. It’s extremely hot and exciting! Just don’t get caught in the bathroom (yes this has happened before, I had to pretend I was running a bath!). Another tip would be that all people with cystic fibrosis need to be kept in a room which has direct and easy access to their own private bathroom.

Minxy Mischief on EDS

Fantasy By Cara Sutra Beginners Bondage Kit Review Pleasure Panel-4I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, hypermobility type. I’m 38. Also, May is EDS awareness month. It is a genetic condition, a collagen defect causing dislocations/subluxations, it affects skin, veins, organs and cartilage. 80% of the body is made up of the protein collagen. Having a genetic, multi systemic condition also affects your mental health so depression does play a big part too.

All my joints are affected, my hips and shoulders are the worst offenders causing me the most pain mostly due to dislocations/subluxations but I do get pain in my other joints. If I put my jaw out eating then oral might be off the cards or if my wrists or shoulders are causing a lot of pain then sexual contact (me to him) might not be possible. Thankfully I have a very understanding partner. We take each day as it comes and every day is different. A great position for us is on our sides, him behind me as it is easiest on the majority of my joints. If it is a day when my body really isn’t up to it and he is then I do encourage him to masturbate if he is in the mood. I like to watch! He may want to feel my breasts or see me naked while he masturbates, I can still be involved to an extent if I want to. When it comes to me masturbating it really depends again on how my joints are, my wand comes in very handy! It can be very frustrating, I might be midway and I have to stop because of pain or just because my arms don’t have it in them to finish. I find that mixing up positions, be it masturbating or sex is a must for me, it also helps to keep things fresh and I think we might be more open to trying new things because of my EDS, find our own way of doing things. I think it does bring us closer because we are so open, we aren’t afraid to talk about sex or say if something isn’t working. We also have to be careful with somethings, like if things do get a bit rough because I do bruise easily, I’m used to the bruising but explaining it isn’t always easy!

Advice I would give others with EDS. Be open to trying different things, positions ect. You might be surprised what works! Use toys to help and keep things interesting and encourage your partner to masturbate if you aren’t up to having sex. Be open and honest about things. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to stop or if you aren’t up to it, there are plenty ways to show affection. Cuddles and massage are 2 just off the top of my head. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have full sex every time.

Kelly Lockyear on Epilepsy

sex and disability kelly lockyearWhat disability do you have?

I have epilepsy. It is a hidden mental illness.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

On the whole I am unaffected by my illness when it comes to sex and masturbation. There are certain toys that I cannot use due to it though. I cannot take part in any form of electro play as this can trigger seizures.

Are there any sex positions or ways of masturbating which are impossible for you due to your disability? 

I have yet to find any positions that are impossible for me due to my illness. Although I do worry about being upside-down for too long.

Which sex positions or ways of masturbating are the best for you?

The best positions in terms of catering to the illness, would be ones where if I have a seizure my husband and I have less chance of being hurt. So me straddling him, doggy… Missionary. But we don’t stick to that, we do all sorts! He knows what the signs are, so I know I am safe.

If you have a sexual partner(s), how do they feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship(s)?

My husband isn’t affected in any negative way by my illness and it doesn’t affect our intimate time. It doesn’t really have much of an impact on our relationship, although he is always alerted to the fact that I could have a seizure at any time. It is under control by my meds, so chances are low.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

I would say to let any sexual partners know from the start. It’s not fair on them to unknowingly get thrown in to such a situation if you do have a seizure while you are with them.

As for your sex life, as long as your partner knows of your illness, signs and how to deal with it, you should be fine to do all things you want to do.

Edn on ME, CFS, Anxiety & Depression

What disability do you have? M.E. / C.F.S. with long standing anxiety and depression as well.

With the M.E. / C.F.S. you are always on a knife edge of “have I done too much”. The smallest amount of exertion at the wrong time can tip you into a crash where you can do nothing for days, weeks or even months. This means you have to be very careful and plan either sex or masturbation around what you have done the previous day(s) and what you plan to do today and potentially tomorrow. If you’re already in a quite low energy state then sex / masturbation becomes something to be avoided. It also means that you lose a lot of spontaneity which can have serious impacts on your pleasure.

