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Neuroqueer and wanting to get pregnant

By The Love Lounge

The Question

Hello

I have been looking at your website as I knew about your work on sex and disability from one of your trainers. I am seeking to signpost a young autistic woman with moderate learning difficulties who wishes to become pregnant via donor and raise a child. She also would like support regarding her sexuality; her GP has not been supportive, and I wondered if you knew of any services which would help?

She has a very supportive mother who would help her to access support.

Many thanks

Liza

 

Our Answer

I have liaised with one of our team who also identifies as Neuroqueer and they were not surprised that the GP was not more supportive. GPs can be really shocking when it comes to information for ADHD people, and they have had a lot of bad experiences with some.

So, I have also researched some support groups which I hope will be useful for the young woman you’re helping. Unfortunately, neither of us were able to find a specific group regarding the issue of seeking a sperm donor whilst being autistic herself.  All I can suggest would be to approach a donor organisation and see if they have any tips/experience they can share.

Below are a few groups where she, or her Mum, can seek support from its staff or members who may be able to share experiences of being autistic and raising a child.

 

Support Services

This is the UK’s leading Neurodiversity charity. I’m sure they will have a wealth of knowledge and may be able to signpost you to more relevant groups on this topic.

https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/about-us/

 

Closer to her home I have found this therapy centre

https://theowltherapycentre.co.uk/therapists/county/12/discipline/13/autism-support-therapists-in-east-sussex

 

A.S.P.E.C.S UK Autism LGBTQ+ Community. This support group may be valuable in the area of seeking help from anyone with personal experience of donor pregnancies.  They are based up north but are looking to provide community meetings online around the country. Perhaps a call to them could be fruitful?!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/53253797142/?fref=ts

 

They offer peer support for people who identify as neurodiverse and queer.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NQsupportnetwork

 

And finally, I found a support group in Brighton. The Ledward Centre opened in May 2022 to serve and support the Brighton LGBTQ+ community. They have started a new series of monthly meetups organised by a team of regular volunteers, who have lived experience of various conditions under the neurodivergent umbrella.

https://www.facebook.com/theledwardcentre/

Message ellis.thistle@ledcen.org.uk with any questions

 

I really hope some of these services can help this young woman; talking to peers who may share their own experiences can be invaluable and often better than mainstream support services (as she has found out!). Someone in these groups might be able to signpost her to more specific services regarding the pregnancy and donor element.

 

Good luck and let us know if you find a great group we should know about!

Zoe (and Caroline)

 

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.

Keep up to date with all our Love Lounge articles by following us on Instagram @UndressingDisability or on twitter @ETUKUndressing.

#UndressingDisability

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A photograph of someone dropping massage oils on their hands

Our favourite massage oils

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

When it comes to sex, there are plenty of different lubes, toys and accessories on the market. However, nothing beats a good old-fashioned massage after a long day to get you in the mood. Even if it doesn’t end in sex, it’s a great way to connect with your partner while you unwind. It might even help to alleviate some aches and pains too.

Adding a massage oil to the mix can be a great way to take your back rubs to the next level. Although, it’s worth noting that a lot of oils are not made to be used in the place of lubricant and are not the same thing. Similarly, a lot of products may not be condom or toy compatible so always be extra careful.

It’s hard to know where to start as there are so many options out there from CBD to scented to self-heating oils. Fear not, we’ve done the hard work for you so you can sit back and prepare to relax

 

Here are our four favourite oils:

Grassroots Super Charge Massage Oil

Image of a white matte bottle of Grassroots massage oil

The first thing you notice about the Grassroots massage oil is that it smells incredible. This is down to a combination of essential oils which include neroli, sweet almond oil and frankincense. The different essential oils are great for helping you to relax and unwind especially linalool which is a terpene commonly found in lavender.

It’s also worth noting that the oil contains a whopping 1000mg of CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid which is thought to help with relaxation and also with muscle pain. But it won’t make you high as it is not psychoactive so it’s safe to use. This makes it a great choice for anyone who is looking for something that could help with muscle pain. CBD may also help with sexual arousal too as well as aiding sleep.

The pump is super easy to use as well so there are no awkward caps or screw tops to fiddle with. A little goes a long way with this one so you need very little top-up meaning it lasts for ages. One of the best parts of this oil is that the body feels incredibly hydrated after it sinks into the skin.

 

Great for: Value for money due to size and CBD amount

Avoid if: You struggle with strong scents or nut allergies due to almond oil

Price: £39.99

Website: https://grassrootsskin.com/product/super-charge-massage-oil-massage-oil-for-the-body-decolletage-neck-and-face/

Rating: 5/5

 

Templespa Drift Away Massage Oil

Image of a green bottle of Templespa massage oil bottle

Sometimes we all need to feel a bit fancy, this is where Drift Away comes in. It’s a luxurious oil which feels soft on the skin yet helps fingers to glide. The oil contains patchouli, lavender, geranium, frankincense, chamomile, myrrh, dill seed and orange, suspended in a lush base of sesame, jojoba and avocado oils, plus vitamin E.

The addition of patchouli may help to soothe skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne, or dry, cracked skin. Chamomile and geranium oils are thought to help with this. In massage oil, frankincense essential oils are often added to help soothe pain while helping inflammation.

