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Disability and sexuality: Laura is a blonde woman with long hair. She wears a sheer black top and a fabulous splash of leopard print. She is smiling at the camera and holding pink balloons

Pride month: sexuality, disability and finding the perfect balance

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

We ask the wonderful Laura Drummond to write about sexuality and disability. In February 2024, we held a large photoshoot in the middle of London and invite a load of gorgeous, sexy disabled people to join us. The shoot meant a lot to all of us that were there. Laura tells us what the Undressing Disability photoshoot meant to her.

Meet Laura

My name is Laura, and I am known as @powerchairqueen_zebedee on social media. I am a 44-year-old disabled woman, and I became disabled later in life. I have several chronic illnesses and I have struggled with my identity over the last few decades due to this change in my health status. I have done lots of work over the last few years trying to find out who I am now, and I am now fully embracing my disabled identity, proudly and unapologetically.  

Embracing disability and identity

One part of the process of coming to terms with chronic illness and my disabled identity was about my sexuality. I felt that I was no longer desirable or attractive because of my defective body. It took a long time to love the body that I am now in despite of what it can no longer do. I have achieved this through self-exploration and positive affirmations. I do not believe in ‘body positivity’ at all costs as this is just not realistic when you struggle with the symptoms that your body throws up. But I took part in a modelling competition where I sat and stood there in my underwear to show that disabled bodies are just like every other body.

I suppose that the difference with an invisible disability is that no-one around you necessarily knows that you are disabled. This can have its benefits but also doesn’t allow for any allowances for your restrictions. So, although this competition was incredibly empowering and did amazing things for my confidence and my body acceptance it showed how the modelling world especially is not built for people like me, disabled people.  

Undressing Disability photoshoot

When I was asked by Undressing Disability to take part in their photoshoot with other disabled people, to show that disabled people are just as sexual, desirable and fascinating as their non-disabled counterparts, I absolutely jumped at the chance. I was full of anticipation when I got there and felt no nerves whatsoever.

It meant so much to me as a woman in my 40’s to feel sexy and seductive in what I was wearing and the whole experience was a fantastic one for me. It has helped me to explore my own sexuality more and after knowing for my entire adult life that I found both women and men attractive I had the dawning realisation that I am bisexual. A bit a of revelation for me in my 40’s and married to a man. The outside appearance is one of heterosexuality and I must admit that there seems little point in ‘coming out’ as it will do nothing to change my marital status and relationship, but it feels good to have done this exploration.  

Disability and sex

Following the photoshoot I have worked further with Undressing Disability, and I have learned more about the amazing accessible sex toy range that they have launched with Rocks Off. The toys themselves are a revelation to me as someone who uses toys regularly and realising the impact that these can have on those people who have not been able to explore their own sexuality due to their disability. There is an overall assumption amongst society, a wrong one, that disabled people do not have sexual desires and are therefore what would the need be for them to explore this?

Shop the Quest range by clicking here to visit the Rocks Off Website.

Well, does that mean that when I became disabled that I no longer felt any desires or have any sexual appetite? No, it absolutely does not. This is not something that can be turned on or off and this toy range is accessible down to getting it out of the packaging. There is nothing more frustrating than having to ask someone for help with something that you don’t necessarily want them to know that you have bought! You can literally get the packaging open with one hand, and the charging points are easy too, magnetic and not fiddly at all. Everything has been thought about, down to the buttons which are also large and embossed for easy use.  

Working with Undressing Disability has been literally life changing for me and I feel so proud to be helping to promote a charity that is doing such a great job informing and educating. I feel freer, more sexy, more empowered, and have made some amazing connections with other beautiful disabled people all with the same mission to let the world know that we are out here, we are sexy, desirable and we aren’t going away.

We are just going to shout louder with the help of wonderful organisations like Undressing Disability.  

Donate to Undressing Disability by visiting our donation page and helping us to continue the good work we do.

Want to read more about sexuality and disability? Head to our blog page for more articles like this

Sex and pleasure for disabled women in Nigeria

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

In this interview, sexual rights activist and researcher Susie Jolly interviews Ejiro Sharon Okotie, development professional in gender, social inclusion and disability rights. Ejiro shares her trailblazing advocacy work supporting disabled women in Nigeria with their pleasure and sexual expression, and why the need for societal recognition of their sexual rights is more important than ever before.