Being single I can’t comment on the effect that it has on a relationship, however it does have such a serious impact on my life that I feel unable to date as it would be unfair to inflict those limitations on someone else. I want a partner not a nurse! I know that these are my own personal feeling and I’m not giving anyone the chance to say yes or no but the limitations the conditions place on me are severe enough that I would feel unhappy entering a relationship. That of course has its own set of knock on effects. The feeling of isolation and lack of human intimacy can be very depressing, sometimes to the extent that it pushes me into periods of asexuality where I try and avoid any sort of erotic stimuli. I would say this is unhealthy however as it produces rebound hypersexuality where you can get aroused seeing a pair of table legs! Trying to balance energy, desires, hopes and depression is a daily battle.

As my conditions are either psychological or invisible I find that the difficulties I face are more to do with the emotional than the physical components of sex and relationships. For someone who has an obvious physical disability there is an assumption of inability which they must battle. For someone with an invisible problem there is an assumption of ability which they must battle. I don’t think either is a better or worse problem than the other but both need to be addressed in a sensitive and compassionate way.

Sex-And-Disability-A-Peek-Inside-The-Window-Square

Anonymous on ME/CFS

What disability do you have?

ME/CFS, a physical (but invisible) health condition that has a wide range of fluctuating symptoms such as fatigue, pain, post-exertional malaise (where exhaustion and other symptoms are a delayed reaction to exertion, appearing a few hours to a few days afterwards), headaches, weakness, brain fog (difficulty thinking and concentrating).

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

It varies a lot. When my heath was very bad a few years ago I had almost no energy for sex or masturbation (and being in a relationship at all was difficult as I was bed bound for big chunks of each day – which isn’t as fun as it sounds – and could hardly have people around me at all because even the sound of someone’s voice was too much stimulation). Now my general level of health is somewhat better I find that sex and masturbation are on the rather short list of things I often can still do even when my ME symptoms are bad. A big component of my fatigue is mental fatigue – ‘brain fog’ – problems thinking and concentrating. Delightfully, sex and masturbation are not affected by these. In fact, because ME/CFS is in part about having a nervous system that is constantly in overdrive, and because sex and masturbation will put me into a very relaxed state, they can actually help reduce my symptoms sometimes.

Are there any sex positions or ways of masturbating which are impossible for you due to your disability? Or any which particularly work for you?

I have to be really careful about use of the Doxy Massager when my symptoms are bad because the vibration on my hands and the intense spasming of all the muscles in my body will leave me with a lot of aching for several days afterwards! When it comes to sex, I can’t be a very energetic partner, so things like being on top, or spending ages giving someone an energetic blow job, or throwing a partner around during sex, are difficult. But luckily I’m about 80% sexual submissive so my favourite sex positions and activities are all pretty passive.

If you have a sexual partner(s), how do they feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship(s)?

My partner is very supportive and works hard to understand my disability. We have a really great sex life despite my health issues, but what can often happen is that I use up a lot of my energy having sex and play and then that spills over into the rest of my life because I don’t have the energy to do other things, like focus on work or socialise. With ME you have to make tough choices about what you spend your energy on, because it’s so limited. So we can have a great weekend of sex and play, but then our relationship is affected the following week by how exhausted I am. I might be unable to see him or speak to him on the phone because I am too tired. I will also be very stressed about dealing with life because I don’t have any energy left to do it with! So there’s a constant anxiety with us about overdoing it, and about making plans knowing there is a big chance they will have to be cancelled. I have to let him down a lot. It’s very difficult for my partner because his needs can get lost in all the demands of my health condition.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

