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I love my partner but I’m scared of hurting them now they’re sick…

By Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments

If you love your partner, one of your first instincts is to keep them safe and to be afraid of hurting them is perfectly natural.

But a crucial part of helping your partner recover is learning to risk hurting them during sex. Remember, we are not talking skydiving! Sex usually takes place in a very safe pace like a bedroom in your home but done the right way you can take safe risks almost anywhere. We all take risks every day. Crossing the road is risking death and even more dangerous is driving in a car, which is statistically more likely to kill you than serving as a soldier in a war zone like Afghanistan!

But you still drive and you still cross the road. The point is, everyday we take calculated risks. We calculate risks vs returns so you now must learn to take the same sort of calculated risks during sex. Sometimes something might hurt a little, or even a lot, but you must learn from that and try again. If you let fear rule your sex life it will die.

Talk to your partner about this right away, I can guarantee most of the fear is in your head and you will probably find a little risk is well worth the return of sex and connection. So bite the bullet and get talking!

There is also a simple solution taken from the world of BDSM – bondage. Use special words for the traffic light or a safe word system:

Green= Yes (More)

Orange= This is getting close to my limits (Slow Down)

Red= Stop right now

You don’t literally need to use green, orange and red. Instead you can use whatever words you like, meaning that sex play can continue uninterrupted without jarring the mood with “stop that” or “don’t do that.” You can even say “no” and mean “yes,” safe knowing your partner will stop when you use the right safe word. With this system of communication you can risk hurting someone while being completely safe in the knowledge that they are in control.

You can take the risks that help make sex hot while keeping the safety that you naturally want for your partner.

I really want to date but I don’t know when to mention the ‘D’ word…

By Disability, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge One Comment

Actions speak louder than words. You don’t even need to mention the D word to actually go on a date!
Step One: Select something exciting that you’d like to do with your beau.

Why? Studies show that when we spend time with people in adrenaline heightened situations we find them more attractive, and they will find us more attractive too. This will give you the chance to go on an “invisible date.” You know it’s a date but they don’t! For them, you just had a fun time out together. For you, it is the first step in getting to know them better and deciding if you want to take this relationship further and into the bedroom.

From there you can just keep getting to know them with more “invisible dates.” When you are clear you want to take things further, go in for a snog. After the first kiss it is clearly time to start using the D word and not long after that you can graduate to calling them your boyfriend/girlfriend!

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‘I Think Differently’ by Brittany Barry

By Lifestyle, My story, News 10 Comments

Brittany in her ASL videoI used to think something was wrong with the way I think.

Now I know that I just think differently.

The main reason is that I first learned language in a different way.

I heard things in English but said them in another language—sign language.

I did this because even though I can hear, I have speech challenges and am deaf in one ear. I live in two worlds, hearing and ASL, and neither world exactly understands what’s its like to be me.

I don’t think in a straight line.   

I think in all directions at once. For example, when I buy a gift,  I know that person in 3D and know what is perfect for them.

I think now and ahead at the same time.  

I plan my week on the weekend and get up very early in the morning so I am prepared. 

I organize what I learn in folders in my mind, like school folder, family folder, birthday folder, shopping folder, where you put your keys folder.  This lets me remember everything I see and hear.

ASL feels different than English.  You see it, not hear it.  For example, when you want to say good job, you hold up your thumb.  That’s what ASL words feel like.

I think of words 3 ways at the same time; the thing, the word and the sign.

Sign language skips a lot of words so its easy to leave English words out and put them in the wrong order. 

I want to walk  is  I want walk. 

 I will ask her to pick her up  is  I will ask her to picking up her

Two different words in English, can be one word in sign.

You put your hand on your chest to say both My or mine.  So writing ASL to English might be Mine clothes are on the table.

One sign can mean 3 English words.

Moving your hand in front of your face means pretty, handsome, beautiful. 

Some words I have never said. I might know the sign but I have never heard the word or the answer.

For example, my driver’s test asked about an intersection. I have been in an intersection before but had never had a word for it.  So when I read it, I didn’t know what the word meant.

Reading helps me with language, but I still need to translate words. 

Math has more language to deal with than people think and they assume I know what things mean. A lot of words mean different things in math than in English like times.  