Drift Away is not just a massage oil as it can also be used as a bath oil too so whatever way you prefer to use it – prepare to relax. A little goes a long way with this oil so you don’t need much to make a difference. The scent isn’t overpowering but it does linger on the skin which isn’t a bad thing as it’s quite a relaxing smell.

The bottle can feel a little heavy as its glass which means, if it falls, you will know about it. However, it’s a great shout for anyone who might be concerned about the amount of plastic. It’s also a screw top in comparison to a pump bottle so it might be trickier to navigate.

 

Great for: A good night in

Avoid if: You struggle with strong scents or nut allergies due to almond oil

Price: £26.00

Website: https://www.templespa.com/drift-away-bath-and-massage-oil

Rating: 4/5

 

Smilemakers Massage Oil: Wild Erotic Kneads

Image of a range of Smilemaker massage oils

If heavier glass bottles are a bit tricker or like us, you worry about potentially dropping them then we have an alternative! The Smilemakers natural massage oils are not just a light, easy-to-open product but also a lighter, easy-to-use oil too. It spreads easily across the body without feeling sticky or tacky.

There are two in the collection for consideration called wild and slow. The two products may look similar but are very different in that slow is a lighter, floral scent whereas wild is a deeper, woodier and warming scent.

In trying both, slow was a clear favourite as it contained ylang-ylang, jojoba and sweet almond essential oils. The lighter scent isn’t over-powering and helps to release stress from the body. If you prefer something a bit spicer then wild might be a better choice in that it combines black pepper, rosemary and lavender for a dark, woodier scent. We did find that the scent did fade a bit after a while but nothing a quick top-up couldn’t fix. A little goes a long way with this reasonably priced vegan product.

Also, the packaging deserves a shout-out as it’s well designed to open easily, leak less and be lighter to lift. We also didn’t have to spend ages worrying about dropping it once our hands were a bit slippery!

 

Great for: Light and natural product

Avoid if: You struggle with strong scents or nut allergies due to almond oil

Price: £24.95 each

Website: https://smilemakerscollection.com/shop/wellness/wild-massage-oil/

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Absolute Aromas

Image of the bottle and packaging of the Absolute Aromas oil

There is no essential oil product that you could want that Absolute Aromas doesn’t sell. However, it’s their range of massage oils that deserves attention as there is an entire range where you can find the oil that suits your needs the best. Not only that, but you can also purchase different size bottles which are perfect if you fear being stuck with a big bottle if you don’t like the scent.

The Refresh massage oil is a good place to start and it’s another duo product as it doubles up as a bath oil too. Three drops should do the trick and it’s great for creating a relaxing evening. The uplifting scent has sweet orange, eucalyptus and spearmint in it along with lots of other essential oils which gave it a more natural smell that appear to last the longest out of any that we tried.

The formulas are super hydrating on the skin when used as either a massage or bath oil so it’s great for helping with dry skin conditions. We found it soothing on irritated eczema which may be down to the addition of vitamin E.

It is also worth keeping an eye on their mobility massage oil which contains ingredients such as evening primrose oil and black spruce to help soothe tired joints or muscles.

 

Great for: Essential oils and long-lasting scent

Avoid if: You struggle with strong scents

Price: £9.50 +

Website: https://www.absolute-aromas.com/product-category/premade-massage-oils/

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Sex after a traumatic brain injury

By The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi,

I’m trying to find an organisation to help my son Darren who is sexually frustrated. He had a motorcycle accident in 1998, he had a TBI with frontal lobe damage. He has a bad limp and slurred speech. Due to the TBI, what he says can be inappropriate and often hard to understand which makes making friends difficult.

He is now 41 and spends most of his time since his accident in 1998 in hospitals or rehabs. Since 2016 he has been back in his own home with live-in PA’s but stays with us frequently too. We are his main carers and manage everything he needs although we are training the current PA to take more responsibility.

He is intelligent and humorous but has a short attention span and is impatient. Darren is registered on TLC, but they are a long way away and we are still nervous about using sex workers in case he decides all females are available for sex; I’m sure he won’t but it’s a concern for us.

Can you help us? I would love to meet someone like you face to face to discuss options and give me confidence in my decisions.

Mike

 

Our Answer

Hi Mike,

Your son’s position actually sounds very similar to mine – age, living with carers etc. so I come to this with some understanding of the scenario.

Did he openly said that he is sexually frustrated to you, or do you sense that from behaviour? It sounds like you’re really open with him and forward thinking – especially as you’ve taken the time to contact us.

On our love lounge site, we have a few answered questions that are relevant which you could also read for ideas. Here are a couple of links:

Love Lounge Top Tips: Becoming A More Confident Dater

Disability and Male Masturbation Toys

Online Dating:

Your son could try online dating. This can be a tiresome headache but can be fun too! He may enjoy the interactions and build up confidence. He can be open about the fact he sometimes says inappropriate things and the reason why – and the person can decide whether they’re up for that or not! He may find someone who enjoys it.  If speech is difficult but texting isn’t, he could build a rapport with someone via text and then they’re more likely to be patient with his speech when they do have a conversation.

The downside of online dating is rejection, or time wasting and things never heading anywhere. This is a risk everyone takes though.