When I first got very ill with ME, I knew very little about the illness or how to manage it, and the impact on my relationship at the time was devastating. Since then I have worked very hard to find out everything I can about the illness and how to manage it, and I can communicate all of that very clearly to my partner. This is the only way that we can maintain a good relationship in the face of an illness like ME. I also know how difficult it is to understand how ME affects people, and how easy it is to forget or try to deny those effects (because I do it myself when I’m having a good patch) so I am willing to restate these things to my partner as much as I need to without taking it personally that I need to. We also have to communicate a lot about how the illness is affecting us emotionally and be able to hear each other’s feelings about it. It’s a really horrible illness and it’s very tough to deal with, not just for me but for everyone close to me. I also think that someone with an illness like ME basically needs to find a very kind, patient, easy going partner because there’s no way they’ll stick around otherwise! A partner who needs lots of emotional support, or who needs to be in control all the time, will struggle because the person with ME won’t be able to provide that.

Anon about ME/CFS/PVFS


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(CFS) also referred to as Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) or ME depending on who diagnoses you. They’re pretty much the same thing and because it’s a syndrome, it’s diagnosed by exclusion i.e. they test you for everything under the sun and as long as you don’t show positive for anything, and meet other criteria, then that’s what you’ve got.

I was diagnosed over ten years ago and ended up pretty much housebound for the first two. It was a contributing factor towards the breakdown of my first marriage as it’s a hidden condition but I was unfortunately not able to “snap out of it”. It also affected my mental health at the time, killed my confidence and with that my sex drive. My first marriage did end up in celibacy but I don’t think my CFS was the only factor. I’m making up for lost time with that one now 🙂

My husband and Dom is amazing. He’s always known me with CFS and has never let it be an issue. He knows when I’m struggling (the stairs are an issue at times – I can only make it halfway up or down before having to take a break) and doesn’t let me feel sorry for myself with it, just helps me accept that it’s part of me.

I do go through phases with it and thankfully at the moment consider myself as not having it, although I do have days and phases where my body gives me big warnings and I collapse into a heap and rest as much as possible. During these phases I describe trying to do anything as ‘wading through treacle with a suit of armour on’; I have no muscle strength and no ability to move well.

In these times, we adapt. I still have my sex drive but masturbation is harder – my brain is foggy so I can’t fully focus on my ‘go to’ fantasies. My body reacts differently so it takes me longer to orgasm, and my arm gets tired quickly – argh! I don’t climax easily with toys, except one, but my skin sensitivity also changes, so I can only use it for very short bursts.

Sex itself is also different. Any position that I’m in needs to be fully supported – no doggy-style on all fours, for example – and I can’t stay in any one position for too long either. My favourite and easiest is missionary, so I don’t really complain too loudly!

We’re also a kinky couple but this has to adapt. The kink is a deep itch that needs to be regularly scratched, we tried putting the kink on hold when I’m unwell but this made us both miserable so we’ve found ways around it. If I’m being spanked, I will be across his knee but he’ll be sat with his back on the headboard and his legs outstretched to minimise the physical stress to me. If he restrains me, we communicate regularly and clearly to ensure that I’m not pushing myself too far physically in the wrong way. I love to be challenged, but there’s a right way and wrong way to do it!

We both love impact play but with my changing sensitivities, we have to test and test again to see what my body will allow. A spank that is pushing my limits on bad day might barely register when I’m well. It also affects other play – wax play, pegs, clamps etc…however, we’ve rarely found it stops us completely.

When I am feeling well, there are also issues that affect us. More than a decade of being able to do little has left me with little stamina or strength and it means we have to account for this. It’s really an extension of when I’m in a low phase – communication, and making sure I’m not in any one position for too long if it puts my body under too much stress. Of course, a little stress on occasion is a fun thing, we just have to do it right!

Having the kink has helped us deal with my CFS as a couple – we have to communicate well, and it’s allowed us to adapt and experiment more. We have a deep level of honesty too – if either of us are having a bad day, we talk about it and let it happen, and work with it rather than resenting it. It’s taken me a long time to get to this stage – too many years with my ex left me broken in more ways that I realised until recently.

Deviant Kitten on Mental Health Issues

sex and disability deviant kittenWhat disability do you have? 