Susie: Tell us more about your research and advocacy work. What is it all about and what was the motivation behind this work in the first place?

Ejiro: In 2017-2018, while I was running training for disabled people in Nigeria on sexual and reproductive health and rights, one of the participants who had a Spinal Cord Injury shared, “After my accident, my biggest worry was if I still could have sex, less so my injury. However, I was too ashamed to ask the doctors and lived with that anguish for four months”. 

Another participant asked “At what point does masturbation become unhealthy?” Pleasurable activities like masturbation had been demonised and disabled people who engaged in it, were regarded as corrupt, bad, spoilt etc.

Meeting such project beneficiaries and hearing their stories made me realise how narrow our project had been and the huge gap that existed around the subject of sexuality and pleasure, especially as it related to disabled women. I realised this was a gap in the inclusive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) project I had worked on (implemented through a collaboration between the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB) and the Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria (JAAIDS)). 

I became curious to delve deeper into this area of research, to understand if exploring sexuality and pleasure could contribute to the empowerment of disabled women in Nigeria. My advocacy seeks to enable healthy expression of sexuality and pleasure for disabled women, and societal recognition of the need for their ability to exercise their sexual rights.

Susie: What are you keen to highlight about the lived experience of disabled women in Nigeria?

Ejiro: Being a disabled woman myself, a common phrase I heard when I first began working in development was “disabled women get sex by chance and not by choice”. I want to highlight the fact that the narrative of disabled women only having negative experiences of sexuality such as rape, sexual abuse or assault is not the whole story. Disabled women also have positive, healthy romantic and sexual relationships and experiences, and possess agency in exercising their sexual rights. This was very evident in a documentary we produced as an offshoot from the research. 

Susie: How are you seeing prejudice and ableism affect disabled women in Nigeria when it comes to their sexual health and sexual expression?

Ejiro: In Nigeria, as in many other parts of the world, only a complete and functioning body is assumed to allow sexual expression or enjoyment of sexual rights and sexual health. The general perception is that disabled women do not, or should not, have sexual needs or desires, require sexual health information/services or even think about expressing their sexuality. 

These ideas typically come from the immediate families of these disabled women, and extend into society. This lack of recognition of the sexuality and sexual rights of disabled women continues to disempower them, and make them more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and ill-health.

Susie: What changes would you like to see happen to better support disabled Nigerian women with their sexual health and sexual expression? 

Ejiro: A key change must be intentionality from parents, care-givers and broader society in Nigeria on effectively engaging disabled women on their sexual health, providing avenues for healthy conversations around their sexuality, supporting their efforts at a healthy expression of their sexuality and sexual rights, and providing safe spaces for disabled women to share positive experiences and support other disabled women who are survivors of SGBV or other violations of their sexual rights. 

We need a more responsive, sensitive, and proactive Nigerian population (families, community members, duty bearers) to foster an inclusive environment for disabled women as it relates to their sexual health and sexual rights.

Susie: Tell us more about the organisation you are running for disabled and youth.

Ejiro: The Hope Inspired Foundation for Women and Youth with disabilities (HIFWYD), is a woman-led organisation, founded on 27th February 2015, and registered as an Organisation of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria. The Foundation was established to empower and amplify the voices of women and youth with disabilities, with a mission committed to promoting and protecting rights and inclusive development through advocacy, capacity-building, economic empowerment/livelihood support, and public engagement. 

HIFWYD envisions a society where everyone, regardless of disability or any circumstances, can realise their potential and live their dreams. HIFWYD has implemented several projects on entrepreneurship development for disabled women, as well as life-skills programs for disabled girls. 

More recently we have undertaken several projects to improve access to inclusive, comprehensive sexuality education, especially for disabled women/girls in rural communities, as well as building their capacities as self-advocates to realise their rights through better implementation of Disability laws in Nigeria. HIFWYD has been supported by several donor partners with the most recent being the Disability Rights Fund (DRF/DRAF) and World Connect.

About Ejiro

Ejiro Sharon Okotie, is a Development Professional focusing on Gender, Social Inclusion, Disability Rights and most recently, Sexuality. Currently she works as the Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist for the USAID State Accountability Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) Activity, implemented by DAI Nigeria. She is a Chevening Alumnus with a Masters in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. As the Founder of the Hope Inspired Foundation for Women and Youth with Disabilities (HIFWYD), a DPO in Nigeria, Ejiro works to empower women and youths with Disabilities for productive living and equal participation in society. 

