When I became disabled, suffering from chronic pain and fatigue, my first concern wasn’t that I could no longer walk. It was: “What about sex?”.
My physical limitations didn’t develop suddenly, but gradually over time. At first, my knees started to fail, and doggy-style became increasingly difficult. In an attempt to fix my knee problem, I was scheduled for major surgery. The night before the operation, I remember grabbing my wife in bed, turning her over and asking for doggy-style, fearing it would be the last time. It was.
It hurt like mad, but I was not going to miss out on sex in my favourite position that night. My wife was happy to go along with it, and I think she may have had a smile on her face – but perhaps not for the reasons I’d have hoped. She was never really keen on doggy style.
The surgery went well, but within a month of my full recovery, an accident at work put an end to one knee, and now I was even saying goodbye to missionary sex. It was devastating. Then, as my knees got worse, the pain increased and my hips thought it would be a good idea to play up as well. Would I ever have a good sex life again?
Thankfully the answer is yes. Well, more like ‘YES!’
‘I was forced to slow down’
Our first discovery was a modified ‘reverse cowgirl’ position, my wife loves the reverse cowgirl and it works well. We have found that the best way for me is to have her on her back, with me on my side next to her at a 90 degree angle. Her furthest leg is between mine, and her nearest leg is over the top of me. It may be a little hard to imagine, but it works and is easiest on my body.
Next, we learned about the value of sex toys. My wife had had a few vibrators over the years, but we hadn’t previously used them that much. However, when I started blogging about sex and disability, we started to receive some sex toys for review and we found that the latest sex toys were completely different from the products we’d had in the past. Gone were the high-pitched and cheap-feeling vibrations, to be replaced by deep, rumbling and quiet toys.
Adding toys to the mix made a big difference to our sex life, but the other major factor was that I was forced to slow down. Whereas previously I had been very focused on my own enjoyment, I now paid more attention to foreplay and the different ways to bring my wife to orgasm. If my pain levels were high or energy levels were low, I was satisfied with just pleasuring my wife and didn’t really care if I came. I was mentally satisfied seeing her orgasm, and meanwhile her orgasms were becoming longer and more intense.
The discovery of male sex toys
And then we received our first penis toy for review. It was something that I had never owned before, and I hold my hands up and admit that I was embarrassed about the idea of using male sex toys at all. I tried it quickly once and then stuffed it in a drawer!
My wife thought this was funny. She pointed out that I enjoyed using sex toys on her and she enjoyed me using them on her. So why was I so embarrassed at the idea of a sex toy for me?
I couldn’t argue with this, and I gradually became more open to the idea, and I’m glad I did. I have to say that there have been a couple of these sex toys that have almost blown the top of my head off because they were so amazing. One of those is PULSE DUO from Hot Octopuss: it produces a sensation that I have never felt before and it’s a toy that we can use together as it has a second motor in the top for my wife to enjoy.
When ‘sex payback’ disrupts our lives
When deciding whether to have sex, we not only have to think about my state of health that day, but also remember that after sex I can suffer from increased pain and fatigue for anywhere from two to five days. Usually after sex I end up dosing up on strong painkillers, which can leave me sleepy. So we have to think about how that may affect the rest of our lives. I’ll be honest, it’s usually my wife who looks in the diary to see whether we have an upcoming appointment or family commitment that could possibly be cancelled because of sex! And this often leads to my sexual advances being turned down.
We are now at a stage where if we are aroused and I am in a lot of pain, or those damn commitments stand in the way of us getting laid, I will just open the bedside drawer and choose a sex toy for my wife, and she will then do the same for me.
We are always looking at new ways to adapt, and are currently researching the various foam wedges and other shapes that are available to make sex more accessible.
So in answer to: ‘What do you do when your brain says yes to sex but your body says no?’ I say that you rethink things and let go of all of those preconceptions about what sex should be! Sex is about having fun. It is about excitement, arousal and above all connecting with the other person. And for us it is primarily about our love for each other, even after 30 years!