Mental health issues. My official diagnosis are Major Depression, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia and ADHD.
Panic is the diagnosis but it kinda effects me in all aspects of life, whether there’s the likelihood of a full-blown panic attack or not. My ADHD is the inattentive type, rather than the hyperactive one.Which means rather than getting agitated or outwardly hyperactive, it’s internal.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

I’m medicated for everything, and initially with my antidepressant, when I first started taking it, there was about 6 weeks where I couldn’t orgasm (which I actually wrote about right here). Thankfully that went away but there’s still the actual mental health issues.

Sometimes I get too depressed to masturbate. I just don’t have the energy, or my depression gets really fixated on my body and I don’t want anything to do with my body because I can’t handle it. The idea of touching my body, or seeing it, or anything to do with it makes me want to do irresponsible things, so masturbating is impossible.

My ADHD also effects both sex and masturbation in that I get bored and distracted very easily. Like if porn isn’t stimulating enough (not like, average person stimulating, my mind is very finicky about what stimulation is enough, what is too much etc), I’ll get bored, and masturbating when you can’t get turned on is no fun. It can be something I’m really into, but sometimes my brain just will not have it and I end up going off on tangents in my head. One time I was giving my ex a blowjob in the shower, but the shower mat was hurting my knees, so we got out to continue, and by the time we’d gotten back to his bedroom – maybe a couple minutes later at most – I had lost all interest in/forgotten about doing it because I’d gotten distracted. Even if I’m really enjoying myself, there’s no guarantee I won’t suddenly get distracted.

If you have a sexual partner(s), how do they feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship(s)?

With my ex it was never an issue, he was super understanding of everything. We were LDR so for the most part and when we were together I felt pretty damn awesome emotionally, so my depression was less of an issue. And getting distracted, I would either blurt out what I was thinking and we’d move on, or I’d be pulled back into it anyway.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

That if medication is causing you problems with orgasms, and it’s something you can’t handle, you have every right to request a change in medication. That it’s not stupid or selfish to have orgasms and pleasure be something important to you.

That communicating with your partner is so important for both of your mental health That the knowledge and communication about it needs to extend into your sex life too. Your partner can’t support you if they don’t know what’s happening. Your partner needs to know that you not having the energy to fuck, or getting distracted and talking about something irrelevant in the middle of sex, doesn’t reflect on your desire for them. It’s a you thing, not an attraction thing.

If your partner doesn’t know that, they might start feeling crappy.

If your sex drive is struggling as a result of your mental health, and theirs is still going strong, you need to be able to talk about it and work out how to deal with it. Whether its compromising, working out what can get you going despite your brain, or investing in some toys you can use together so that you can play with your partner without having to get naked or have penetrative sex. There’s ways to make it work, but you’ve gotta communicate!!!!!!!!

That orgasms aren’t necessary. They’re awesome, but if you can still experience pleasure, learning to appreciate and enjoy that, without coming, is totally possible and great too. There’s so many different things you can do with sex and masturbation that writing them off just because there’s no orgasm involved seems silly. Sometimes forcing yourself to masturbate despite feeling like you want to melt into your bed can make you feel better. Even if there’s no orgasm, just forcing yourself to touch yourself can feel good and alleviate things.

Anonymous on Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones)

What disability do you/your partner have?

My partner has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones).

How does the disability affect sex & masturbation?

Liberator wedges and sex furnitureShe’s very fragile so has to be careful with everything sexual. Even clenching muscles can put too much stress on her bones and can cause pain. We have to choose positions carefully. Sex toys, cushions, Liberator wedges etc. really help!

Are there any sex positions or ways of masturbating which are impossible due to the disability? 

Anything risky is out of the question. No shower sex, for example. She’s unable to stand or support herself for any length of time as her back and legs are so weak, so she needs to be supported properly at all times.

Similarly, which sex positions or ways of masturbating are the best?

Positions where she’s fully supported, for example laying on her back, are the most comfortable. That’s not to say that that’s the only position, but others can become uncomfortable quite quickly. We usually change positions a lot during sex so she stays comfortable and we don’t become bored!

How do you feel about your partner’s disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship?

It doesn’t bother me at all.

