Dr Tuppy Owens, Editor
This website came about after disabled people in Outsiders and on the Sex and Disability Helpline told me that their sex education had been worse than useless – and these were mostly young people.
I set up Outsiders in 1979 as a club for physically, sensory and socially disabled people to make friends, enjoy peer support and find partners. We have members all over the world but most are in the UK. It has been a joy to be part of, and I have been privileged to listen to many different people and learn from them. I never forget one conversation long ago. I asked guy with no arms if he could masturbate with his feet. He told me ‘yes’, but, looking at me eagerly, he added, ‘but hands are better!’ I studied sex therapy at St George’s Hospital, London University and was awarded my diploma in the 1980s. I did this training so that I could be sure to answer questions asked by members with professional knowledge.
In 2005 I started the Sex and Disability Helpline for disabled people and their support staff. I get calls from people all over the UK and emails from disabled people abroad. Callers are happy to at last found somebody who takes them seriously. One day, when I was sitting on a bus, a young guy with spina bifida called to say he couldn’t orgasm from stimulating his penis. I suggested he try stimulating his prostate gland, and please let me know. He called back to say ‘Thanks, you have helped me reach my first orgasm!’ I was thrilled but wondered, where do I advertise this discovery – The Times perhaps?
Disabled people agreed that the best people to teach them about sex would be the sex workers who specialise in seeing disabled clients. But sex workers would never be allowed to come and teach in schools! Then a colleague suggested that a book with chapters written by disabled people themselves. But books are expensive and cannot be read by blind people, so much better to provide the teaching in an accessible, open source format. We now have this website and don’t have to worry about deadlines, stuffy publishers or shops. Fortunately, I have a wonderful webmaster, John Keiller, who works for Outsiders for very little payment and he is wonderfully creative and proficient.
One topic I need to cover: porn should not be used as education as it leads to painful anal sex – people need to use 10 Rules of Anal Sex by Jack Morin – the only decent source of information
I knew this would be a tremendous task for me, as not everyone who has masses of knowledge can write well, and they might need help. I searched for people who knew about sex and disability to help me with the editing, I was advised to hire a professional editor who both approved of the subject matter and would work sensibly beside me. Thankfully I found Mark Rivlin who vets all the work.
To general sex information, here are my recommendations for general sex and relationship books and websites. Specialist references are both included in the chapters and listed in a Resources section at the end.
I am always amazed how few disabled people spend time studying sex books. Becoming knowledgeable is really an impressive way to convince a new partner that you are to be treasured.
Sex with the Lights on by Ducky Doolitle. Provides the nitty-gritty of male and female bodies and sexual pleasures, with some references to disability.
Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides. This is great because it quotes individuals and covers everything that young people worry about, including disabled people.
The New Joy of Sex by Susan Quilliam. Beautiful and gentle sex education book, with lovely photos and a tender tone. Includes stuff for the disabled reader.
The Sex Book by Suzi Godson with Mel Agace. Lovely clear diagrams of the genitals etc., and wonderful quotes, including:
“I put all these stupid specifications in my personal ad, like ‘must be tall and not bald’. I got a lot of replies I was interested in, but the funniest one was one called Richard, who complained about my discriminatory ad. I married him.”
The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld. Bernie is a psychologist specializing in human sexuality. He shares his and his clients’ experiences to produce a most comprehensive guide to enhancing desire and arousal, focusing on pleasure rather than performance, and keeping sex exciting and fulfilling
The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women by Mikaya Heart. A comprehensive account of reaching orgasm.
Exhibitionism for the Shy by Carol Queen. A book, which is about far more than just exhibitionism and could be very useful for disabled people who want to find new ways of enjoying sex.
Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns — The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism by Philip Miller and Molly Devon. The best instruction book on BDSM play and relationships.
There is no Word for it by Laura Bridgeman and Serge Nicholson. A positive book about how transsexuals enjoy sex.
http:/www.dodsonandross.com Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross have produced a website with much of the wisdom of New York pioneer Dodson preserved. She was the first person to provide workshops to teach pre-orgasmic women how to masturbate using vibrators and to love their own genitals.
http:/www.bish.com British website which helps people work things out for themselves rather that bombard you with facts, aimed at over 14s and produced by a qualified and experienced sex educator.
http://sexetc.org/ American sex education site for teenagers, with a huge glossary.
http://www.scarleteen.com/ American sex education for the real world – aimed at teens and young adults.
www.scribd.com/doc/86887/10-Rules-of-Anal-Sex-by-Jack-Morin 10 Rules of anal sex written by the expert on the subject, Jack Morin. Note, there is much misinformation written about anal sex.
http://www.sexuality.org Information both in the written word and educational videos.
https://geekdad.com/2014/02/ Recommendations for parents who want to ensure their children are educated properly.
Note to parents, teachers and health and social care professionals
This is sex education which disabled people themselves have chosen to read/write about. We hope that parents and professionals will read this (instead of perhaps restricting and censoring disabled people). Having a good sex education will make them safer and happier.
If you are teaching sex education in mainstream schools, be sure to mention disabled people, just like you would speak about LGBT people. Equally, please do invite the disabled people in the class (remembering some may have hidden impairments) to come along to a special class so you can teach them useful things that are applicable to them (which you read on this website).
How to make the most of this websites
There are treasures in most of our sections and I suggest you read all of them. If you disagree with what is written, and/or would like to write something for us, or send your blog, please get in touch with me at Tuppy@Outsiders.org.uk.