For algebra, I need to write every step. I like to check it right after so I can clear my head.  On tests, if there are a lot of steps to remember, I get blank and nervous. Geometry is easier for me than algebra because its not a lot of steps.  

To me, sign communicates feelings, not just words. Just like music.

I can communicate important things or deep feelings by writing them.  But I am grateful to have someone who understands sign.

I have to be determined and creative to get help because teachers don’t understand me. 

When people are not patient and try to do things for me, I have to either fight back or give in.

In big groups, its hard to get people’s attention so I have to listen carefully and wait a lot.

I work really hard and have to hold a lot of things in my head.

So what does this all mean.  It means:

I am creative, resourceful and determined

I am super sensitive to seeing and listening

I really want to communicate

I want the world to see who I am

Sometimes I’m exhausted.


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Brittany’s Story

By Lifestyle, My story, News 5 Comments

Check out Brittany in her American Sign Language Music Video just below!

I have a speech disability and hearing loss in in one ear.  Because I can’t talk, I have been using sign language to communicate with my family since the age of two.

Throughout elementary and middle school I struggled with the limitations of my disabilities, but I have also found different ways to communicate and overcome many obstacles.  For example, a difficulty was when kids would tease me or bully me in school.  As painful as that was, I refused to be silent.  I always told the teachers or my parents what was happening and managed to have good friends at school.


I have been mainstreamed in school my whole life, and my peers did not know sign language.  Since I started high school, my old friends began to change and became distant from me.  High school has been a very painful experience in many ways because of isolation and depression.  I often asked my mom if I could be home-schooled because it was so hard.  But the pain of high school has led me to in the past four years to get involved in the world of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people where sign language communication has been easier for me.  I took American Sign Language classes at College of Marin where I became a teacher’s aide.  Later I went to a camp at Gallaudet University, and I was also a counselor at a Lyons Club camp for Deaf kids one summer.  What I realized from these experiences is that I feel the most comfortable with hearing or hard-of-hearing people who know sign language like me.  I don’t identify as well with the Deaf community who have their own culture and cultural norms.  In many ways I feel I am living between two worlds, the non-signing and hearing world, and the signing Deaf worlds.  This is not an easy place to be.

An example living between two worlds is that sometimes it’s embarrassing when I use sign language if I am out at a restaurant or when I meet new people.  They assume I am Deaf, and I feel misunderstood.  On the other hand, I am not fully comfortable communicating with Deaf people because the way I like to communicate is with my voice and sign language at the same time, and most Deaf people just use sign language.  Because I can hear, I also rely on listening to people speaking.  If a deaf person signs really fast and they don’t use their voice, it’s hard for me to understand them.

But on a positive note, I have some advantages because I can communicate in two languages and be part of both the Deaf and hearing world.  In many ways I am able to relate to people from two worlds.  I have had some amazing opportunities like making a music video with a Deaf performer, and meeting Deaf celebrities like Marlee Maltin, Sean  Berdy and Sean Forbes. I think when I could not communicate with hearing people at school I became a very good observer and listener.  I have learned to listen to other peoples’ ideas and opinions.  I notice that because I am such a good observer I remember things very well. I am also a visual person and use my eyes all the time.  When I remember things, I see pictures more than remembering the words.

I am continuing to search for better ways to communicate and make friends who are like me.  I would like to find a community of people who can sign and talk.  In choosing a college or university I am hoping to find a signing community.  My goals in college are to study fashion and marketing and continue to play soccer, but I also hope to find a place in the college community where I feel like I fit in.

Brittany Barry




A Kiss Under The Mistletoe from Enhance the UK

By Disability, Lifestyle One Comment

The true meaning of Christmas ‘Undressing Disability’

Undressing Disability 2014 calendarEnhance the UK has been lucky enough to have a really happy and successful 2013. As you may have noticed, our ‘Undressing Disability’ campaign gathered global media attention and our calendars were flying off the shelves to the far corners of the world, most notably becoming a surprise hit in America. It’s pretty surreal seeing ourselves mentioned on Twitter nearly every day and generally popping up all over the web.

It turns out that disabled people in their pants is something you all want to see! As we hoped, the images are getting everyone talking and taking a closer look at some issues that are so rarely on the top of the agenda. Sex is still such a taboo subject in our otherwise increasingly progressive society and when you’re adding disability into the mix, people really start to squirm in their seats.

