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close up photograph of two people putting their wedding rings on each other hands

Overcoming Wedding Day Nerves

By The Love Lounge


The Question

Hi, I’m excited to say I’m getting married next year but I’m quite anxious about some aspects of the day as I’m a wheelchair user and can’t stand up at all. I’m nervous about how everyone will look at me when I come down the aisle, or when we have our first dance. I don’t want to feel awkward just because it’s not going to be the ‘normal’ way of doing things. Do you have any ideas as I’ve never seen a wedding where the bride is in a wheelchair?

Leanne x


The Answer

Hi Leanne,

Firstly, a big Congratulations!

You have loads of experience, I’m sure, of having to adapt the ‘normal’ way of doing things. It’s standard for us disabled people! So your wedding will be no different. Make it your own. There are lots of things to think about when planning a wedding – venue, guests, dress, photos. They’re all things you want to get right when planning your day. Some people spend years planning these things and being disabled can make planning a wedding more complicated.


Finding a venue that is accessible can be full of difficulties. Things to look at include wheelchair access, accessible toilets and if you’re booking a venue that guests can stay at, making sure there are accessible rooms for disabled guests. It may also be worth enquiring if the honeymoon suite is accessible as if you are disabled you should not be excluded from using the honeymoon suite if you are getting married at a hotel style venue.

Wedding dress

Make sure you spend time looking at dresses and trying them on. If you have hand dexterity issues you may need to think about zips and buttons and if you will need someone to help you get in and out of the dress. If you are a wheelchair user, you may also need to think about how the dress will look when you’re sitting in your chair. Or if you are an ambulant wheelchair user, you may want a dress that looks good both in your chair or if you stand.

Coming down the aisle

There is often pressure for brides to walk down the aisle and to have the perfect photos. If it is not possible for you to walk or you may use all of your energy doing this, try not to stress about this or let it get you down. The day is about you and your partner so do what feels best for you both rather than worrying about what others think. There are plenty of examples of people coming down the aisle in groups dancing or doing something funny – again, removing that pressure and focus on you ‘walking’ down the aisle and staring at you. But people know you as a wheelchair user so equally be proud of that and flaunt it if you want!


This also goes for wedding photos; you may think of fun ways of using your wheelchair or mobility aids in your photos. Don’t feel any pressure to not use them. They are part of you, so don’t feel you need to disguise or hide them for your wedding day.

First Dance

The first dance can also put a lot of pressure on couples. It seems the days are gone when a simple slow dance would do. Even that can feel awkward if you’re a wheelchair user. Many people do complex fun dances, maybe including all the groomsmen and bridesmaids… this may make it seem even more daunting but actually you can make this really fun with whatever ability you have. It can make you
less conspicuous too if you’re worried about that.

(But everyone will want to see you looking glowing, happy and having fun! It’s all about you!)
The main thing is to enjoy the day as much as you can, as the day will fly by so it’s best to do everything that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Weddings are less formal nowadays and less structured in their tradition – anything goes! So you really can tailor it around your disability and omit or add bits you want that suit your personality best!

Hope you have the best day,
Zoe and Damian x

The Love Lounge Team


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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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Take Control of Your Wellness: Create a Self-Care Routine with CBD

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

Do you often feel overwhelmed by your wellness routine? It can be hard to know where to start, and sometimes it feels like you’re doing all the wrong things. CBD oil and other products can help take some of the guesswork out of creating a self-care routine that works for you. CBD is known for its calming and relaxing effects, making it the perfect addition to any self-care regimen. Below, we will discuss how CBD can help improve your well-being and give you the tools to create a self-care routine that’s perfect for you!

Why You Should Take Self-Care Seriously

Before we get too far into the weeds, we need to establish that self-care is an important practice for everyone. Self-care can be defined as any activity that allows you to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This can include anything from getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet to relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Everyone can do with a bit of self-care, regardless of physical condition or state of mind. Based on that definition, it should come as little surprise that CBD can also play a role in self-care by providing an extra layer of relaxation and calming effects.

How CBD Can Benefit Your Wellness Routine

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound derived from members of the cannabis sativa plant family, most commonly hemp or marijuana. One of the major benefits of CBD both legally and self-care-wise is that, unlike the other popular cannabinoid THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is a non-psychoactive drug. In other words, CBD can positively alter your state of mind but won’t get you “high” the way you might with substances high in THC. By interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate mood, coordination, chronic pain management, and more, CBD can help you take better care of your body, mind, and feelings.

