Pleasure for Every Body: The need for discussion of disability in sex
By keisha janney
Having a satisfying and pleasurable sex life should be available to everybody and every body who wants to have one.
Sadly, one marginalized group in particular exists whose sexual health and wellness is still rarely addressed: disabled people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in four, or nearly 61 million, adults in the United States live with a disability. That means you or someone you know is probably living with a disability.
Unfortunately, we get a lot of messages from the mainstream media that tell us that we should be having sex in particular ways, or in some cases, not having sex at all. In the media, we rarely see positive images of disabled people. It is even more rare to see disabled people having sex. More often, we are portrayed as sexless and undesirable. Yet, like most adults, disabled adults also desire a full range of sexual pleasure!
Disabled people might benefit from additional tools to help them explore their full pleasure potential. There are a range of items that can be used to reduce barriers and to help create pleasure. The following are a few ideas for people with physical disabilities to experience pleasure.
For many bodies, using a firm foam wedge can be used to position yourself or your partner(s). A wedge can provide more support than a typical pillow and can be used in a variety of positions. Slip a wedge underneath your hips while you are on your stomach for penetration or stimulation from behind. Position the wedge under your hips while on your back to relieve pressure on your back or hips and still get a great angle for oral or penetrative sex.
For solo play, there are a variety of options for people with penises or vaginas. For clitoral stimulation, vibrating wands carry a lot of power and a longer handle that can be easier to hold than a traditional bullet sized vibrator. Some wands even minimize vibration in the handle to minimize irritation to a nerve injury or carpal tunnel.
There are also several styles of insertable toys that can be put in place and operated with a remote or via Bluetooth. For stimulating a penis, vibrating sleeves can be used with an erect or flaccid penis to create pleasurable sensation. Additionally, there are a wide variety of anal plugs that vibrate, rotate and stimulate any backside!
Sometimes barriers to pleasure might require the support of a professional. If you and/or your partner(s) are experiencing sexual difficulties related to disabilities, consider reaching out for assistance. Eugene has several intimacy coaches, couples therapists and physical therapists who specialize in working with bodies of all abilities. These are professionals who have specific experience to help you find the pleasure you desire.
Pleasureable sex is not out of reach for any body!
Keisha Janney, MS, CFT, is a part of The Eugene Intimate Health Center and an individual and relational therapist in private practice. In addition to her work, Janney enjoys crafting, volunteering and spending time with her dog. For more info: eugeneintimatehealthcenter.org.
This article was originally published in the Eugene Weekly.
Lube is one of the essentials for a healthy and pleasurable sex life! And the lube you choose can unbelievably enhance your play, or ruin the moment entirely.
There are four main kinds of lubricants on the market today: water-based, silicone-based, hybrid, and coconut oil. Each kind of base has its own benefits and drawbacks, and potentially the most important factor when choosing a lube is preference. That’s why we encourage you to find a shop with testers available (like As You Like It!) so that you can feel, smell, and taste your options before buying. Some lubricants are warming or tingling, while some are flavored and edible! There is a vast range of lubricant options available, so no matter what you’re looking for in a lubricant, one exists that is perfect for you.
But how do you remember all rules for using lube? And how do you know what kind of lube to use for what kind of play? Great question! We made you handy chart to use as a cheat sheet.
These rules are not always hard and fast. Always ask a doctor or a sex educator you trust if you are unsure. For example, although silicone is a body-safe material, there is some debate on whether or not it is balanced with vaginal PH. However, for people who experience painful vaginal intercourse, a silicone lubricant may be your doctor’s recommended lubrication for vaginal sex. All bodies are different, and everyone’s body responds differently. We encourage you to explore your own chemistry!
In your exploration, remember that not all lubricants are created equal. Because lubricants belong to a relatively unregulated industry, you must be cautious and do your research when deciding what brand of lube to purchase. Not all lubricants on the market are body safe. Please be sure you are reading the ingredients of any lubricant that you are considering purchasing, and to know what to look out for, or make sure to purchase from a store that you trust to carry body-safe products, like As You Like It!
Bear in mind that even lubricants with the same base can have extremely different properties, including cushion, drag, texture, and scent. And no two lubricants are exactly alike, so if you haven’t found one that you love yet, keep looking! Your perfect lube match is out there — you just have to find it!
“When I first heard about suckler toys, I was skeptical. Would it really deliver? The top two brands are the Womanizer and the Satisfyer. I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money on one — I am not a clitoral only kind of woman. But an unexpected windfall gave me the opportunity to try out a Satisfyer. The idea behind this toy is that there is a moveable membrane at the back of a small, silicone-lipped opening on the device, This membrane vibrates back and forth creating a vacuum when the silicone “lips” seal around a small area of flesh – most often a nipple or a clitoris.
“The first attempt, I started cold turkey, no foreplay, just a little lube and the suckler itself. It proved to be a great tease, engorging my clit somewhat, arousing me and feeling very nice, but never quite sealing the deal completely. After a little while, I finished myself another way and reported the results to my sweetheart. But when he went off to work and I found myself home alone, I decided that a second try was in order. Holy Moly! This time that little sucker immediately latched onto my clitoris and I reached orgasm in just a few seconds! I barely had time to think, it was just happening! Since then, the Satisfyer has moved to the front of the drawer under my bed.”
-Reviewed by Melissa, AYLI Employee