Sexologist and Massage therapist
Back in 2010 whilst studying sexology, I met a 25-year-old woman. She was just like most women her age: full of sexual desires – except for not having had sex either with herself or with others for 6 years. This was not because she didn’t want to, but because her muscular dystrophy prevented her.
Her frustration and unmet needs made a strong impression on me and, on my way home I was thinking: “When I am horny and alone I can masturbate – I may not always be able to find a sexual partner (I wish), but I am able to satisfy myself if needs be. Everyone should be able to do that – but how could this lady? And how can all the other men and women I similar positions?
Some turn to sexworkers and prostitutes, but for legal, moral, safety or personal reasons for some its just not an option. So I came up with the concept of Assisted Masturbation (for which my organisation, Handisex (handisex.dk) was rewarded the Golden Flying Penis Award). Assisted masturbation differs from prostitution in that the assistant does not participate in the act itself, but rather facilitates the possibility for bodily pleasure by finding a suitable toy and placing or fastening it in a manner that provides the necessary joyful stimulation. You can read a more thorough description here: Assissted Masturbation
Thus the core concept simply provides sex toys that at least some disabled can use either alone or with the assistance of a care provider, friend, or even a sex worker. My project has proven rather challenging at times. It’s one thing if you can hold the toy yourself, an entirely different story, if you need assistance – playing with your privates is after all a delicate and for most people a sensitive and private affair. Many of my disabled clients though live a life of dependency of others in many areas of daily life thus in some way already deprived a private life in many aspects.
To give you a more vivid idea of Assisted Masturbation I will give you a few cases.
One of my first clients was a 50 year old woman who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early thirties. Her condition had left her paralyzed and incapacitated in most of her bodily functions.
After the initial sessions of creating the necessary trust and signing the obligatory letter of consent, the assessment of her situation, her desires and possibilities revealed that it has been 20 years since she had sex and that she never had an orgasm – neither during masturbation nor with a partner. She knows she is dying and now wants to feel some kind of pleasure in an her life of pain and helplessness. We ended up trying a combo toy from Rends, stimulating both the clitoris and vagina. Despite her appalling bodily state she experiences not only her first orgasm, but what turned out to be multiple orgasms – falling peacefully asleep with glowing cheeks and a smile on her face. She died a few months later, after she had enjoyed assisted masturbation regularly with similar result. In some ironic way, you could argue that her sexuality was more alive on her dying bed than when she was still healthy and well.
Another client of mine was in his mid-twenties with cerebral palsy, struggling with his sexual identity and lacking the most basic knowledge of his bodily functions. After many sessions with just giving him an understanding and even a language for normal bodily sensations and reactions like erection and ejaculations, he was curious and eager to explore whether his male organ could provide something a little more fun than just pee!. With the help of a mirror, patience and the male sex toy Hot Octopuss, he got started feeling erotic warmth and then a climax. His reaction afterwards was to burst into a laugh of amazement’ exclaiming “I can’t believe it has taken 25 years to get to know my willie!”
Their stories still touch me – horrified by their conditions, impressed by their courage, grateful that they had such wonderful experiences and disheartened that it took them so long to experience something which should have been taught to them at school or when they became disabled.
This is especially true in Denmark, where there is in fact legal obligations to asses and address any need that a disabled person might have – including sexuality. But few social workers or care workers are even aware of that responsibility. Whether personal help with toys is possible for you or not depends on the law in your country, the moral codes of your society and the sexual awareness and knowledge of you and the people surrounding you.
Another, maybe more surprising challenge, is to find sex toys that can live up to two criteria – one: actually being a quality product giving adequate stimulation. Two: It works hands free or otherwise suitable for reduced hand function.
Of course sex toys are in general made for non-disabled people – and hands free at best is invented for people wanting to surf porn at the same time as being stimulated, but being a billion dollar industry, its surprising how much rubbish is sold. See this: https://www.beyonddelights.com/blogs/news/guide-to-adult-toys-the-importance-of-choosing-body-safe-materials .
I have personally put my privates to the test in machines which turned out to be far from suitable for the impairments of my clients.
There is though some good stuff out there of which I have made a list that might come in handy, so to speak, for the newbies, bearing in mind that some toys that work wonders with one person may seem futile and useless to others. I have no connections with any sex-shops or sex toy manufacturers.
Remember water based lube is essential with all toys!
There is an enormous range of toys available and any effort to produce a list here would be limited and incomplete. We have provided links to some sites that may be of use. They all sell products that are proven to work, but depending on the disability some toys may prove unsuitable and difficult to use. Look through the products they offer and chose one, or more, that cater for your own requirements.
If you find the variety daunting, take your time and if you still find it