Specifically, CBD has demonstrated that it can:

Overall, CBD offers a lot of potential self-care, and research is constantly being conducting to discover more therapeutic benefits.

Ways You Can Incorporate CBD Into Your Self-Care Schedule

There is a whole battery of ways you can use CBD throughout your day in order to give yourself a boost in terms of relaxation, pain relief, and more.

Make Your Morning Tea or Coffee Doubly Relaxing

Who doesn’t love a nice, warm drink first thing in the morning, especially when it’s muggy or dreary outside? If you want to make your hot drink even more relaxing, add a dropper of high-quality CBD oil to your mug before brewing. By doing so, you can give yourself the chance to start the day with a positive frame of mind. You may also feel more focused and “on-target” throughout the day, as well. And if you’re worried about the earthy taste of CBD oil, simply pick up a flavored oil that complements your favorite hot drink, such as vanilla-flavored oil to pair with your light roast coffee or citrus-flavored oil to spice up your dark breakfast tea.

Apply CBD Topical Cream or Lotion on Stiff Joints or Aching Muscles

If mobility issues or other difficulties give you daily aches and pains, then topical CBD products may be just what you’ve been looking for. By soothing your sore muscles and joints and reducing swelling, CBD can provide you with much-needed relief and help you manage pain.

Using this type of product is as easy as massaging a dollop of the cream onto the affected area before giving it a quarter-hour to be absorbed. If you want an extra bit of pampering, find a masseuse who will offer a CBD massage. These oils often contain other herbs and essential oils that offer calming effects while further improving your physical well-being. At home, you can’t go wrong with CBD-infused lotions that also provide the benefits of other skin care products. For instance, a cream that contains shea butter will additionally hydrate your skin and lock in moisture.

Take a Midday CBD Snack

CBD comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from capsules and tablets to powders and tinctures. When it comes to giving yourself a midday boost of feel-good energy, though, you can’t beat a CBD gummy. Edibles in gummy form are as easy to take as a piece of candy. If you need a bit of focus during the day or are starting to feel stressed out by everything going on in life, simply pop a gummy in your mouth and chew. Once you’ve taken your snack, you’ll start experiencing benefits throughout the afternoon as your body processes the edible.

Try Out a CBD-Infused Bath Bomb

If you’re in the habit of taking regular baths or even just as an occasional treat, you can give yourself additional self-care points by using a CBD oil bath bomb. These little guys are a great way to take care of your tired muscles and help with joint pain after a long day. Using CBD bath bombs is as simple as using regular bath bombs. Just drop one into a warm bathtub and give it a chance to dissolve. Once you’ve entered the tub, you can relax and let the CBD do its work of cutting down your swelling and giving your body a chance to relax. You can make the experience extra soothing by adding a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or lemongrass, into the tub as well.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can get started incorporating CBD into your wellness routine. By creating a self-care plan including CBD, you can take control of your wellness, feeling the lasting benefits in no time.

What Quality CBD for Self-Care Looks Like

When it comes to CBD, it is important to choose a quality product that is specifically designed for your particular needs. CBD products come in many forms, from oils and edibles to topicals and tinctures. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to research and find the one that is best for you. It should always be sourced from a reputable company that uses testing by third-party laboratories to ensure safety and potency. Make sure to read product labels carefully before purchasing so you know exactly what you’re getting.

CBD can be an amazing addition to any self-care routine, but only when you get the quality that your body needs. Additionally, it is always best to consult with a doctor or other medical professional before incorporating into your wellness routine. A doctor can help determine if CBD could work for you as well as recommend the best product and dosage for your particular needs. With the guidance of a professional, you can make sure CBD becomes a part of your self-care plan safely and effectively.

