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How To: Navigating Sex Toys & Disability

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Navigating Sex Toys & Disability

Newsflash: people with various disabilities have and enjoy sex, too. People with disabilities can be sexy if they choose, people with disabilities deserve full, complex sex lives–just in the same way people with various disabilities deserve full and complex lives, full stop. Whether you're someone who experiences some form of disability–chronic pain, physical disabilities, neuro-atypicality, mental illness–someone who wants to consensually get it on with someone who has a disability, or you're curious about various aspects and experiences of sexuality, read on for some thoughts and resources.

As someone who personally struggles with mental illness and chronic pain; disability is so complex that we can all really only speak to our personal experiences because even people with similar diagnoses and disabilities will have vastly different experiences. For this reason, I've linked to some research and sex bloggers who experience various kinds of disability at the bottom of this post!

One of the things I find fascinating is that all of our bodies experience sexuality differently–whether or not we're abled or disabled–and we all benefit from listening to our bodies and observing how sex toys interact with them. For folks who experience disability, that can't be avoided: there are considerations like "will it take too much effort/energy for me to use this toy?" or "will I be able to hold this toy comfortably or even successfully?" or "because of the unique needs of my body, will this toy even reach where it needs to?" But the wonderful thing about sex toys is that they're tools: they're objects that can sometimes make pleasure more attainable to people who have different bodies or needs from the "average" able-bodied consumer.

Another thing we should all remember is that sex doesn't have to look or feel any particular way except the one that feels good for us; it's about sensation, and different bodies feel sensation differently and those sensations will mean different things to the brains those bodies are attached to. This is something that can be exciting and pleasurable to explore; what sensations, what positions work best for your body, needs, and desires? It can also be frustrating and alienating when it feels like no toys have your needs in mind.

Since each person's needs and desires will be unique, it's impossible to give a concise guide of sex toys for all experiences of disability. I've included some of my go-to tips for different products that some people find great for various purposes. You can also feel free to contact me or the folks at SheVibe for personalized help–or reach out to any of the bloggers listed below if their experience more closely resembles your own!

Handles. Vibrators, especially, with handles are really wonderful for a lot of different people: whether you have issues with a steady grip, arthritis, or you just get tired holding a vibe in place for long periods of time, toys with handles can make grip more comfortable for a lot of people, and can often help with reach issues or other concerns you may have about your toys. Here are some examples of various types and options for handled toys!

Finger Vibes are just what they sound like: small vibes that are great for all sorts of external stimulation (it doesn't just have to be the clit! These can get some excitement going on or around any of your particularly sensitive spots, no matter your body or gender). They're compact and don't require you to hold them because they wrap around a finger or fingers. Just be careful: some finger straps are tight and might be uncomfortable. Some options in this style:

  • Ayu Silicone Finger Vibe Set - a nice affordable option with two individual vibrators in the package. Uses watch batteries, which usually means it won't be very strong and batteries will need regular replacement.
  • Key by Jopen Pyxis - a great option because it fits more fingers comfortably while still being secure with its open design. Rechargeable.
  • Fin Finger Vibe - one of the more expensive options, this one can be held between two fingers with or without a silicone lasso that goes around the fingers, but beware: many find the finger loop to be too tight for their taste.

TIP: Some vibrators have buttons that can be hard to press, confusing, or too small. I'd recommend either asking customer service or looking up reviews/asking a reviewer who has the toy before buying!

Handled Vibrators come in a variety of options; I'm generally speaking about toys that have a loop in the handle, which allows for a more comfortable hold, more hold options, and a more relaxed grip if you need it. There are a few different kinds available in this style, from external to internal, so let's break it down:

External Options

  • C.1 Vibrator by Laid - It looks like a cock ring, but it isn't! This toy is too small and too firm to be used safely for that purpose. It is however nicely compact, lightly textured, waterproof, and rechargeable.
  • LELO Alia - on the more expensive side, Alia is a slightly larger option that's larger than the C.1 and rounded in a way that can make it more comfortable for some to hold. Also waterproof and rechargeable.
  • O-Wand Wand-Style Vibe - love wand-style vibes but holding the handle doesn't work for you? This is a pretty unique feature in this style of toy, and it's also silicone, waterproof, and rechargeable. Being a wand, this will be much heavier than the other options above, so keep that in mind!