It definitely has an impact, as there are many times when one or both of us wants sex, but she’s unable to do so because of pain or discomfort, but you just learn to live with it. It makes it really special when we are able to have sex. Intimacy is a bit different as we can still be very intimate with each other without having vigorous sex (or indeed any sex). There’s lots of teasing & kissing when we can’t physically have sex with each other.

If you love someone then physical things like this don’t really matter. You just work through them.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

Use sex toys! They make things so much easier. Experiment with a few different types and find out what works well for you. Cushions and sex toys that support you physically are also a great addition.

You can also experiment with other types of play, if you so choose. Things like chastity and orgasm denial can be fun if you are unable to have sex. These types of play can make it amazing when you’re both able to again.

The most important thing though is to keep intimate with each other. It’s very easy to stop that if you’re physically unable to go further, but that can make it harder to become intimate again when you’re physically able to as you’re both not used to it.

Constance Reid on Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

sex and disability constance reidWhat disability do you have?

I have relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). Effectively this means that at times, when lesions are active in my brain (either new or old ones flaring up) I experience periods of disability. This can be as simple as tingling in a limb or as serious as losing the feeling in my left hand or most of the vision in my left eye. If you have to get MS, RRMS is the one you want – you can go long periods of time without a relapse, but they can and do happen quite suddenly and without any warning.

I’m fortunate, I’m very healthy. My MS is, for now at least, well under control. I’m training for a half marathon, and while I have to pay close attention to eating, drinking enough water and sleeping enough, I seem to be able to manage work, play and my family commitments.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

There are 4 effects – the effects of the relapses, the fatigue, the effects of the drugs and anorgasmia.

Relapses – they happen suddenly and without warning. I was at a business lunch with new clients, went to grab my wine glass, and it slipped through my hand and smashed on the floor because I had lost the feeling in my left hand. I have some places on the left side of my body – hand, leg and side where I have absolutely no feeling at all. Changes in sensation mean changes in changes in pleasure – what felt good last night doesn’t work at all today. Not being able to be confident in your body is also a challenge sexually – some of our sexuality is based on confidence that we know how our body works. I had to spend a good 6 months after my diagnosis accepting that my body was changing.

Fatigue – We’ve all been a bit tired, but MS fatigue is utterly crushing. Last week, I came home from my best friend’s birthday party and I slept for 14 hours straight. Fatigue can mean that I can cook dinner or have sex, I need a nap before we go out, and swinging activities are almost always confined to weekends, as I will need most of the rest of the weekend to recover. Limits are immutable to me – I can’t simply gut past the fatigue. It will have its way.

Drugs – I’m fortunate because I’m on a drug that I only take once a month. Infusion days are hell. I vomit, I run a fever, which makes all of my other MS symptoms worse, I wind up with blinding headaches, and every joint in my body aches. Infusion days are write off days. There will be no sex, in fact there will be no anything other than a bacon cheeseburger, because that’s the only thing that tastes good.

Anorgasmia – this is the one that no one talks about. Depending on where you have lesions, orgasms can get harder. In some cases, for some MS patients, they become impossible. Right after I was diagnosed, I went through about 4 months where orgasms became uncertain, if not almost totally absent. It was terrifying, especially as I couldn’t get anyone to give me a straight answer – was this the shock of finding out I had a chronic, degenerative disease? Was this a lesion on my brain that meant I would never have another orgasm again? Was this simply me coming to terms with the ways my body had let me down and the struggle to find my confidence again? I was fortunate, increasing the power of a vibrator, slowing down, figuring out what feels good again and being patient with myself meant that they came back. They aren’t something I take for granted again, and that has definitely changed my sexuality.

Are there any sex positions or ways of masturbating which are impossible for you due to your disability? 

I’m extremely leery of bondage because there are parts of my body that I can’t feel. I actually couldn’t tell you if you were hurting me. I have some persistent weakness on my left side, so I need to be mindful of more athletic positions. Between training for a half marathon and the weakness on my left side, I have persistent hip pain. At times being on top is almost impossible because my hip just doesn’t open. I have to pay attention to my body, listen to what hurts and what doesn’t and negotiate that with my partners. I’ve realized that it’s ok to simply say “nope, this isn’t working for me today, let’s try X”.