Some Pointers on Maintaining Your CBD Wellness Routine

Finally, here are some tips on maintaining momentum with your CBD wellness routine:

  • Set SMART Goals: Setting meaningful and achievable goals is an important part of maintaining motivation in any wellness routine. Make sure to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART) goals when creating a CBD-enhanced self-care plan so you can stay motivated over time.
  • Schedule CBD into Your Day: When trying to maintain motivation for your CBD wellness routine, it’s important to find the best times during the day that work for you personally and schedule CBD use accordingly. This can help ensure that CBD becomes a regular part of your daily routine instead of feeling like another chore on your list of things to do.
  • Celebrate Small Victories: You may feel discouraged if progress isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like, but don’t forget to celebrate small wins along the way! Whether it’s improved sleep quality or reduced stress levels, recognising these achievements can provide extra motivation while developing your CBD wellness practice further down the line.”
  • Treat Yourself Right: Although keeping yourself accountable is important, don’t forget that self-care should also include treating yourself with kindness! Incorporating rewards into your CBD wellness routine can help you stay motivated to keep on track and achieve your CBD goals.
  • CBD and Accessibility: For people with disabilities, CBD can be a particularly beneficial aid for self-care. CBD products are becoming more accessible to those with disabilities and there are now CBD companies that specifically offer home delivery services so their customers can access CBD easily. Additionally, CBD companies often have text-to-order services or customer service lines available to ensure those with disabilities can access CBD whenever they need it.

Final Thoughts

Taking control of your well-being is an essential step in living a healthier and happier life. CBD products can be a great addition to any personalized self-care plan.

CBD can be a powerful tool for managing pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and more. If you’re looking to incorporate CBD into your wellness routine, make sure to start with research, talk to your doctor about what product might work best for you, and commit to setting SMART goals that will help keep you on track!

And as you venture into this new world of self-care, don’t be afraid to join a community that will support you along the way.


Author Bio:

Andrew James Aulner is a contributing writer at Restart CBD. He specializes in health and wellness, promoting the health of individuals to be healthier and more productive.


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Alex Vasquez: Advocate for Disability and Sexuality Rights

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

Meet Alex Vasquez (@TheWheelsBlog)

Alex Vasquez is a 27 year old digital content creator and communicator known as TheWheelsBlog online. He is an advocate for disability and sexuality rights and uses his platforms to make a difference. Alex is originally from Costa Rica but moved across to London in 2021 to study abroad. He has a love for travelling and witnessing how people with disabilities live in their own corners of the world.

Tell us more about your advocacy work. What is it all about and what made you want to start advocating in the first place?

I focus specifically on the intersection of sexuality and people with disabilities. I came out as a queer person back in 2011, when I was only 15 years old. That was when I first realised that I combined in my identities, two very different communities that were not exactly contributing to the acceptance of the other. In reality, in most of the places I have visited, the discrimination against one another is persistent. Non-disabled queer people don’t usually accept those with disabilities and even build spaces for sexual exploration that aren’t disability friendly. And straight cisgender disabled people usually discriminate a lot against sexual diversity. Through this first understanding, I identified the gap of representation of people who could identify with more than 2 communities. People who are intersections, bridges, and hubs. Now I run a online blog (@TheWheelsBlog) on TikTok where I try to evidence this intersection through the themes of access, travel, and so much more.

What was it like to grow up gay and disabled in Costa Rica?

It was complicated. On the positive end, I grew up in a very loving and accepting family, which is rare for a Latin American country. So I was able to always prioritise my own identity and authenticity before anything else. However, it was also very challenging as I grew older and didn’t get the equal opportunities of exploration that my age peers were having. For example, I hung out with my friends even in my undergrad years in the same spaces as in high school: the movie theatre, the shopping mall, and local cafés. I wasn’t able to go to bars as often as I wanted because most of them were not wheelchair friendly. And even when I did attend those spaces, the reality always hit me that people access was not yet there. Other gay men would treat me as a child and not consider me an option.

How did your experience of being gay and disabled change when you moved to London?

I think I can best summarise this (as it is many things all at once) by stating that London helped me put the logistics of my life to a secondary level of priority. All of sudden, the NHS would cover all the medications I needed for my diabetes. Transport would be free as a wheelchair user. I could attend a wheelchair friendly gym. Most bars and pubs were adapted. My independence grew exponentially as I started living on my own. And with this, my main investment came to be my own self and growing as an adult which I needed in order to start also exploring my sexuality and my interactions with any human in general.

Let’s talk about dating, have you noticed anything different about the dating scene in London as a gay and disabled person, compared to back home in Costa Rica?