For more information about The Inspired Foundation, check out their Instagram.

About Susie

Susie Jolly is a sexual rights activist and researcher, and Honorary Associate at the Institute of Development Studies. She previously led the Ford Foundation China portfolio on sexuality education, with a 2 million US dollar annual budget, developing the strategy ‘the marginalised educate the mainstream’. This included supporting disabled women and young people to organise and advocate, supporting disabled activists to work on sexuality, and sexuality educators to learn from disabled people’s organisations on how to become more inclusive.

Girlfriend: two hands clasped together.

I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair – how do I find a girlfriend?

By The Love Lounge

The question: How do I find a girlfriend?


I am 33 years old, I have cerebral palsy and I’m in a wheelchair. I have been trying dating sites for a while. Do you have any suggestions? 

I have been trying to find a girlfriend online but I’ve had no luck.

I have not really had sex but I would like to.




The answer:

Hi Glenn,

Dating sites are notoriously difficult for everyone – but even more so when you have a visible disability! People judge too quickly and swipe left!

I wonder if it would be worth you going to a speed dating event? Obviously I don’t know if your speech is affected by your CP which may pose a barrier when it comes to speed dating.. but that option could be good to actually get to meet people and charm them face to face!

You could look at Eventbrite – things to do in the UK and search within your area?

If you want to explore another avenue to have a sexual encounter but with no relationship involved there is the option of using a sex worker.  This isn’t for everyone and should be carefully considered before doing it as some people feel bad afterwards. Yes, they may feel happy that they’ve lost their virginity but they can feel a bit empty afterwards.  You would need to think about it before pursuing it.  You could go on the TLC Trust site where they have sex workers who are comfortable working with disabled people.

Hope this helps, and I’m sorry we can’t be more specific about dating sites.  We have been doing a campaign on Disabled dating apps so check us out on Instagram Instagram Undressing Disability

If you ever want to have a more detailed chat with us, then feel free to book in one of our Love Lounge sessions on Zoom.

Best wishes for some success,


Want to read more Love Lounge queries? visit our Love Lounge page to see all of our questions and their answers. 

Let’s talk about it: Consent, love and sex act terminology

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

When it comes to consent, there is so much more to consider than yes or a no. It is about ongoing communication, discussing boundaries and what you are comfortable with.

One area that we often don’t think about is the effect that terminology and language can have. In the age of social media, language and terminology can often mean new words or phrases are coined then discarded a month later. It can feel confusing and overwhelming to try and keep up.

However, if you do not understand what a sex act term means, can you really consent? The answer is no and it means that we can often find ourselves in uncomfortable or dangerous situations as a result.

Here are six things to remember around consent

1 – Communication and respect

Consent is an ongoing process throughout sex between two people. It can be withdrawn at any stage and must be respected by the other person. Even if someone has consented at the start of whatever it is you happen to be into, you need to check in with them to make sure they are still okay during and afterwards. This is especially the case if you are changing activities, positions or introducing something new in the bedroom.

If someone looks uncomfortable, stop and ask if they are okay. Respect their decision to stop and reassure them that everything is fine. Making sure that someone feels safe and comfortable is key.

2- Confidence to ask

If you don’t understand a sex term – ask. There are hundreds of words out there for different sex acts from felching to cucking to shrimping. It can feel embarrassing to admit you aren’t sure or don’t know what something means but ultimately, you can’t consent to something you don’t understand fully.

A good partner will stop and explain what a sex term actually means or how they practice it. Don’t rely on a sneaky google to find out what something is because it could mean that your partner has a different understanding of it. Some acts especially those around pain or restriction require a good level of trust, respect and discussion around boundaries with partner/s ahead of time.

Want to learn more? We’ve filmed a series of videos with our resident S-expert Zoe Lloyd that can help explain different sex terms. Follow us on instagram by visiting our page to find out more.

3 – Disclosing health status

It’s important for someone to understand what they are consenting to. As well as understanding what different sex acts are and everything they entail, your partners do need to know your STD/I status too. This gives someone the opportunity to make an informed decision about birth control and their safety.

Regular testing for everyone involved is recommended and can be a quick proceedure at sexual health clinics or your GP surgery.

