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Meet The Stigma-Busting Disabled Sex Bloggers

20 September 2021

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Joanne Summers – Joanne’s Reviews (UK)

When did you start sex blogging and why?

A few years ago my medical conditions – fibromyalgia and arthritis – meant that I needed to leave my full-time job. I had both knees replaced because of the arthritis and one of the operations didn’t go to plan, causing me lots of issues.

I suffered from depression because of having to stop working and, in an effort to channel my mind into something productive, I started blogging. I ran a vanilla blog for a while and then got interested in reviewing sex toys. I started off by reviewing the ones I owned. That was over three years ago and I’ve never looked back: I recently did my 450th review!

I am in constant pain and some days I just want to curl up and die, but my blog gives me something to focus on and I love it. I mainly write product reviews but I also dabble in erotic fiction and advice articles.

Did you always intend to write about your health conditions on your blog?

I never mentioned them initially for fear of being judged for it. Inevitably, as a disabled person, I have to deal with people’s reactions, and some people just can’t deal with any form of disability. However, the more I blogged and the more I read blogs from other amazing disabled reviewers, the more open I became.

Why is it important to write about disability alongside sex?

Disabilities and ill health are issues we all face to one extent or another, and writing about them can help people deal with theirs. I can also help people to realise that just because they have a disability or health issue doesn’t mean that their sex life is over.

“I often struggle with just getting aroused… [so] I tend to think outside the box where sex and masturbation are concerned.”

What products work for you?

I use fucking machines to enjoy penetrative fun without having to use my wrists or move much. I also enjoy electrostimulation, which is where I use specialised equipment to stimulate the nerves in my genitals and this leads to hands-free orgasms that are amazing. I also love the Rocks-Off Ruby Glow as I can just sit on it, grinding myself into it for added stimulation.

What are non-disabled writers getting wrong?

Often journalists and the general public assume that being disabled means being a wheelchair-user or having a visible condition. A huge proportion of disabled people carry disabilities that are not apparent when you meet them in the street.

How do your conditions affect your perspective on sex?

I often struggle with just getting aroused, let alone reaching orgasm. This means that I tend to think outside the box where sex and masturbation are concerned, like turning to things like e-stim and sex machines as a way of enjoying myself without aggravating my conditions.

I also tend to make observations in my reviews concerning things like how heavy a toy is or how easy it is to hold if you have mobility or grip issues.

Finn Moreau – Fuckleberry Finn (Australia)

When did you start sex blogging and why?

I began in 2016 because I had been avidly reading other blogs for a few years prior, I thought (and still think) my perspective was unique, and I wanted to geek out about sex without boring my real-life friends.

What disability and sex topics do you cover?

I mostly focus on how my physical disabilities – hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and PP Multiple Sclerosis – affect my sexuality, specifically the dislocations, spasms, and incontinence caused by these conditions. I have also written about autism, OCD, mania and depression, and psychosis, which are all conditions that I live with as well. I write both personal essays and product reviews.

What do non-disabled people in the sex industry need to do better?

I don’t think many able-bodied people understand just how diverse the experiences of disability can be. Even somebody who has the exact same diagnosis as me could have different limitations or capabilities. It isn’t useful to say ‘this product is for people with disabilities’ because a disability can be almost anything.

“Posting schedules and deadlines can be hard for anyone, but they’re particularly difficult for disabled people… don’t forget this is supposed to be fun!”

Why is it important to write about disability alongside sex?

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter lately about the desexualisation of disabled people. We are seen as sick or broken, and thus unlovable, and thus sexless. This is doubly true for people affected by sexism, whose sexuality is minimised or outright erased, especially if it does not centre men.

Name a product that works well for you?

The Blush Novelties Noje W3 is strong, lightweight, and curves to my body, so it doesn’t put any unnecessary strain or weight on my hands. A curved handle is an incredibly important feature I look for in any vibrator now.

What’s your advice for a disabled person who wants to start a sex blog?

Particularly for people who experience fatigue, I would say to start sex blogging without many expectations on yourself. Posting schedules and deadlines can be hard for anyone, but they’re particularly difficult for disabled people. Do as much work as you feel capable of doing, and don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun!

Zec Richardson – Sat On My Butt Reviews (UK)

How did you start sex blogging?

My blog started as a general disability blog. Writing it is very cathartic and helps me deal with a lot of my problems. Last year I wrote a post about sex and disability and it proved very popular. After that we received a lot of sex toys to review. Bonus! So the sex toy reviews just happened and took over!

What disability and sex topics do you cover?