 

Get a hobby:

Does your son belong to any clubs of interest? Maybe attending something like this, someone may be attracted to his personality and get to see the whole of him rather than judging a dodgy comment here or there.  He’ll then also be meeting people that enjoy the same interest as him.

 

Masturbation:

If he’s sexually frustrated and needs a quick release, I’m wondering if he gets the time, space and privacy to masturbate? I know this is a bit cringeworthy talking about, but perhaps his live-in carers need to be aware he may need to feel he can do this. Often this side of people gets forgotten about when they’re a ‘client’. Or, let’s say, people choose not to think about it.  Can he access porn by himself on his phone etc?

I don’t know his dexterity levels, and whether this prevents him masturbating, but we will soon be releasing our own range of accessible sex toys in the new year. Keep an eye out for them – we will be talking about it lots on our social media and The Undressing Disability section of our website. But the link above gives some options too.

It’s essential he has a carer that he feels completely open with, and they will support him in any decision he makes. Perhaps this could be part of your interview/induction process; have a chat with them about how they feel. It really is their legal obligation to support him with his sexual needs**, regardless of their own cultural, religious, personal values. Naturally some people will be put off, but this is such an important aspect of life that often gets overlooked for disabled people.

**There is a legal aspect with regard to carers and sourcing sex workers etc. Read the legal bit here

 

Sex Workers:

Another option could be a sex worker, but this wouldn’t be the right choice for everyone. Some people advertise specifically that they work with disabled people, and this would be better in the sense of their experience and kindness.  An organisation that we often recommend is The TLC Trust and you’ve said that Darren is already registered on there. It would enable the sexual release but not the relationship aspect he is seeking.

It really is up to your son and whether he just wants some intimate time with another person, a proper relationship, or a quick release…! But if you can discuss options with him and you’re happy to support him that will go a long way to him having his needs met.

 

Chat with us – Love Lounge Surgeries:

Regarding your son’s capacity, this sounds more complex so I agree that chatting to someone would be beneficial for you. In the new year we are starting to host Love Lounge Surgeries where you can chat with two members of our team virtually, for an hour. We can all brainstorm ideas then. It’s a completely free service by the way!

Keep an eye out on our website and book in a slot with us.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas.

Zoe

 

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.

Keep up to date with all our Love Lounge articles by following us on Instagram @UndressingDisability or on twitter @ETUKUndressing.

#UndressingDisability

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An black and white image of a person, naked with their arms in a posed position above her head

What is Body Neutrality?

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

When it comes to loving our bodies, there are plenty of us who would describe our relationship status as ‘it’s complicated’. It’s not always the easiest to feel positive about ourselves or to recognise when we need to take care of ourselves.

It can be really disheartening when you are having a bad day which can make you feel negative about yourself. While the body positivity movement may have started with the best of intentions, it can be an extra pressure to always feel body confident. This might be even more difficult on days when you may be experiencing pain or discomfort.

There has been a shift to a more neutral form of acceptance – body neutrality. It helps to remove the pressure of constant acceptance which can feel unrealistic. Allowing us to accept ourselves the way we are. It can be a healthier approach as it encourages a more natural acceptance and, respect for what our bodies like more rest or giving in to that extra treat.

 

What does Body Neutrality mean to me?

Emily Rose Yates, Head of Accessibility, and Inclusive Design, Mima and Ade Adepitan, explains what body neutrality means to her and says that self-care can look different for each of us.

“It’s accepting that your body is a vessel, ultimately getting you from A to B. It helps you to complete your daily activities, but the vessel needs to be respected, cared for, and looked after. It doesn’t have to make you feel a certain way,” Emily said. “You don’t have to love yourself and the way you look, move or how your body works but you don’t have to feel negative or disgusted about it. You need to appreciate that it is there and part of your identity.”

Importance of practicing self-care

While body neutrality acceptance may sound easy, the practice can be a different story. It is essentially practicing good self-care where you listen to what your body needs. Accepting it by resting, taking time out or even staying home. Instead of going out to an event or meeting friends when you are

“It can be different for people depending on interests, abilities and backgrounds. For me, the difficult thing has been the need for rest and to understand that it can be productive – and that I don’t have to feel guilty about it,” Emily explained.

“It’s been a really important point of not feeling one way or another about my body but respecting its needs which is a huge part of self-care. Another element for me is having a creative outlet and learning when I need to do something other than sitting in front of my laptop.”

 

Fear of missing out – or FOMO – can make practicing self-care extra difficult. A glance at our phones when we are resting can remind us of all the fun we could be having. Friends, families, and carers can play a part in how we care for ourselves.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that plans with people can change and that they can be flexible. You are not letting someone down or being awful by cancelling. Setting those boundaries, expectations and, acceptance with yourself but also having people around you who understand that” Emily said. “So that you are not having to constantly make up excuses because people understand the situation.”

 

Pushing ourselves to overwork, overproduce or be sociable when we don’t feel like it can have a negative effect on our physical health in the long term as it can lead to burnout. It can affect anxiety, exhaustion, and depression too. As can feeling a constant pressure to accept the way we look or fit a particular aesthetic.

“If we worry too much about the way our bodies look aesthetically and how that makes us feel then that can make us feel a certain way emotionally. On a minor scale, it can lead to unhappiness and wasted time when looking in a mirror,” Emily said. “On a major scale, it can lead to damage to the body, the mind and all these different things. The body is there to enable you to fulfil your potential as a person.”