4 – Non verbal clues

There are lots of non-verbal ways that someone can send a signal that they are uncomfortable or want to stop. This could be anything from shaking their head, giving a thumbs down sign or holding their hands up in a stop gesture, pushing someone away, avoiding touch, moving away from you or maintaining closed body language. They may look upset, stay still or lie flat, tense up or go rigid as well as seemingly distracted or not present.

If you sense someone is uncomfortable or would like to stop then respect this and make sure you stop.

5- Drink and drugs

Someone cannot consent if they are too drunk or on drugs. That’s not to say you cannot drink and consent but if you are intoxicated then its a no. Consent can also not be given if someone is asleep or unconscious. If someone has been threatened or intimidated into having sex or performing a sex act then that is also not consent.

Unequal power dynamics are not consent either. This is when there is a uneven balance of power such as a student and a teacher. This also goes for someone underage too.

6- The importance of talking

Learning to talk about sex can help to improve the quality of sex that we have. As well as giving clear consent, discussing what sex acts you like or positions you fancy trying, it can also help us to communicate what we enjoy. The more you start to talk, the more talking about sex becomes normalised and easier to do.

Being open and honest with your partners means you can concentrate on having the type of sex you enjoy and you may find it can also be a turn on. It can also help your partner to learn what feels good and importantly, what didn’t so it can be avoided in the future.

Want to learn more about sex act terminology? why not visit our resource page to download our free guide to all the terms you may need to know. 

Want to read more about sex, consent and learning disabilities? Visit our Love Lounge page to learn more.

For help around sexual health and assault, visit the NHS support services page

Stress awareness month: A neon saying saying Breathe in among green leaves

Stress Awareness Month: How to help reduce stress levels and relax

By Undressing Disability

It’s Stress Awareness Month which aims to highlight the effect that stress can have on our well being, mental and emotional health. Not to mention, it can cause problems with our relationships as the last thing you may feel like doing is being intimate or affectionate.

There are lots of small changes you can make to help improve your mindset. There are some small changes you can introduce to your day to boost your levels of serotonin – known as the happy hormone -to get you feeling a bit better.

1 – Screen breaks for better wellbeing and less stress

Our workplaces are online now more than ever, and this can have a huge effect on our moods and our eyes. Not only that but after we finish work, we flick through Instagram or fall asleep reading Reddit. This can often mean our mental health and relationships suffer from screen time.

Being online constantly can increase your stress levels making you feel more burned out. By slowing down to take time for yourself, you can also improve your sleep, increase focus, and reduce eye strain or headaches. There are plenty of things you can do to unwind instead of insta. Why not try introducing bath bombs and a nice hot soak, reading a relaxing book while curled up, massage with oils or CBD lotions….without or without your partner!

2 – Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and the world around you. It may also alleviate stress and anxiety by helping you to appreciate life more.

If your mind wanders to future worries or past events, then gently bring your thoughts back to the present. It could be that you take two minutes of your day to pay attention to what surrounds you physically such as the room you are in. It can help you to feel more grounded. Listen to your breathing or try a slow exercise such as tai chi or even meditation.

3- Break the routine

It’s so easy to fall into a routine and it can be quite comforting too. Introducing short exercise breaks or spending time outside can help to get endorphins flowing and give you something to focus on other than what is stressing you out. It may even help you to clear your mind and sleep better.

It doesn’t have to be anything high-impact or stressful but a short walk through a park or down the street can have an effect. If you are unable to exercise, even just introducing a few minutes per day to do something out of your routine which is self-care orientated can help.

4 – Pack a good mood food lunch or office snack

The new year is always associated with healthy eating or going vegan, even giving up alcohol. Although it can be hard to continue to go cold turkey on carbs as the months go on. Making smaller changes can be easier to maintain over the year like adding seeds to porridge or swapping milk chocolate for dark chocolate.

Several foods make great snacks that can boost serotonin which is often referred to as the happy hormone. Bananas, berries, quinoa, salmon or dark chocolate all affect our wellbeing. These could be added to meals or snack times throughout the day.

Interested in how stress can affect your libido? Visit our blog to read more about its effects.

5 – Take up a creative activity

Creative activities can be a really good way of unwinding after work. If youve not tried art since A-Levels then there are plenty of other things you can choose from such as knitting, singing, writing songs or poems. Why not join a group locally or set one up?