The changes are not major I will say. There is still much isolation for people with disabilities in their sexual lives. The infantilisation is still here and hasn’t changed much. But I will say that I can perceive an overall increase in how people are more receptive to learning about disability and applying that to their dating lives. This is probably due to the diversity hub that London captures from so many walks of life and places in the world. I do feel more accepted and understood. And there are certainly services and programs dedicated to raising awareness to this. I don’t feel as alone here. And the dating apps have sometime even worked! This was not the case back home.

Travel seems to be a big part of your life, do you encounter any notable differences travelling between countries, not just as a gay man but also as a disabled person?

Yes!!! Being a disabled tourist in the UK and in Europe is so much easier. There are trains and commuting systems already made accessible for you. Hotels and other staying venues have already experienced hosting people with disabilities before. Travelling is still much more expensive for us here. Hotels are very expensive when getting a disability room, but I am very happy that I can make these travelling projects with more places in mind and activities to do than back in Costa Rica, where the United States and Canada would be my options if I wanted certainty that these would be disability friendly destinations. I even found a wheelchair friendly beach in Barcelona, one of my favourite cities so far, I had such a beautiful short time there. I felt seen.

What would you say is the best approach to inclusion and support for disabled people? What are your thoughts on a one size fits all approach?

I believe we need to start thinking of inclusion in a case by case basis. I understand why an initial solution to an issue would necessarily be a standard measure, but systems need to become more flexible in researching for different cases and their circumstances. Sometimes, we will know what is best for us, so listen to us. Sometimes we won’t and we will all need to do some research together. As long as authorities continue to be trained on disability, which I think the most important part of understanding disability is exactly that: listening.

Real access doesn’t come with lifts, wheelchair friendly tube stations, or screen reading software. Real access is when you are able to connect with other humans who do not understand you, but who are willing to learn from your disability and your needs. Who are willing to be your employer, your teacher, your peer, your bestie, and even your lover.

Each disability has its own challenges. Let’s embrace that.


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Beyond Boundaries: Workouts for Wheelchair Users

By The Love Lounge


The Question

Dear Love Lounge,

I always struggle this time of year with the fact that January is geared up to everyone losing weight and getting fit. It can make me feel guilty, like I’m lazy, and should be doing the same. I find it hard to get motivated and as I’m a wheelchair user (not an independent pusher, so I’m not so fit) I can’t think of ways to exercise.
Do you know of any classes that cater for wheelchair users?

The Answer

Hi Louise,
We can all identify with the body shaming that hits us after Christmas! Every advert encouraging a diet, or a new fitness regime. It’s relentless. Even though we expect it every year it can definitely still have a negative effect on us, particularly if we feel we can’t do what they’re suggesting.
Motivation is a hard one.. but only do things for yourself – not because the media is telling you to. Now we all know that movement and exercise is beneficial for us mentally and physically, so if you’re wanting to do that let’s see what’s available to you..

Social Media Accounts

I’ve seen a few people on social media who do exercise classes for wheelchair users.
  • One is called Ella who does wheelchair workouts on her YouTube page
We all have different abilities so you may not be able to do all of the exercises, but I think just by having someone to watch will motivate you! You can adjust what you do but at least you’ll be moving!!
It is also worthwhile checking out Wheelpower as they are the national charity for wheelchair sports:
They will be able to let you know where accessible gyms are and sports teams etc.  They also offer online fitness courses.
Hope you find something that you love!
Remember it’s about feeling good in your body and having fun. Not trying to conform to social ideals!!
Happy, healthy new year, new you!
Zoe x
The Love Lounge Team


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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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Being ADHD: Five Things I Wished Someone Had Told Me

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

By Carolyn DeBarra

When it comes to being neurodivergent, I am very proud of the way my brain works. I was diagnosed at the age of 10 with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) along with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The combination of all three can be a blessing, but it can be a curse too.

It can be really difficult being neurodivergent especially as so much of the world doesn’t cater to different neurotypes. Combine that with the fact that so many of our conditions can be so different from each other. My ADHD is very different from the next person’s.

While we do understand a lot more now than back in the day when I was first diagnosed, there are so many areas of neurodiversity that we hear little about.

Here are five things that I wish people told me about ADHD.

1 – It’s okay to feel grief or anger

ADHD diagnoses are on the rise at the moment as more people recognise the signs of the condition through social media and articles. It has prompted many people to seek a diagnosis or speak to a GP. While many feel relief and a sense of power in knowing their diagnosis, there can also be a feeling of grief.