Inclusion of disabled people in any movements

As with any movement, inclusivity is vital. However, concerns are still raised around inclusiveness of the body-positive movements. Especially when it comes to disabled bodies. Emily highlighted that there needs to be more visibility for all bodies including disabled people. “Disabled bodies need to be shown more, no matter what movement you are talking about. Representation of Deaf or disabled people, in general, is better than when I was growing up.”

“It’s’ definitely getting a lot better, but I think there is a long way to go.”

a young male carer with his disabled client smiling on a bridge pointing to the distance

Dear PA’s

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

Dear PA’s,

Firstly, thank you. Thank you for choosing to do this job, allowing us to live our lives as independently as possible. Without you we may need to stay living with our parents as our carers or have to reside in a social care setting. All of which might hinder our personal development and freedom of choices.

I know how hard it can be looking after someone 24/7 for weeks at a time. It’s mentally, physically and emotionally taxing. You’re always thinking of someone else and following their lead in the choices of how the day will be structured.

Different disabilities present different challenges. Living with someone with dementia will be draining in a completely different way to living with a 20+ something with a physical disability but full cognition.

However, something has really troubled me. I have noticed it many times over the years but this summer, going to many events, it made me sad and angry. It’s the observation that disabled people with a PA can be very lonely and isolated DESPITE having someone at their side all the time.

For example, I was at a Fatboy Slim concert on Brighton beach this summer. The atmosphere was electric. It was almost like a spiritual experience of everyone being on the same page, enjoying the moment and being lost in the music. Apart from one PA looking after someone next to me on the accessible platform. She spent the whole concert looking at her phone, sat or stood next to her client. I assume he had some kind of brain injury; he could stand a little bit but was very shaky and non-verbal. He was taking photos of the spectacle, yet every photo was coming out blurred due to his shakes. Why didn’t his PA suggest taking one for him? Even better include him in it, to make a crisp, focused memory for him?

Maybe because she wasn’t noticing as she was on her phone. Maybe because it wasn’t important to her. Maybe because she just saw her role as being there if he needed a drink or a loo visit. Not thinking about what this concert meant to him. Or how he may want to share photos of where he’s been.

Another wheelchair user came up between me and this guy. She put her arms round him and shared her euphoria with him, dancing, and grinning. She did the same with me and it was really bonding. I will never forget the smile on his face and the way you could tell he was set alight by this engagement. He was SHARING the experience with someone.

This is what is so important. Engage with your client. Even if it’s something you’re not particularly interested in. Try and show interest, ask questions, dance with them, comment on the surroundings. We need to feel like we are sharing our experiences with someone, like you would a friend. It is not enough to just ‘be there’ for us, disengaged. It can feel so isolated and lonely. It can also affect self-esteem with the reinforcement of their social status as a ‘disabled person’ out with their ‘carer’. Human’s connecting, be it with a meeting of eyes, a touch on the shoulder, a smile, a joke about the surroundings, is vitally important for our soul.

Let’s take someone who is paid to analyse spreadsheets; now, they probably wouldn’t say it’s their favourite thing in life, but they must give their attention to it to get paid and keep their job. Care is more relaxed in the sense you can look at your phone and be in your room or take calls from friends and family all day but please don’t let that lead you down the path of thinking you don’t have to give your best to your client SOCIALLY and EMOTIONALLY. You may find you get even more reward out of your job.

I have so much experience of this myself, where a carer is with me but not mentally. They are on their phones, and just pushing my chair round a shop. I speak, don’t get a response or one that is vague, proving they are not listening to me. It’s soul destroying. I’ve had 16 years’ experience of this. A client may then behave badly to get attention or withdraw completely; what’s the point of talking if someone’s not willing to hear me and care about what I’m saying. Being truly understood and having your social needs met is a huge aspect of care. And for some people, you are the only relationship they have in their life.

 

Yes, you really are that important. Keep being the best you can be. And thank you again for choosing this job.

Our top five favourite lubricants

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

There are a lot of reasons why people might need a little helpful lube from time to time. This can include medical conditions, dehydration, stress, or different forms of birth control. If you are a person who menstruates then at different times in your cycle, or even menopause can make a difference. Lube can help to reduce friction, prevent injury, and make sex less painful.

When it comes to buying lubricants, there really is something out there for everyone. However, it can be really overwhelming to know which one will work for you. There can also be a bit of a stigma around lubricants but there is no reason to feel embarrassed if you need one.

Lubricants don’t need to be expensive either as there are plenty on the market that are reasonably priced. When shopping for a new lube or your first one, you do have to consider safety. Oil-based products can cause issues with different materials including latex or silicone, not all products are toy or condom safe. If you are using sex toys or condoms, then you will need a water-based product instead so it’s worth double-checking before you purchase. Ingredients or formulas may change over time too.

 

Here are our five favourites:

Naked Grapefruit. Just Lube

Just lube literally is exactly that. It’s a simple take on lubricant without the complex ingredients or fussy packaging. As a result, it’s an easy-to-use, straightforward product at a great price.