Which sex positions or ways of masturbating are the best for you with the disability you have?

Buying a more powerful vibrator made all the difference. Seriously. The steady went and figured out the various power scales and then went shopping. Additionally, taking time and making time. What worked last week may not work this week. Understanding that sex is something I have to account for when I plan my day, it can’t be something that I slip in at the end of the day – I simply may not have the energy for it.

If you have a sexual partner(s), how do they feel about your disability and how does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship(s)?

Hey. I actually got the Steady to answer this. . . .

As this disability came on out of right field, completely surprising and with effects that are long term and ever changing, it has been a challenge. We have discussed how it’s not my ‘job’ to be her primary care-giver, if it ever degrades to the point that it is needed. How do I feel? The disability is a part of her, so I accept that, as I have no desire to not be part of her life, I also have to embrace the disability and do everything in my power and ability to help where and how I can. I’ve had to work on my own perception of disability as well, as this was the first time I was so closely touched by another’s condition. To be honest, I was really angered that this woman, who has gone through other really hard things in her life, has been handed yet another helping of crap to which there is no avoidance, no escape, and no respite. To see this handed to the woman I love really pissed me off. However, that was me pissed at the MS itself, not at her. It’s not like she went and searched out people with horrid communicable diseases with the intent of getting something herself. This was the utterly random nature of life handing out a shit card.

When it comes to sex, it’s a bit of a moveable feast. We have to actually communicate about what is good and not good on an ongoing basis. Some days are wild and free, while others are more impacted by the MS. There can be frustration, but it’s one of those areas where I have to just float freely in accommodating whatever she is up for. Some times the expression of intimacy has to just be a cuddle, as the fatigue is too great for anything else. That being said, we’re quite open and expressive about our sexuality, and freely aid and assist in giving a helping hand. If sex is not an option, we still enjoy ourselves with masturbation. This is especially more the focus immediately after treatment. 

While our relationship has gone through some tough times at the same time that we were working through the initial stages with the disability, it was not the cause of it. I don’t feel that there is any negative influence on our relationship as a result of the disability. 

I sometimes joke that MS is the ultimate “not tonight dear, I have a headache”. What we have learned to say is “not swinging from the chandeliers tonight, I’m not up for it.” Oral sex? Great! Some boring missionary? Totally ok if that’s all I can manage. Me dressing up and telling you what I’d like to do when I’m up for it while you jerk off? Absolutely. The nights when we swing from the chandeliers are really great nights now. Good sex starts with communication, we have gotten way better at that.

What sex tips or advice would you give to others either with the same disability?

See below.

  1. If I could tell the medical field anything – it would be to ask your patients about sex, about how their disability affects their sex life, if they need coping strategies and if they need assistance. Do not ever assume that they are in long term monogamous relationships – many people have a variety of sexual relationships, which may look nothing like yours! My last clinical visit consisted of a medical team asking me if I could do basic household things like dishes and dusting, but out of 4 hours of questions, no one asked about my sex life. I was livid. They seemed to assume that either sex didn’t matter, that fatigue, which might affect my ability to dust, would somehow equally not affect my ability to have sex. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person out there who will let the dusting go in order to have more sex. Equally, when they talked about bladder dysfunction – which is a common problem with MS, they assumed that I had a long term partner of the opposite sex and he was the only person I slept with. By not even raising the topic and through their assumptions, I was left feeling like some of my more important questions and issues didn’t matter. I’m comfortable advocating for myself, but it felt uncomfortable. Someone less comfortable with their sexuality probably would have suffered in silence. If you are going to ask if they can dust and what modifications they need, ask how their sex life is going – that’s probably a hell of a lot more important to many people!
  1. I’m fortunate, I’m not “visibly” disabled. In fact, most people forget that I even have MS. Hell, I am training for a half marathon – so I don’t “look” sick.  Obviously my primary – the Steady – is well aware of my disease, but I actually don’t disclose it to other partners because I have the luxury of not doing so and I’m glad. The Steady does keep a discrete eye on me, and has cut play time short because sometimes he’s more aware of my limits than I am. I suppose if I wound up seeing someone over a longer term, or if I had a relapse while I was with them, I would need to discuss it. For now, I’m thankful I don’t have to. Play time is a bit of a vacation for me – as long as I’m mindful of my limits, I don’t have to manage my illness all the time.