6 – Add supplements for stress relief

There are so many supplements out there that it can feel overwhelming to start. Some are perfect for alleviating stress or helping you to relax in the evenings. Cannabidiol (CBD) has become popular for helping people to unwind. It is thought to work by interacting with receptors in the body potentially sending signals to the neurotransmitter, serotonin. It’s easy to take as it can be used as oil drops under the tongue or edibles or even as creams rubbed into the skin.

Ashwagandha is a plant and an adaptogen. It is thought that Ashwangha may reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone produced by our adrenal glands. Reishi and Lion’s Mane mushrooms are also said to have calming effects – both can be taken as a capsule.

 Recognising when you need help

Its important to recognise when sadness might be a sign of something deeper. If you are struggling with hopelessness, sadness, low mood or lack of sleep then it might be a sign that you have depression.

Reaching out to your GP or healthcare professional is critical as it can help you to improve your well-being.

There are lots of different helplines and websites that you can access:

Love Lounge

Our Love Lounge can help. If you are feeling lonely and need a chat or need a face-to-face, one-to-one session, then get in touch. It’s a completely free service offered by our resident sex and relationship experts who can offer confidential advice and discussion.

Get in touch by emailing 

Learn more about the Love Lounge by visiting our website

Wellbeing helplines:

Samaritans:  you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by free calling 116 123. You can also email You can also visit their website.

SANEline:  SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30 pm–10.30 pm every day)

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK: Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6 pm to midnight every day)

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM):  0800 58 58 58 (5 pm–midnight every day) CALM also run a web chat service on their website.

Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support for crisis and immediate help.

The Mix: (Under 25) The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3 pm-midnight every day), request support by email using this form on The Mix website.

Disability and dating: Two red heart shaped balloons floating in the air

The Dating Campaign: disability and accessible apps

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

We asked….and you delivered!

Earlier this year, we asked disabled people to tell us their stories of dating. In particular, around using dating apps as a disabled person. We received so many stories ranging from positive to negative, highlighting everything from app design to education needed, and how to disclose. 


Here are some of the stories we collected during the campaign:


“I’m going to tell you about a dating experience that I’ve had as someone who is visually impaired. I’ve had a few interesting experiences but a positive one that comes to mind was when I went on a date with a guy to the cinema. 

“At first, he was scared to ask if I wanted to go to the cinema because he didn’t understand why I would want to go to the cinema if I couldn’t see! But I like going to the cinema. He ended up being quite a cheap date because we had to pay for one ticket as we got a carer ticket for free.”

“I would say a lot of my dating stories have been quite similar. As a visually impaired woman, when I tell men that I have a disability their initial reaction is alright, that’s okay or if you need to hold my arm that’s fine. They don’t care so it’s been quite positive.”


“I decided early on to disclose my walking impairment on my profile to demonstrate honesty. However, I presented it playfully by saying, “I will still carry the drinks from the bar!” 

I avoided saying the actual medical condition as I did not want my potential match to jump down a Google rabbit hole and make assumptions.”

“When I did not disclose my disability I found when I did, I would be ghosted – which was not fun. I have received strange opening lines and two that will stick with me are “Do your lunges work properly?” and “I bet your disability increases attention.”  

“There is a lot of education and normalising of disability that’s required in this space.”

“One of the most important things to remember when dating with a disability is that dating is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone who is right for you. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your soulmate right away. It takes time and effort to find the right person. 

If you keep putting yourself out there, you’re sure to find someone who loves and accepts you for who you are. I know these are words that have been overused but the right person will be able to accept the disability and the person.”


“I recently started casually dating again or at least I’m trying to. I did this before I was disabled but not since. I was prepared for some ableism but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of it.”

“I’ve had a lot of the classics: men telling me I’m sexy despite using a wheelchair, or people asking why I use crutches. I don’t use crutches as I use a walking stick. I’ve had people ask me about my medical history within the first five minutes of chatting.”

“I’ve had questions about whether I can have sex even though I am on a sex-orientated dating app. One time someone found out I was a wheelchair user and he made a joke. He said, if we met up and I didn’t know about you being a wheelchair user then I would have made a joke about you being a catfish.”

“From then on, I decided to have one picture with me in my wheelchair and one with my walking stick. I’ve had fewer matches but more intrusive questions. You just can’t win, why is it so hard?”