When I started to learn about my condition as an adult, I felt sadness at understanding how I could have overcome challenges by accepting my own neurodivergence. I also felt angry for not getting help sooner. I also felt grief for my childhood where I struggled as much as I did. All of these feelings are not only valid but part of the process.

Thanks to the emotional dysregulation of ADHD, processing the range of emotions associated with a diagnosis can be difficult. It’s important to take time, talk it out with loved ones and let yourself feel how you need to. But do know this, it’s completely normal and you are not alone if you feel sadness at your diagnosis.

2- Your workplace can and will make reasonable adjustments for you

In the past, I’ve made mistakes due to my ADHD but then, we are all human at the end of the day. Despite my difficulties with certain tasks, I’m a good employee with tons to offer that can be utilised by a company. However, I often worry that an ADHD disclosure will put employers off.

While I may have hidden this in the past, I now refuse to pretend. Your company can make reasonable adjustments for you and it is completely okay to ask them to do so. There is no timeframe on this. If you didn’t disclose the second you were hired, you can ask at a later stage.

There is no set list of things that can make your workday easier but having a look at what causes you difficulties is a good place to start. Simple things like being able to take a break in a long meeting because I am struggling to sit still help me.

There are grants available such as Access to Work which can help people change their workplace to make things easier. It could be money towards software or physical items such as desks or chairs. You are worth it. All you need to do is ask even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

3 – Postural Sway and bad balance

When I was a kid I had the worst balance which occasionally caused me great panic. While I always thought this was down to a fear of heights, I’ve realised that it goes deeper than that.

My ADHD plays a part in bad balance because those with neurological conditions can have poor motor control. My body struggles to find its centre of gravity so this means I have a harder time balancing while standing still. I often find heights, patterns, lights or movements can be disorientating so I can lose my balance while not moving. Over time, this has also been exacerbated by my anxiety as the two work in tandem to destroy my day. I often find I need an arm to hold or a banister or something to steady myself when it’s particularly bad.

I wish someone had told me when I was younger that this is not only okay but it’s totally normal.

4 – Caffeine affects you differently

Anyone who meets me for breakfast is horrified at how many coffees I can put away in a short space of time. It’s truly a sight to behold as I throw six or seven back easily.

While most neurotypical folk would be bouncing off the ceiling by now, or throwing up, I am absolutely fine with the mildest of buzzes going on.

You would think that the last thing a person with a hyperactivity disorder would need is a stimulant but you would be wrong. A lot of the drugs to treat ADHD are stimulant based because our brains devour them differently.

Caffeine stimulates the body’s central nervous system and boosts dopamine production. ADHD brains are thought to have lower levels of dopamine so no longer we love a coffee break. Dopamine helps us with concentration and focus. So if we have lower levels of dopamine compared to neurotypical folk, stands to reason we may need more coffee to get us to focus. So hence why my seven coffees don’t touch the sides for me.

Although make no mistake, there is a sweet spot and for me it’s usually around eight.

5. – ADHD can go hand in hand with other disorders

It is estimated that about 40% of people with ADHD have oppositional defiance disorder like me. In my daily life that means I can be defensive, anti-authority and a bit combative when I don’t
want to be or intend to be.

ADHD can often be diagnosed alongside other conditions such as mood disorders, learning disorders, sleep problems, anxiety or tics and Tourette's syndrome. It’s also worth noting that substance abuse disorders are higher among ADHD people than neurotypical people. This means we have a higher chance of developing issues with alcohol, drugs or nicotine. I wish before I started smoking I had known this.

There is power in knowing the full picture post-diagnosis as it can help you to explain how you behave or feel. However, if there are other conditions in the picture, it could affect what medications you need or how things work for you. It can be difficult as ADHD presents very differently in each person so sometimes it can mask symptoms so keeping a diary can be helpful to note what is happening.

Disability Dating Sites and Masturbation

By The Love Lounge


The Question

I have Cerebral Palsy and find it difficult to have a normal dating and sex life and would love your advice. There are two main areas I am struggling with. The first is connecting with other like minded people – I am a permanent wheelchair user but have full capacity and find that other disabled dating sites etc often try to match me with women who have learning difficulties. I am currently at University and would really like to connect with other disabled daters who are at a similar life stage/experiences. Do you know of any groups etc I can join… because Tinder really isn’t working!