Bottle of Naked Grapefruit Just Lube placed in front of a blue background

The small bottle is perfect for popping in a pocket or into a hand luggage bag ready for a flight. The pump design means it’s easy to top up when you need it to. While a little went a long way with this product, we did need a top-up from time to time with this.

The lack of scent was another bonus with this product as this can be really challenging for those with sensory issues. It may irritate sensitive skin or those with allergies too. Thanks to the colourful packaging and easy-to-read information – it makes a great first lube purchase.

The product is also glycerin-free which is useful for anyone struggling with yeast infections. Glycerin can be added to lubricants because it helps them to stay wet, but it helps yeast to grow in the body.

Just lube is water-based and is, therefore, condom and toy safe.

4/5

£9.99 https://nakedgrapefruit.com/product/just-lube/

 

Smilemakers Generous Gel

The texture of this generous gel makes it immediately different from the usual lubricants in that it feels thicker and less watery. Despite the thickness of the lubricant, it doesn’t interfere with any of the sensations during sex and it didn’t feel unnatural when applied to the skin.

In fact, the thicker consistency meant it was less messy than some of the other lubricants. This is great news when combining it with sex toys. We also found that it needed less topping up in comparison to the others. There was no artificial smell to the lube either which can be great for anyone who struggles with strong perfumed scents. The bottle was also very easy to navigate with a clear pump design and minimal packaging.

It is also made with only five ingredients including dipotassium glycyrrhizate. This natural ingredient comes from the liquorice root and may help to reduce inflammation. It may help with skin conditions or irritation that may occur during sex.

The PH-balanced and water-based formula is safe to use with sex toys or condoms.

5/5

£12.95 / https://www.boots.com/smile-makers-generous-gel-10271782

 

The Natural Love Company Simply Lube

This lubricant is a great option for anyone looking for a natural, cruelty-free, vegan alternative that contains no nasty additives or chemicals.

The product felt natural on the skin without being too sticky. The pump bottle is easy to use, and the lube doesn’t have a strong overpowering scent. We did find that it needed the occasional top up but that’s common with most water-based lubricants. It also contains aloe vera which can be soothing and calming on irritated skin.

It’s worth mentioning the eco-friendly bottle design, which is made from compostable, wheat-based plastic. The ingredients are also 99.2% natural including Forsythia Herb Extract and purified water. If you fancy a bit of a change or if aloe vera isn’t your thing, then the company also offer another version which has wild strawberry extract. Both lubricants are condom and toy-safe.

The natural love company simply lube, decoratively placed next to strands of wheat and a shell on a pink piece of fabric

Overall, this is a well-thought-through product which could be a great addition to the bedside cabinet. It’s also, thanks to the lack of chemicals, a good choice for anyone with allergies or sensitive skin.

4/ 5

£14.95 https://www.thenaturallovecompany.com/shop/eco-friendly-sex-toys/sex-accessories/natural-lube-and-organic-lube/simply-lube-natural-aloe-vera/

 

Sh!

Pure Lube is a bit of a bestseller thanks to how long it lasts on the skin without needing a top-up.

Despite it being water-based, it isn’t overly watery but has a silky feeling without any overpowering scent.

It was also one of the best value for money since the bottle is huge at 250ml for just £12. A little goes a long way with this product so it is designed to last.

The vegan lube is great for combining with sex toys as it doesn’t need to be touched up. It was great to note that Sh! also does a range of thicknesses including Pure Plus which may struggle with dryness or anyone who might be using dilators for vaginismus.

The lube is water-based which means it’s condom and toy safe. We found it easy to wash off the skin afterwards which is a plus. The pump bottle means it can be used with one hand which is great considering the other might already be in use.

3/5

£12 https://www.sh-womenstore.com/lush-pure-lube-250ml.html

 

Hoo Raa Wake the Neighbours

CBD lube is fast becoming a popular addition to the market, and it can be difficult to know where to start if you fancy trying it out.

Hoo Raa is a great first try product as the bright packaging is colourful, playful and not ‘overly-hempy’ or scary. At £30 for 120ml, it’s not the most expensive CBD lubricant out there. It contains 240mg of CBD isolate.

CBD, a cannabinoid, which comes from the cannabis plant is not going to get you high, but it may help you to relax. It may also be a great choice for anyone struggling with sensitivity as CBD is thought to increase blood flow to the area. It has also been associated with reducing painful irritation.

We found that the lubricant felt natural on the skin but a little goes a long way, so we didn’t need a huge amount. It can be a little cloudy in appearance but thankfully it didn’t have the overly hemp-ish smell that some CBD oils can have. While it was hard to know about irritation, we felt a bit more relaxed during use which makes it a potentially great product for anyone with anxiety.

This product is not condom safe however nor is it safe for use with toys.

4/5

£30 https://www.wearehooraa.co.uk/product/wake-the-neighbors-uk/

Silhouette of a woman in curtains

Speech and communication barriers during sex

By The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi Love Lounge,

I have communication difficulties as my speech is very slow and difficult to understand. I have a ‘friend with benefits’, and she has learnt to understand me better over time. However, she says it’s awkward in the bedroom, when we want to try something different or maybe alter technique, as she can’t understand me so it ruins the moment.  She has to ask repeatedly what I said and it slows everything down…and sometimes stops.  I feel frustrated and now feel I don’t want to say what I’m thinking in case it ruins the moment. So sometimes I go without saying what I’d like to happen.