TIP: Consider the weight and size of a toy, especially if you might get tired holding it in place. Some heavier vibes can be exhausting to use for too long.

Internal Options

  • Luxe Freya G/P-Spot Vibrator - is a nice affordable option with a small loop. This is powered by a bullet vibrator that requires watch batteries and therefore won't be incredibly strong or long-lasting, but it's a good place to start. If you find you like the shape but want an upgrade, the rechargeable and rumbly WeVibe Tango can work with this!
  • The Whole of Fun Factory's G5 Line which you can peruse on their brand page features a looped handle, fully submersible waterproof qualities, rechargeability, and thicker and squishier silicone than most other luxury vibe lines. There are a variety of shapes, sizes, and uses available in this line–including anal safe toys, g-spotting toys, and dual-stimulation style toys–which makes it an awesome starting point for someone looking for a vibrator with a looped handle.

Hands-Free toys, often marketed for couples or discreet use (and you could definitely do the same) are fantastic for people who don't want to hold a toy in place or have to use complicated buttons on the toy itself; these come with remotes or thanks to the power of technology, can be controlled from your phone! Check out this whole section of hands free vibes to see if one piques your interest.

Hollow Strap-Ons and Double Penetration Strap-Ons might not be what one expects to find on this list. Hollow strap-ons are typically associated with folks who deal with erectile dysfunction or have fantasies of a larger member. Double Penetration Strap-Ons are just what they sound like: harnesses that allow for use of two toys or one toy and a flesh penis. Both of these can be amazing tools for people with certain experiences of physical disability, especially those who have conditions that may make it difficult to utilize their lower half. Both give the opportunity to be more involved with penetrative play: hollow straps can have your penis inside of them, while double-penetration straps can have a toy in one hole and a penis at any level of erection in the other so you might achieve more sensation.

  • Fetish Fantasy Extreme Hollow Strap-On - is just what it sounds like: a large toy to go over your parts. Some might find this to be too big, and the material is porous and therefore should not be used in multiple orifices or with multiple partners.
  • Spare Parts Deuce Double Penetration Harness - Comfortable, machine-washable, and highly adjustable the Deuce is a great option for people who want to let it all hang out, and prefer the customizability of being able to choose from any dildos they or their partner(s) are interested in–whether that's realistic, large, small, with a certain shape, in bright colors. It's up to you!

Position Aids/Furniture are a common suggestion: the different shapes and sizes can work individually or in tandem to help make you or your sweetie's body more comfortable in various positions by supporting their body. You can see a wide array of pillows and position aids here and find one that suits your needs best! Another great option are sex swings and slings, which can help support your body in a variety of ways.

And those are just a few places to start. Honestly, all sex toys can be reimagined and used to suit different needs and desires. The needs of folks with mental illness, chronic illness, and physical disabilities can be unique, and finding the products that will be best for you can be difficult without the help and advice of others. With that in mind, here are some resources:

People Who Write About Sex, Disability, Chronic Illness, and Mental Health

These are Twitter accounts that are worth exploring–go check out their websites. Some teach about sex and disability, others write sex toy reviews from a perspective of someone with chronic illness or disability, etc. If there are more people you think should be on this list, let us know!

Pillow Princess is a disabled cancer survivor who reviews sex toys.

Sex Blog of Sorts has written about the impact of disability on their sex life, and also writes erotica.

Silverdrop and SilverDom are a disabled couple who practice BDSM, write about their sex lives, and offer sex toy reviews.

Eve Adler is a queer disabled writer who focuses on sex education and disability.

Hedonish is a sex educator and reviewer who also writes about her experience of chronic illness and chemical sensitivity.

Chronic Sex is just what it sounds like: the twitter account hosts weekly chats about chronic disability and sex and the website is a fantastic resource for conversations and advice around sex and disability.

Andrew Gurza is a writer and disability awareness consultant who writes about his experiences being queer and disabled.

Some Extra Reading

Again, if there are any guides you think would be useful to add here, please let us know so they can be included!


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