The other area I would like advice on is support around masturbating so that I am still able to have some privacy despite having a care team. I want to feel sexually fulfilled, but currently this takes up huge amounts of time and energy as I have issues with fine motor control in my hands. Are you aware of any sex aids that would enable me to masturbate independently despite this issue?

I really appreciate your support with this.


The Answer

Hi Riley,
Ok, so it sounds like you’re wanting to date a girl who is also disabled, is that right? I can see how Tinder would be limited there…
I’ve found a few sites for disabled daters –

Dating Sites for Disabled Daters

They pride themselves on being the number one website for UK disabled singles. You could find your perfect match amongst DisabilityMatch’s vibrant disabled community. Meeting new people has never been so easy, especially for those with disabilities and you can sign up today for free!

This is a newer dating site for disabled and non-disabled singletons! Disabled-Dating is run by Tom, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was younger. He created Disabled-Dating after finding happiness online and wanted to share his success with people like him!

The membership is completely free, and once you’ve signed up you can instantly browse profiles and become an active member of the community. It has a fantastic chat feature and video messaging if you decide to take your budding relationship a bit further!

Will put you in touch with like-minded people. The site has grown a lot in the last few years due to their close community of disabled daters.



Now with regards to aids for masturbation we have a few ideas!  Also, we’re so close to launching our own range of accessible sex toys, so definitely keep an eye out for those on our website and social media. They are remote controlled and have large buttons which can be operated with the chin if dexterity is compromised, so that you can be as independent as possible with them. This should massively improve the struggle and fatigue aspect for you – no one needs that when all you’re wanting to do is relax and enjoy!

In the meantime, check out these toys:

  • Liberator makes Fleshlight mounts such as the ‘On the Mission’ which gives the user the chance of a hands free experience.
  • There’s also the Keon by Kiiroo which is an automated masturbator.
  • The Hot Octopuss Pulse range of products were designed for people with Spinal Cord Injuries in mind to help them reach orgasm and ejaculate. The Design of the Pulse toys even work if you do not have an erection. They require no use of hands once the toy is in place and turned on. Some of the Pulse models come with remote controls which make it even easier to use.
  • Another option is the Suck O-Mat 2 Sucking Machine. Once the penis is in the sleeve it gives hands free pleasure. It can be controlled by remote control so can also be controlled by your partner as well. It is mains powered which means it is powerful, producing up to 200 suction impulses a minute.
  • The Handy is marketed as the ultimate Hand job machine which is another powerful mains powered Masturbator. The Handy comes with a dotted sleeve but can also be attached to other sleeves. It can also be controlled over the internet and also synchronised to some of the videos on the website. The handy is also compatible with a VR Headset.

And remember, you can book in a Love Lounge surgery for a free chat with us should you wish!


All the best,
The Love Lounge Team


Related Questions

Disability and Male Masturbation Toys

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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.


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A person stood with the palm of their hand facing outward, covering their face. With a purple background

Neurodiversity and Abuse

By Sex & disability, Undressing Disability

There are many forms of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and it can be really hard to spot when this is creating a problem in your relationship. 

While anyone can be a victim of abuse, research shows that those who are neurodiverse may have a heightened risk of violence, bullying or controlling behaviour. ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette’s syndrome are all examples of neurodiversity. It is believed that 15 to 20 percent of people are neurodivergent. 

Studies show that autistic people may be up to three times as likely as their neurotypical counterparts to experience bullying, and physical or sexual abuse. 

As an ADHD adult, I struggle with impulsivity, inattentiveness and hyperactivity among other traits. My relationships can be impacted by these which can make it difficult for me to form healthy connections with others but not impossible. However, one area that I need to be extra aware of is physical or emotional abuse. 


Here are three ways in which physical, emotional or sexual abuse within a relationship may be difficult for neurodiverse people to identify

1 – Dopamine seeking

When it comes to ADHD, we have lower levels of dopamine in our brains than neurotypical people. Dopamine is a hormone that controls many areas including memory and pleasure. When I form a new relationship, I crave the mental stimulation that I get from a new person. 

This, in the past, has made it very difficult to walk away from a relationship and risk losing that dopamine supply. It means that my brain can often gloss over the bad stuff to get to the good bits even if there are very few of them. 