How can we get round this issue?

Adam

 

Our Answer

Hi, Adam mate – my initial response to a message like this would be to say communication is key to a relationship and it will get better over time as you’ll find your special ways of talking. However, as you are enjoying a FWBs situation things are clearly different, so here are a few practical tips…

Could you maybe plan together what you’re going to do first? Yes, spontaneity can be hot but it’s not the only way to have hot sex. I guess the advantage of FWBs is you have a real chance to experiment without feeling too bad if things go pear shaped occasionally. So perhaps try saying before what kind of things you’d like to try. Maybe you will find things you’d never thought you would both enjoy.

You could also try to be expressive non-verbally. I’m not sure how easy you find making gestures but I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to find ways of saying with body language ‘Bend’, ‘Harder’, ‘Faster’ etc. It could also be hot for you to have your own personal sexy little code. Most couples when they get into it mainly just communicate through noises, grunts and exaggerated facial expressions. I’m guessing you could do this too.

Also as someone with a speech impairment too I can confirm all my friends have said I become a lot easier to understand over time. So if this person is indeed a friend you could just get used to hanging out more or being in groups when you’re together. I can understand how things get heated in the bedroom, therefore miscommunications seem more frustrating. But if you spend more time talking to each other when you are just hanging out it may be easier for her to tune into you.

And as a general point, please never think this is your problem, because it definitely isn’t. Your speech difficulties are part of you and if she’s chosen to have sex with you that is the whole you – including your speech too. Once you start feeling bad or frustrated at yourself things are just going to get worse. Ultimately it is her that needs to learn how to understand you.

I hope this helps you on your merry way.
Ted

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A selection of grey and orange vibrators in different shapes.

The top five ‘game changing’ vibrators

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

While choosing a new sex toy can be really good fun, it can feel a little bit….repetitive after a while. When a new technology, style or shape is released, it’s not long before a lot of brands start to produce a copy of their own. This leaves our sex shops feeling a bit same old, same old when it comes to sex shopping.

There are some out there who are offering something new and exciting but how to find them?

Sex tech designers are listening when it comes to taking note of our needs and wants from our toys. There have been huge developments to inclusivity and access in design as well as the actual functions of the toys on offer. While there is a lot more to be done, there are some amazing toys out there that have been thought about what they have to offer.

We’ve created a list of the top five toys getting us excited for all the right reasons.

 

Putting the toys to the test

Some important things to note about the tester: they are a non-binary person with a vulva so the toys are chosen with this in mind. They are also neurodiverse so sound can be an issue for them.

 

Satisfyer. Elastic GameYellow banana shaped vibrator and also shows its flexibility by having it curved above

Sex toys can be so incredibly gendered when they don’t need to be. As a non-binary person, it feels annoying to be ignored when all it takes is care with the wording and consideration of design.

Satisfyer has thought about this with their new toys which are described as ‘non-binary’. These two new releases are designed to be used by anyone. The Elastic Joy and Elastic Game are multi-use to the extreme in that they can be used in so many different ways.

The versatile toys can be bent, pulled or stretched into positions. This means it can hit the clitoris or G-spot, anal stimulation, prostate massage or even to stimulate the nipples. There are no ends to the uses you can get with this clever toy -even the box demonstrates several handy ways.

The toy can be pulled apart to create a ring too. With two motors on either end which can also be controlled separately, with seven rhythms and 3 intensities.

 

£44.95 https://www.satisfyer.com/uk/satisfyer-elastic-joy/

5/5

 

Love not War. The Heads Collection6 vibrators of different sizes against a sparkly backgrounf

The team at Love not War have created a very simple vibrator with a very simple concept – more orgasms, less waste.

It comes with a series of detachable heads which you can screw on (ahem) or off. The idea behind the vibe is that you only need to buy the base and charger once. Instead of ending up with several toys with multiple accessories and packaging. The toys are made from recycled body-safe materials too.

However, it’s the design of the heads that makes this stand out. It allows you to get creative with pressure so that if you prefer a firmer top (again ahem) then you can switch out that one. If you collect the set of five heads then you can mix it up depending on what you need at the time. This was a godsend for a neurodiverse tester working out what type of pressure they needed from a toy. In that it could be simply switched out.

The heads are all named after different words for love in various languages which is a nice touch. However, when it came to good vibes, the Amour and Kama attachments were head and shoulders above the rest.

 

5/5

Buy now: £69.99+ https://www.l-n-w.com/collections/heads

 

Lioness. Lioness 2.0

Okay so there is one downside to the Lioness, it isn’t available in the UK yet.

However, it’s one to note as it can offer a fantastic insight into the way our bodies….and our minds work together. We are counting down the days until it’s available in the UK.

On the face of it, the Lioness looks like an ordinary vibe. But it’s actually an impressive bit of technology. There are sensors at the side of the toy to measure pelvic floor movements and it feeds information to the app it pairs with to track your orgasm. It can tell you when your body changes, at what time and what intensity your orgasm is at.

The vibrator records this information over time too so you can see how your orgasm is getting better or if it’s getting worse. The goal of this is to help people understand their bodies better while improving relationships and helping aid experimentation.