Eliza93Marie on Severe Anxiety Disorder

What disability do you suffer with?

Severe Anxiety Disorder is what the neurologist officially diagnosed me with as of Jan. 2012. After struggling for several years with General Anxiety, on Christmas day in 2011 I had a seizure setting beside Sir in his truck. He told my parents the next day and my mother demanded that I visit with my doctor; who then sent me directly to the neurologist for further testing, where I later received my diagnoses.

How does your disability affect sex & masturbation for you?

My disability affects my sex life mentally rather than physically. I have tried a variety of medications to settle my anxiety. More recently I took Effexor and it seemed to cause my sex drive to plummet; I stopped taking it, and opted for Wellbutrin.

Sex (more than masturbation) with my partner is affected. I am very comfortable in my relationship; sir and I have grown up with each other. Almost five years in and much love is shared between the two of us. However, when it comes to being intimate it is near impossible to concentrate on anything. There are no orgasms (when my anxiety is high).

Even when my anxiety isn’t too high, my head still runs wild with hundreds of crazy questions that make me feel self-conscious. During sex I am constantly pre-occupied and question myself, my body, if it’s good, or if he is having a good time. Of course he reassures me with his actions and words, but I always question it still.

During masturbation I can concentrate a bit more; I believe that is because I’m alone. Then I think that Sir will be mad about me touching myself, or think that he will feel he isn’t enough; which of course is not the case. Most of the time I worry enough that I cannot orgasm without his help.

How does your partner feel about my disability & How does it affect your intimate times together? What sort of impact does it have on your relationship?

Being that Sir doesn’t have any anxiety he really has never understood mine. Sir supports me, he holds me when I need him to and tries to calm me. He hates that I question everything so much and sometimes gets to feeling like I don’t trust him; but he tries hard to have patient with me. Due to my anxiety our intimate times sometimes gets overly emotional: super fidgety, tearful, goofy, mushy, or angry; almost always just because of the way my mind runs wild. Anxiety has a HUGE impact on my relationship, it makes me overly clingy, emotional, needy, suspect, and jealous. Every once in a while when Sir is having a rough day he will get angry or impatient with me.

What sex tips or advice would you give others with the same disability?

Try to just focus by

-Grounding yourself beforehand; deep breaths, look around you, find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

– Focus in the feeling of intercourse and foreplay

-paint your mind black and don’t let anything shine through (this sounds weird to say)!


Thanks so much to everyone who shared their thoughts, experiences and advice in this article.

Ideally other people in the same or similar situations will have found useful advice to help them have a happy and satisfying sex life (with a partner or by themselves), but sometimes just knowing that there are other people going through the same issues is a big help.

I’d welcome even more perspectives on the same or different disabilities – do you live with a condition which affects your relationship with a partner, your sex life, masturbation? Do you just get on the best you can or does it affect you mentally and emotionally as well as perhaps physically? Maybe you have an ‘invisible illness’ and would like to express your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. A very interesting article. I have a number of conditions but the one that has affected me most is Fibromyalgia and all the joys it brings with it physically and some ways, the more debilitating affects on my mental health. I am a fighter, have a very supportive patner and medical team. Some days are a real struggle to feel feminine, let alone sexy but I won’t give up on it. Thanks you all for the article

    • Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found the article insightful and useful. Sorry to hear about your own struggles!
      x

    • Sorry to hear you suffer with this. I would definitely be interested in adding you to the post… please email me whatever you’d like added, to cara(at)carasutra.co.uk.

      Thank you for being involved!
      -Cara

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