Red flags at the start of a relationship can reveal a lot about what is to come. If you are getting serious warnings at the beginning then it can be really dangerous if your brain doesn’t allow you to stop, process or leave. Abusers are often clever and can spot this. They may take your lack of acknowledgement as acceptance and may keep pushing the boundaries on what they can get away with. 

Dopamine seeking can also mean that we do not recognise red flags in sexual situations either. It can be difficult to recognise dangerous situations, stop or ask yourself if you truly consent. We may also say yes in order to for fear of losing the person we get this stimulation from.


2 – Gaslighting

Gaslighting is when a person tries to get you to question their reality, memory or perceptions. It may be difficult for neurodivergent people to recognise when someone might be trying to change details, memories or events to control them. 

The reason for this may be that neurodivergent people can struggle with low self-esteem and be extra vulnerable as a result. We can often hear negative messages about ourselves while growing up which can have a last effect on our confidence levels as an adult. 

The immediate start of gaslighting in a relationship may feel more like hyper-acceptance from a partner which can become control over time. I struggle with my memory as a result of my ADHD, thanks to the lower dopamine levels, so it’s easy for me to forget details. Partners could easily use this to change small details without my noticing. The memory issues are mostly harmless, although annoying when I lose my keys, but they can be dangerous if a person is repeatedly changing the narrative in their favour. 

As a neurodivergent person, I tend to overshare which can also provide a lot of information for people about me. While most partners take this as a way to get to know me, albeit, in a short space of time, some may store the information for use at another time. This is where the devil can use the details you have told them, and then forgotten you’ve told them, to make gaslighting seem even more real.


3 – intense connections

Abusers can be incredibly manipulative and able to exploit a vulnerability. One of the ways this can manifest is through love bombing. 

Love bombing can be excessive attention, admiration, and affection from someone often at the start of a relationship. If we, as neurodivergent people, have lower self-esteem and confidence, this can masquerade as acceptance.

It can be difficult to leave if you believe that this is the only person who accepts you or is affectionate towards you. Often abusers can separate a person from friends or family through gaslighting or other methods so you may feel the connection more intensely because they are the only person you feel understands. 

As an ADHD person, I struggle to form boundaries with people where I can recognise where I need to safeguard myself. I have very intense friendships and relationships as a result. The intensity of the connection, lack of boundaries, pleasure and reward-seeking mean it is very difficult to walk away.

When it comes to sexual abuse, we can often mistake intensity for acceptance. Neurodivergent people can be too trusting and struggle to read a situation or social cues. This can place us in difficult situations or around dangerous people with no idea how to get out. To be accepted, we may find ourselves saying yes to things we don’t understand or want to take part in.


How to get help






It can be very helpful to know how your traits, like the ones above, can make it difficult for you to spot the signs of abuse. This means doing a bit of research around neurodiversity or even what to look for when it comes to emotional or physical abuse. 



No matter how difficult it might be, recording your experiences can be a big help. Make a note of something that doesn’t sound right to you and add to the list if you need to. If you can see a pattern start to emerge then you can address it. Writing everything down can help things to seem clearer, less overwhelming and help you to feel in control.

Also, if the situation needs to escalate, it can be very helpful to have a clear timeline or a list of things in case you forget.



Open up to someone you trust who is not connected to that person. This could be a friend or it could be a someone at an organisation who has training in this area. 


You are not alone and here are some organisations that may be able to help:

National Male Survivor Helpline and Online Support Service.
A dedicated service for anyone who identifies as male affected by sexual violence, and those who support them. You can contact them via Phone: 0808 800 5005 or Email:

For women who have experienced domestic violence. Refuge operate a freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline. To use this service please call: 0808 2000 247

The Survivors Trust.
This is a free helpline open 7 days a week for people over the age of 16 who have experienced sexual violence or support someone who has. To contact them call: 0808 801 0818 

Rape Crisis.
Anyone over the age of 16 who has experienced sexual violence can contact rape crisis for advice and support by calling 0808 802 9999 or going online via 

Neuroqueer and wanting to get pregnant

By The Love Lounge

The Question


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



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.


Closer to her home I have found this therapy centre


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?!


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


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.

Message 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.


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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 three favourite oils:


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


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


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 +


Rating: 4.5/5


Sex after a traumatic brain injury

By The Love Lounge

The Question


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.



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.



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.



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.


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