It’s incredibly fun to watch how your orgasms change depending on circumstances. You can try different things to track how your body responds and you get an orgasm out of it. Science can be really good fun.

 

4.5/5

$229 https://lioness.io/products/the-lioness-vibrator

 

 

Satisfyer. Double Joy Partner Vibrator

The We-Vibe DoublPurple rounded vibrator with plus and minus buttons on the tope Joy is definitely one for the couple who enjoy a bit of tech and a fancier vibe. The C-shaped vibrator is matched to an app which can be used as a remote control.

It might sound like a lot of toys that are on the market but it was another feature that caught our attention, one that allows you to pair it to music. Maybe not be to everyone’s taste but as a neurodiverse tester, anything that allows us to cut back on the minor noises that set off our ADHD and put off our orgasm could be helpful.

Additionally, it can be partnered with a Spotify playlist to create an immersive experience. It’s a huge upgrade from the early days of toys like this that connected to iPhones using far too many wires. Not a lot of vibrators feature this but it’s a case of a small design detail that could make a big difference for someone.

The toy is designed to be worn internally with one end inserted and the other on the clitoris. C-shaped vibes can be a bit tricky to fit if you are relying on someone for help, but not impossible.  The vibe has 10 speeds or patterns that can be controlled on the toy through the app. You can also score some bonus speeds should you need to by using the app.

Double Joy is very carefully crafted with soft silicone which makes it easy to wear or adjust if you need to.

 

4/5

£44.95 https://www.ricky.com/products/satisfyer-double-joy-partner-vibrator

 

Self & More. Zumio X SpiroTip Clitoral MassagerStraight purple vibrator in a charging stand

The Zumio X Spirotip may look a little strange, but the unusual design is what makes it a game changer. It’s a super-powerful direct clitoral stimulator that isn’t shaped like most bullets. It has been designed to mimic precise fingering and uses a rotating motor rather than vibrations.

The toy offers eight powerful speeds which can, despite its size but thanks to clever design, be quite intense. It does have a little bit of noise to it which is completely understandable due to its intensity.

The tiny head of the Zumio may look a bit different but has won design awards and is easy to see why. It is a powerful toy that is a great choice for anyone looking for a firmer choice or an intense experience. The lightweight toy can be taken into the shower too as its waterproof.

The charger is another reason why this is a great purchase. It comes with a dock rather than an awkward cable or magnet charger which means a lot less fuss. But be warned, this toy sells out fast and currently has a waiting list so you need to get in there quickly.

 

4.5/5

£99 https://www.selfandmore.co.uk/collections/sex-toys-vibrators/products/zumio-x-spirotip-clitoral-massager

 

 

Read our top picks of quiet vibrators here

Male and female hands intertwined on a bed

Comfortable sex with Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy

By The Love Lounge

The Question

Dear Love Lounge,

I live in the UK and I got to know you through your website.
I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and my partner wants to have sex and wants me to have children.
I would like to be advised on the best sex positions meant for a person with LGMD and ways of getting pregnant.
 
I’m looking forward to your reply.
Annie

The Answer

Hi Annie,

Thank you for writing to us here at the Love Lounge with your question.  Firstly I must say that I have no experience of LGMD, so I cannot be completely specific in my advice. However, I have read about your condition.

Sex

From your email, I wasn’t completely sure if you were already having a sexual relationship with your partner or if this was to be new ground for you.  Primarily, your concern is to be comfortable and not feel pain during sex. You want to enjoy it too!  You will know what positions your body is comfortable in and to what range of movement you have.  Additionally, your partner can assist you in the movement and clear communication with them about your comfort is essential.  Explain to them prior to doing it, what you think would work for you and ensure you have the confidence that they will listen to you in the throes of passion, should you need to move a limb or such, if it’s becoming too uncomfortable.
If muscle control is difficult for maintaining a position, then a pillow can be a great aid for support.  Either resting a leg against it, or wedging it under your hips to elevate your pelvis, can all help with access!  There is some furniture and specialised cushions that can help you.  Something like this may assist you – Liberator Wedge, Sex Furniture
You won’t enjoy the sex if you’re in pain so please make sure you are comfortable the best you can.

Pregnancy

Now to your point about sex positions and pregnancy… well, from asking a midwife, she has assured me that the positions won’t matter! If the sperm is going to find its way up there, it will do so, no matter what way you’ve done it!  You may want to lie still for a few minutes after sex to prevent the semen dripping out of you, which may increase the possibility of becoming pregnant.
I hope this has answered some of your questions.  For more specifics regarding your condition, I would advise you to discuss with your Consultant as they will be aware of any other health problems that may affect the pregnancy.  But from my own research, it appears many women with LGMD cope in their pregnancy and can deliver naturally with assistance.  But, obviously, you would be advised by your own doctors.
If you need any more help from us, feel free to be in touch again!

 

Kind regards and good luck!
Zoe

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.

Keep up to date with all our Love Lounge articles by following us on Instagram @UndressingDisability or on twitter @ETUKUndressing.

#UndressingDisability

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Blurred out images of people on a bed with scrabble tiles in focus reading sex

Spinal cord injuries, intimacy, and sex

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

The support around spinal cord injuries (SCI) and sex isn’t great, and often isn’t even provided. Sex and intimacy are a huge part of a person’s life and will be impacted by this type of injury.