Our campaign, message and purpose is actually more complex than it first may appear. The initial goal was to make people realise that, of course, disabled people have the same wants and needs as everybody else and do not have to shy away in the backgrounds of society or apologise for their bodies. It is often forgotten that disability is something that could happen to anyone at anytime.

We asked for donations for the calendar to help fund our inclusive Sex and Relationships Education programme for young people with physical disabilities in collaboration with Brook, as currently no such facility exists. Without specifically tailored information to your needs you simply cannot properly learn about the risks able-bodied people have drilled into them about pregnancy and STI’s, leaving you vulnerable. Not only that, but you learn to not be ashamed of having sexual feelings and are taught to identify an abusive relationship, something disabled people of both genders are sadly high at risk to.

2014 will see us drive our project with full force and not only that, we want to become your number one online resource for everything sex and disability. Please start sending in the pressing queries YOU want answered by our ‘Love Lounge’ sexpert Sam Von Rood or our gay ‘Agony Uncle’ Andrew Morrison-Gurza to

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We hope you have an ‘Undressing’ calendar under your tree!

2014 is set to be our sexiest year yet and we just can’t wait to start it!

Caroline Dempsey

I started escorting about 15 years ago… (Blog 4) by Caroline Dempsey

By Disability, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments

Caroline Dempsey

Within my work, I meet the most wonderful, open, honest, people.  At the end of the day, all most human beings want is to be held, loved, to feel safe and to be part of a relationship. That relationship can mean with others, or a wonderful life journey with oneself. At some point, we embark on learning about ourselves and others and for this self-development, we often look for a helping hand from a friend or loved one. I am privileged to have been contacted by a beautiful man who is on a journey to re-discover his connection with intimacy; with himself and with his partner, whom he loves very much indeed. Together we’ll carefully explore, until making honouring and delicious love with his wife becomes the norm once again.

His first step wasn’t easy, though and he has very kindly written his story to share here:



“Lacking confidence, self esteem, not wanting to make a fool of myself, not to let myself or others down, I guess these are the feelings I have. This could cover a multitude of things, but for me at this moment in time, it’s sex.

It’s not a recent thing either. It’s been building, I guess, for the past few years. But, after a lot of soul searching, I thought it was time I did something about it; for myself and for my relationship. The hardest part is admitting to one’s self that there is something wrong. After that, it’s trying to fathom what the best way is to tackle it. I did quite a bit of surfing the net, seeing if there were others out there that may be in the same boat, trying to see if there was somebody out there who could help.

I’m a T5 paraplegic (paralysed from the chest down). Had my accident in the mid 80’s and now I’m in my mid 40’s. I’m pretty active and fit, have a good job and a wonderful family. Really, things are pretty good, my partner and I are very close. We have been through a lot in the 10-plus years we’ve been together and are stronger as a couple for it. The only downside is our love life, and now for fear of losing so much, I’ve decided to act.

I had my accident just at the time I was beginning to find out all about girls, so that initially set me back. Although I had had some sexual experience, it was certainly very limited. However, I wasn’t a bad looking lad, had a bit of a gift of the gab and so had my fair share of girlfriends in my late teens and early 20s. I was very sexual and enjoyed every part of lovemaking and my girlfriends also seemed to enjoy it as well. During these early relationships I wasn’t bothered that I didn’t climax and it never seemed to be an issue to others either. Although I was told at the spinal unit that there’d be no problem with me having kids, I didn’t think I would ever climax and wasn’t sure what feeling I was looking for and what to expect. Prior to my accident I masturbated quite a lot, so I knew the plumbing had worked at some point. I had tried masturbating a few times in the early years after my accident, but don’t think I ever got close.

This all changed one Saturday morning with a girl who’d I’d been dating for quite a few months. We were having a nice time, messing about as you do. I’d asked her to climb on me, I was just lying flat on the bed, but this time she faced away from me, straddling me. I’m not sure why, but for some reason this seemed to really hit my spot, a feeling I’d not had before. I think the fact that we were both relaxed yet very aroused also helped. Anyway, I did manage to climax, though to be honest, I wasn’t completely sure!! I can just remember an unbelievable surge through my body, lightness in my head and then a feeling of total bliss, almost as if a great weight had been lifted from me. I felt so relaxed, it was amazing.