Dating and disability: A person using apps on a phone in one hand


“As a neurodivergent person, I often find the apps a bit overwhelming in terms of their layout as it’s unclear what to press or how to tell someone you like them. I’ve sent way more superlikes than I intended as a result of this.”

“It’s hard to know when to tell someone I am neurodivergent as my disability is hidden. On most apps, there isn’t  an option or a space to do this. I tried joining a dating app for disabled people which listed autism but no other neurodivergent condition. I gave up.”

“I did join a dating site for autistic people which had a wonderful option to list your stims. First date nerves are the worst so I like that you can go in knowing that someone knows what your soothing sounds or behaviours are ahead of time. I also loved that you can connect using your common interests too.”


“This is a little story about one of my recent dating experiences. The person I went on a date with has a brother with a disability. It was easy to connect with them and focus on the date rather than anything else.”

“These topics do come up and sometimes you have to define your disability and walk someone through what you go through daily. Certain things might come up during the chat that make it a bit awkward or a bit draining for us as people with disabilities to talk about.”

“With this person, in particular, we had a lovely conversation which was very entertaining. We had some ice cream and walked around London. It was very cute.”


“I openly share that I am a wheelchair user on my dating app profile, usually with a joke, to prevent people from seeing it as a tragedy, but this isn’t always enough. One day, I received a note from a person that said “Everything happens for a reason, right?”. I immediately understood that they were referring to my disability. I accepted their message request and told them I didn’t understand why they would say that and that everything in life seemed very random to me.”

“They replied with a very long message. In summary, they just wanted to say one or two words because I had shared a “special” condition. They kept arguing that life works based on cause-and-effect relationships, that people always use this as an explanation for the things that happen to them, and that if they can be honest with themselves, they can have the right perspective on life.”

“They said that they were thankful that I was hopeful despite everything and assured me that I brought light to their day. Finally, they wished me lots of luck and said goodbye. They seemed very confused about how to see disabled people but I had a chance to explain what was wrong with their approach. In this instance, they reacted with extreme guilt, apologising over and over again. The problem was not my disability but their self-centeredness; and isn’t this always the case?”



Were encouraging anyone with a story to comment, DM, tweet, or post using the hashtag #AppcessibleDating. We want all stories – positive or negative or both!

Well then take the feedback weve received to the dating apps themselves with a list of proposed changes and ways they can better support disabled people with their dating lives. 


Follow the Campaign

Follow our campaign by searching the hashtag #AppcessibleDating and join the conversation by connecting with us on Twitter @ETUKUndressing and on Instagram @UndressingDisability

Want to read more? Visit our blog on online dating as a disabled person

Dating campaign: two hands held together in the shape of a heart

The dating campaign: #appcessible dating for all

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

This Valentine’s Day, we’re launching our #AppcessibleDating Campaign. 


Let’s face it, dating can be difficult especially if you are disabled. While there are a lot of apps on the market, how many of them are really designed with accessibility at heart? 

From better accessibility features to better resources for  challenging stigma – we want the apps to give disabled people the best possible experience and chance at finding love. 

Why APPcessible love and dating?

There are many reasons that disabled people find dating apps difficult. Some of these could be how to navigate the actual app itself, overload of information, disclosing a disability, understanding social cues or reading the information. Not to mention the reactions from matches.

“I have received strange opening lines. Two that will stick with me for a long time are, “do your lungs work properly?” and “I bet your disability increases attention.” There is a lot of education and normalising of disability that’s required in this space”

What do we want from our dating campaign?

We asked our audience to get in touch with their stories about their experiences of dating with a disability. We were blown away by those who reached out but it became clear there were several common themes throughout the accounts.

“The apps need to realise that they aren’t great for those of us who are neurodiverse. I would love to see a simpler, quieter design and layout. I find opening an app  with too much information overwhelming and just want to shut it down.”

Lots of you said that the apps need to normalise disability and make it easier to be more visible on the apps. There needs to be more education and information available. 

We reached out to a few of the more popular apps in the hopes of opening a discussion on how they could adapt to be more accessible. Not one answered us. We hope to change this moving forward  as we will share our research, stories, videos, app audits and resources. 

“I went on a date with a guy to the cinema and at first he was scared to ask me if I wanted to go because obviously, he thought, she can’t see, why would she want to go to the cinema? 