I am a wheelchair user and suffer from Chronic Pain, CFS and PTSD, and so I tend to write about how disability doesn’t mean an end to a sex life, it means just rethinking things!

What products work for you?

Before we started sex toy reviewing, we had only ever owned sex toys for my wife. I was a bit embarrassed about getting one for me, but we were sent PULSE DUO LUX [you can read Zec’s review of it here] and some other male sex toys and I now realise how useful they are. When I am unable to move because of pain, they mean I can still have fun. I used crutches for many years, which damaged my hands, so we like sex toys that are easy to hold.

“I was petrified that my worsening health would end my sex life, but it has actually caused us to slow down, and the result has been a better sex life.”

Why do you think it’s important to write about disability/health alongside sex?

People seem to think that someone who is disabled doesn’t want or can’t have sex. We need to get the message out that this is not true, as it will help people who become disabled. I was petrified that my worsening health would end my sex life, but it has actually caused us to slow down, and the result has been a better sex life. I wish I had slowed down when I was able-bodied.

We have learnt to explore more, to not be so embarrassed about what is, after all, only natural. So we have experimented more and are happier from doing so.

How has your blogging changed since you started?

I have learnt to only blog when I have an idea and not to force it. The posts are better when it flows.

Advice for a new disabled sex blogger?

Just go for it and have fun, but most of all be honest in your writing. It is hard to do that at first, just as it is when you have counselling, but by being honest in your writing you will become more honest with yourself and those around you.

Kirsten Schultz – Chronic Sex (USA)

How did your sex blogging come about?

I started a Twitter chat using the tag #ChronicSex in mid-2015 that quickly morphed into a site by January 2016.

I work in patient advocacy and I’ve been writing about my illnesses since 2007. I’ve given presentations all over the USA about being chronically ill/disabled. With Chronic Sex I wanted to incorporate more of how my health impacts my ability to live a full life, including my relationships with myself and others, and my sexuality.

What health/disability and sex topics do you cover?

I try to cover everything I can in both categories, but I feel most comfortable writing about conditions I have myself. That list is looooonnngggg but includes Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), hypermobility, juvenile arthritis, fibromyalgia and post traumatic stress (PTSD).

Likewise, the types of sex and kink that I’m involved in are easiest to discuss. As someone who is pansexual/queer, genderfluid/trans, and exploring polyamory, though, I always try to cover things from really inclusive angles and not just ‘here’s what my sex life is like married to a cisgender heterosexual dude’. To help fill the gaps, I welcome guest posts too.

What do non-disabled writers get wrong?

A lot of people use ableist language, or language that harms the disabled and chronically ill community. I see general media using phrases like ‘wheelchair-bound’, for example. Not only is that a really uncomfortable phrase, but it ignores the fact that for many of us wheelchairs and other mobility aids are freeing – not limiting.

ALSO! People think accessibility is just one thing, like having elevators. They don’t understand that things like bathing in body spray or having fluorescent lighting make spaces inaccessible, too. Disability and chronic illness aren’t monoliths. What’s accessible to me with my 20 conditions isn’t accessible to another person with one condition.

“People get real sex advice and thoughts from my fat disabled self – not stuff meant for athletes.”

How does your health affect your sex writing?

I always trying to figure out how we can find accessible goodies and toys – or how we can hack existing things to be more helpful. I’m also constantly aware of pain levels, hand dexterity issues, and more. I think many sites assume everyone is in shape or has the ability to move in weird ways. I may be hypermobile, but even I can’t do those things! People get real advice and thoughts from my fat disabled self – not stuff meant for athletes.

Has your approach to blogging changed since you started?

I’ve gotten more focused on making things accessible, language-wise. When I started, I was working on my master’s degree in healthcare administration, so I got a little wordy. I’m working on fixing that, slowly but surely. I also now put image descriptions, content notes, and more on my site and social media. That’s something I wish more people would do.

Advice for a disabled person who wants to start a sex blog?

  1. Connect with others! There are so many of us, and we’re all really fucking cool.

  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – and don’t be afraid to be wrong.

  3. Develop a writing schedule for yourself. I’ve fallen out of that and it shows by how little I’ve put up lately (I mean, I’m also working two jobs on top of doing research and other stuff, but still!).

  4. Keep people up to date. If you’re gonna be gone, others are gonna worry about you.

  5. Rock on <3

So many amazing bloggers responded to our callout for this article that we’ve had to split it in two! Read part two here, featuring Ruby Rousson, Pillow Princess, Hedonish and Helen’s Toybox.

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