We spoke with Ian Hosking about his injury in the hopes that hearing advice from someone else in a similar situation may provide you with some support.

 

Meet Ian

Ian is a 52 year old man who currently lives in Wendover, Buckinghamshire with his wife, son, step-son & step-daughter .

At 34 years old, Ian and his then wife were in a car accident, leaving them both with spinal cord injuries, and Ian became tetraplegic paralysed from the chest down. Changing his life for ever.

Of course, this wasn’t easy for Ian to adjust to initially, however it didn’t stop Ian enjoying the activities he enjoyed. Amongst other things, Ian has a love for Wheelchair rugby, he played for 16 years and is now the chairman & player with Stoke Mandeville Maulers wheelchair rugby team.

Another of Ian’s passions is helping others with a SCI to regain confidence and navigate a new and unexpected journey. He has done a lot of work with the Spinal Injury Associations which includes delivering talks to organisations and groups.

Eighteen years on Ian has created a new life for himself and offers some great advice that could be useful to hear.

 

dimmed lighting, laptop on in the background with a heard shaped ornament on too and a candleOnline dating

Adjusting to an injury of this extend is difficult, and every situation is different. It caused a huge strain on Ian’s first marriage, resulting in separation for the pair.  After this, Ian tried online dating where he met his current wife 10 years ago. We wanted to get Ian’s opinion on when and how to tell your matches about a SCI.

Firstly, don’t feel pressure to advertise being a wheelchair user in your bio but also don’t hide it. After all your injury isn’t who you are, just a part of it. With a SCI, it isn’t always easy for someone to notice, especially if the pictures you are using are of you sitting down or from a certain angle.

However, as Ian suggests, it’s probably not a good idea for you not to hide it either. Ian would often talk about playing wheelchair rugby, which is a pretty good indicator. If someone stops speaking to you after this, then they likely weren’t the right person you would want in your life anyway!

We have a Love Lounge question answer more about disclosing disability when online dating that you might find useful.

 

Taking time to adjust

After the car accident, all Ian remembers is waking up in the hospital with his hands not working fully and with out being able to feel three quarters of his body. Now he has learned to use the function in his hands as best he can and is paralysed from the chest down.

One of the things Ian had to adjust to were leg spasms. With a SCI, the muscles are no longer responding to brain signals. Therefore, involuntary spasms can occur. This can be frustrating, you can take medication to reduce it but there is no way to stop them happening. Ian decided not the take ant medication and to just cope with the spasms.

Another adjustment is the loss of control over bladder and bowels. Accidents can occur, which obviously is not a pleasant experience. Ian says he was lucky as before his incident he didn’t have any issues with his bladder and bowels, therefore making it slightly easier to pre-plan his bathroom visits. However, this is not the case for everybody and will take a varying amount of time to adjust to these changes.

 

Ians advice

The number 1 thing is to be patient with yourself. You are relearning your body, and this takes time. You may find you now have different values and purpose. There is no ‘right way’ to adjust, so take time and learn what works for you. In time you will have new ‘normal’ routine, which many people establish through rehabilitation and support from family and friends. Which takes us on to having patience with your loved ones, communication is key.

Yes it is your body, but it will also impact the lives of those you are close with. Having an understanding to how others may react will go a long way. The people in your life will want to help, and any conflict or frustration can most likely be solved through an open and honest conversation.

Another piece of advice would be to stop trying to avoid problems and try solving them instead. What could a potential solution to your issue be? And if that doesn’t work then maybe something else will.

 

Intimacy Blurred image of someone lying on a bed. There are scrabble tiles in focus reading sex

Ian says the need for communication and honest conversations after a SCI made sex more intimate. The first step should always be honesty with your partner. This will also help relieve any nerves – which are completely normal for someone to experience around intimacy after an injury.

Planning your sex can be beneficial so you can make sure you have been to the bathroom beforehand and prepared yourself mentally if necessary.

One thing to consider and talk about with your partner is positions. This will depend on the level of injury as everyone will have different capabilities.

There are various medications that can taken which allows a male to become hard. Each with different strengths and side effects. For example, some medications will remain in the body for longer, which as Ian pointed out, is not ideal when it’s the next day and you’re trying to get about your daily life. It might take some trial and error to find what works for you.

 

Focusing on the positives

It goes without saying that adjusting to a SCI will be challenging, but Ian was determined to not let this change him from a happy and positive person.Ian and Lenny at his concert

He even laughed about how it can actually have many benefits. Like him and his wife getting priority seats to a past Lenny Kravitz concert resulting in being in the right place when Lenny did a walk around. Lenny then stopping and giving Ian a hug and kissing him on the head!

Ian also gives advice about the positives it can bring to a relationship, specifically being less selfish in the bedroom department. I’m sure many women (and men) can relate to sex sometimes feeling a bit…underwhelming. However, Ian says that his SCI made him more aware of what his partner wanted and liked. Pleasing them became more of a priority as the focus was taken off pleasuring himself.

 

 

Resources

If you have any questions about Spinal Cord Injuries and intimacy, write in to our Love Lounge where we will offer some practical advice to your problem

We also had Dr Mitchell Tepper on our Undressing Disability Podcast, who is a sex educator and coach who specialises in Spinal Cord Injuries.

 

 

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