“When I tell men that I have a disability, their initial reaction is alright, that’s fine or if youneed to hold my arm that’s fine, they don’t care. So yeah, it’s been quite positive.”


We want you

We’re encouraging anyone with a story to comment, DM, tweet, or post using the hashtag #AppcessibleDating. We want all stories – positive or negative or both!

We’ll then take the feedback we’ve received to the dating apps themselves with a list of proposed changes and ways they can better support disabled people with their dating lives. 

Follow the dating campaign

Follow our campaign by searching the hashtag #AppcessibleDating  and join the conversation by connecting with us on Twitter @ETUKUndressing and visiting our Instagram @UndressingDisability


Read more about loneliness and disability by visiting our blog

Cervical cancer testing: A ball of pink and purple cells

Researchers aim to improve access to cervical cancer screening for physically disabled people

By Disability, Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

Researchers aim to improve access to cervical cancer screening for physically disabled people


A team of researchers at Keele University that includes psychologists, GPs and nurses, are leading an innovative new study which aims to help physically disabled women better access smear tests. It is hoped that this will reduce cervical cancer rates.

The testing, which is also known as a smear test, can be really difficult for many people. It can be physically challenging for many people with a cervix and sometimes impossible. Not only that but misconceptions about disabled people can make access even harder.

Cervical cancer testing rates

There are more than 7 million disabled people in the UK who may be likely to have a higher risk of delayed diagnosis and dying from cancer due to lower screening uptake.

Removing these barriers could help ensure equal access to cervical cancer prevention. It could also mean early detection of cervical cell changes therefore reducing the number of deaths from cancer.

The study has been funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). It is being conducted in collaboration with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and patient representatives. The study will involve interviews and surveys with people who have physical disabilities or conditions that make cervical screenings challenging. The team will also interview GPs, nurses and reception staff to gain an understanding of the barriers posed by the process which will help to highlight solutions.

We are very grateful to have received funding for such an important and largely overlooked issue and we look forward to working with stakeholders to improve the cervical screening experience for physically disabled women and people with a cervix, said Lead researcher Dr Sue Sherman, from Keele Universitys School of Psychology.

Everyone who is eligible for cervical screening should be able to access the test. Too often we hear from women who are unable to attend as a result of a disability or long-term condition, and this should not be the case. Were thrilled to be teaming up with Keele University to help identify and address some of the barriers and stigmas that exist and ensure more women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer,” added Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive of Jos Cervical Cancer Trust.

Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes changes to cells in the cervix. If this is left untreated, the HPV infection may turn into cervical cancer. Smear tests can help to determine treatment before cells turn cancerous if HPV is detected.

How to get involved with the cervical cancer study

Do you have a physical disability/ impairment or long-term physical condition? Does this mean that cervical screening is hard or impossible for you to take part in?

Would you like to join our project group? What does this involve?

  • This is a virtual study and will involve you attending a few online meetings throughout the project:
  • You will be reimbursed for your time.
  • The project is expected to last 2.5 years

If you are interested take in the road, please complete the following form/ scan QR code:


For further information an expression of interest, please e-mail doctor Emma Kemp (


Read more on cervical cancer and Deaf awareness

A pink rose in a jar

How do I cope with the power change in our relationship?

By The Love Lounge

The question:

Hi there,

I have become disabled in later life and unfortunately will continue to degenerate.

My wife and I have been together for 30 years and have always had differences in how we approach life.  This hasn’t been such a problem but now that I am less independent it is becoming more apparent. There is a shift in the power dynamic of our relationship that I’m not comfortable with, due to her being the breadwinner. This is having an impact on us sexually too. I almost feel I have to do what she wants and that I’m not considered as much. I think I feel a bit used.



The answer:

Hello Geoff,

Thanks for your honesty.  It can be really hard for couples to adapt when disability comes into the relationship. It sure can throw out the dynamics that were there before and both of you will be dealing with a whole heap of emotions brought about by the change.

Unfortunately, a lot of disabled people can feel like they’re a burden to family members, friends etc.  It sounds like you and your wife aren’t singing from the same hymn sheet, as it were, and perhaps never have – but it’s now more obvious and creating problems.  I would always encourage checking in with someone regularly asking them how they’re feeling and also getting your feelings heard.  Sounds easy – but not always if the other partner is defensive or doesn’t want to meet you in the middle. 

