Emily Yates is an amazing writer and speaker who campaigns to make the world a more inclusive and accessible place. We’ve wanted to have her writing about sex and disability on our blog for ages. Here she tells us about finding sexual confidence as a disabled woman, and inclusive sex tips that work for her.
Sadly, I think that society lives in a bit of an exclusive bubble when it comes to sex. Porn sites are saturated with straight, white, hot, thin, able bodies, and any sex education we get during our school years is pretty basic, and undoubtedly less-than-inclusive.
I became a wheelchair user at the age of nine. A few years later I sat in a classroom, worriedly staring at the actors in a sex ed video. I was thinking, ‘How could I do that? My body can’t get into those positions!’.
In all honesty, I went through my teenage years pretty terrified when it came to sex, dating and relationships. I so desperately wanted a boyfriend, but believed that because I was different I was therefore less desirable. And I certainly didn’t have access to any resources about sex and disability.
I eventually had amazing relationships and a great sex life, but I didn’t gain any true, solid sexual confidence until I started working with Enhance the UK at the age of 22. Suddenly, the impaired, powerful, liberated bodies of my colleagues surrounded me and showed me that difference can most certainly be desirable.
‘Once the girl that boys befriended as their wing woman, I’m now writing about sex on a weekly basis’
Four years later, I’m answering sex, love and relationship questions for the Enhance the UK Love Lounge, with my colleague Mik Scarlet. I was once the girl that boys befriended as their wing-woman, and now I’m talking and writing about sex on a weekly basis; who’d have thought it?! And the best thing about it? It’s not rocket science. We can all be total foxes in (and out) of the bedroom, and there’s always more to learn. Here are some of the positions and toys that have worked for me, and that I hope build the sexual confidence and power in you.
Crouching Reverse Cowgirl
I have cerebral palsy and, for me, that means tight leg muscles getting in the way of most of the more exciting sex positions available! Up until recently, my sex life had consisted of 100% man on top positions, 100% of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a problem, but I was more than aware of the visual fantasy of girl-on-top positions, and slightly frustrated that I wasn’t able to make that happen. That is, until I discovered the Crouching Reverse Cowgirl position.
It’s very similar to Reverse Cowgirl, but with one slight (and much more accessible) twist. Instead of sitting upright and straddling your partner with your back to them, your legs can go under theirs (i.e. no straddle needed). You can crouch lower, holding onto the bed or their legs to gain momentum if your thighs are unable to put the work in. Not only does it mean no painful tendon stretching for me, I can still feel empowered by being ‘on top’, and my partner can get the same view!
The Queen Bee
Hot Octopuss recently released the Queen Bee, a great toy with a great name, and some even greater adaptations to ensure pleasure for all. This clitoral stimulator harnesses innovative technology for powerful oscillations on one side and gentle massage movements on the other. But what really impresses me is the long handle and easy-to-press buttons on the Queen Bee. Unlike bullet vibrators and similar, those with limited hand and arm dexterity can get ourselves off without having to reach too far, which can cause pain at the same time. The Queen Bee is a perfect example of smart technology merging with careful thought for everyday situations and abilities to create a sex toy that is one of the best on the general market, while being more accessible to impaired bodies than many of its competitors.
It may sound obvious, but so often we ignore it in favour of trying to appear sexy. We can all learn to communicate better, about sex and disability, about sexual preferences or anything else. If a particular position hurts or feels amazing, I let my partner know. If I want to try something new, regardless of how successful it’s going to be, I say. And if I’m not ‘up for it’ right at that moment, I communicate that. There’s nothing worse than enduring positions, toys or situations that you don’t enjoy due to fear of piping up. Better sex comes with better communication, it’s as simple as that.
If you ever have a question regarding sex and disability, don’t hesitate to contact me via Enhance the UK and the Love Lounge. And remember, regardless of impairment, preference or body type – you’re bloody sexy.
If you’d like to read more posts from Emily about sex and disability, let us know in the comments. And if you’d like to be notified every time we publish a post like this, sign up here.