I don’t know if you feel you can be vulnerable with her – particularly as you say you’re feeling a shift in power.  Usually being vulnerable results in closeness, but equally you need to ensure you feel safe with her (emotionally).  I guess this could play out as having a few small conversations to get her thinking, before you drop the big info about feeling used.  Test the waters first.  Sometimes, if you’re not feeling heard or a conversation quickly escalates into an argument, then perhaps writing a heartfelt letter could be more effective.  She can read and assimilate it when calm and not so defensive.

She may be feeling like she’s carrying the load now and so then gives the air that you should be doing something for her (eg the sexual stuff) and you probably feel like you want to give back/owe her. Maybe let her know that you think she’s doing a great job and you’re proud of her. Maybe she is feeling unseen and is trying to establish a strong role for herself now that your situation is changing. We don’t know if she’s scared of the future as your condition is getting worse. People react in different ways.  This could be pretty complex stuff so if things don’t improve, I would suggest going to a couples therapist where you can both safely express your fears and wishes.

Contact Us

Everyone who writes into our Love Lounge receives an email with a private answer to their question. We then anonymise the Q&A and share them here on our website to help others who may be struggling with the same concern.  Get in touch if you’d like some advice.

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The Quest sex toy range

My Quest: Ellie’s inclusive sex toy joy

By Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

Launching our Quest range was one of the best parts of 2023 and we have been blown away by the response. We wanted to share this wonderful piece of writing by Ellie who tried a few of the Quest toys.

Im Ellie, a 21-year-old student at Liverpool Hope University studying Disability Studies, and I identify as a disabled woman. My physical impairment goes by the name Cerebral Palsy and prevails in all four limbs of my body, meaning that I am also a powered wheelchair user.

I would say that I have always been quite confident and outgoing; however, reflecting on my secondary school experiences, this was not the case. Studying Disability Studies has been transformative and permitted me to reflect on these past experiences to reveal a new identity for myself. Framing disability as a social construction has truly shown me what it means to be confident in yourself and realise that I am entitled to access whatever I please – its just advocating for barrier removal. This self-actualisation has permitted me to embrace who I am, with no justifications needed, and is what got me involved with Enhance.

Growing up, the thought of sexual pleasure subtly resided in the back of my mind, but I mundanely shrugged this off. Given that I had to navigate through a somewhat segregated and ableist secondary school environment, I didn’t see sexual pleasure as a priority or a right. I know it’s a cliche, but university certainly changed my perspective about disability and my identity as a disabled young woman.

Sex, sexuality and disability

Studying the topic of sexuality and disability at university reaffirmed that disabled people have sexual desires and the right to express themselves sexually. Of course, being disabled myself, I already knew this, but the newfound self I discovered during my time at university gave me a tremendous urge to explore my options further.

I began resonating back with my younger self, recognising that the lack of information around disability and sexual pleasure made me feel quite self-conscious about my little understanding of how I can access things like sex toys, having so many questions about the functionality of using a sex toy.

Of course, growing up, I’ve tried masturbating and have always found that I can’t position my hand even to get close, or my involuntary hand movements make the attempt too forceful and uncoordinated, which is uncomfortable.

Through discovering a passion for this topic and the personal journey of self-discovery and acceptance, I plucked up the courage to contact the Love Lounge. It was so refreshing to be in an environment that encapsulated the essence of validation and advocacy. I felt incredibly at ease exploring how I could better facilitate my sexual desires, and this is where I learned about the Quest Adventure panty vibrator.

I was just compelled and amazed that adapted sex toys exist. These toys should be marketed with no question, but being absconded from sexual pleasure for most of my adolescence, this was something to get excited about! From the accessible packaging to the performance, I’ve been impressed by the product and its functionality, speaking from a disabled person’s perspective!

I’ve found that it’s more than just a toy; it’s the self-actualisation that I can masturbate, and the lack of discussion about disabled people being able to pleasure themselves is what needs addressing in society. Enhance fosters this perfectly, further empowering me to embrace my identity and instil this in other disabled girls similar to my teenage self!

Interested in the Quest range? Why not visit the Quest website

Got a problem for our sexperts at Love Lounge? Send in your questions and have a chat with us by visiting our Love Lounge page.