This now was the problem, because I had experienced this, I wanted it more. However, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t going to work every time, and although frustrating, not the end of the world. We tried a few positions and the one that worked best for me at the time was me lying on the bed with my feet on the floor, my backside just on the edge of the bed, then my partner standing over me, with her back to me. This had the greatest success, but by no means 100%.

My next girlfriend is now my current partner. In the early years of our relationship we had a very active sex life. I do remember her asking me quite early in our relationship specifically ‘can you have children,’ to which I replied ‘yes’. We also adopted this position for me and again occasionally I would climax. After a couple of years we decided to try for a family, and this is where I feel my current situation manifested itself.

As is normal now, nature takes over so it’s all a case of timing. I now had the added pressure of ‘performing’ on cue. Typically, with the added pressure and all that goes with it, more usual than not I wouldn’t reach orgasm. There’s the usual ‘oh, it doesn’t matter, hopefully next time,’ but of course this doesn’t help things, and I became more frustrated and basically stopped enjoying any of the process. There it is, ‘process,’ that’s what lovemaking had become!

So, after a couple of years trying naturally, we went down the route of IVF. At first all seemed ok, although I had to have sperm surgically removed, which isn’t a great issue, but it would have been nice to have been able to do it ‘myself’ so to speak. We had eggs fertilised, placed back to where they should be, all looked very good but they never would ‘stick’ there. We had all sorts of tests, but to no avail. Nobody knew why we weren’t conceiving, which probably was the hardest fact. Again, this went on for a couple of years. Physically and emotionally it is destroying, but we came through it and as a couple were much stronger for it. I know a lot of couples who have not made it through this process, but I feel very proud that we have.

Still wanting a family, we decided to look at adoption. Again, it’s another process, more bureaucratic this time, but still a long process. There’s a lot of questions asked, some very personal, including ‘how’s your sex life?’ to which we replied ‘perfect!’ We both knew this was a lie, but I guess that’s what people do, it’s hard to admit.  However, the outcome for us has been fantastic and we feel we have the perfect family!

During all this time though our sex life began to dwindle. For me there seemed no enjoyment. I felt as if I had that passion, drive, beaten out of me, and I didn’t feel anything coming back the other way either. We kiss and cuddle, hold each other, but at the moment that’s as far as it goes. We occasionally speak to each other about it, but it doesn’t come up very often and we seem to soon move off the subject.

During the IVF it was suggested I bought a ‘penile vibrator’ by Ferticare, specifically produced to assist spinal injured guys to climax. So I did. Unlike some other sex toys, this looks very medical, even the colour of it makes it look like a piece of medical equipment, rather than something you’d want to use in the bedroom. Because of this, I have never used it with anybody else, it has always been when I’m on my own, and when I first had it, it was just used to ‘clear the pipes’ so to speak. It was never sexual, just a piece of equipment I used. However, it did do what it was meant to do, but again, it’s far from 100% and it can take quite a while. For years it sat in the back of a draw and was never used; I had no urge to use it. I’m not sure what changed, maybe I was feeling a little aroused, may be even bored at home alone one evening about 18 months ago, but I decided to get it out.

Well, it may have been because it had been a while, it didn’t take me long, but I achieved an orgasm, and I must admit it was a fantastic feeling. It still didn’t feel particularly sexual, almost dirty as if I shouldn’t have done it, but there was certainly that release that I had felt the first time I had climaxed all those years back. After that I began to use it more often, only when I got the chance and was on my own and knew I wouldn’t be interrupted. I guess it was about once a month, may be twice. The more I used it, the more sexual it became, the more I enjoyed it. However, I didn’t always climax and sometimes it took a long time if I did manage to. When I didn’t, I felt quite low and I remember how I felt before when I didn’t perform ‘on cue’. I get so close, but can’t quite get over the top. I feel as if there’s another ‘button’ to press, something that would just make it happen that little bit easier. I know that until I can find that, I can’t see me using this vibrator with my partner.  When I do orgasm, it is so body evoking, so explosive that I want to share this, I want her to see me enjoy it for what it should be. I know my climaxing isn’t the be all and end all and there is more to it, but I just want to have the confidence that if we do go that far, I get the outcome that I want, and I know she would want it to.

What I really want is to be able to is to climax during lovemaking; is it too much to ask? Right now I want to find that elusive position, the special technique that will allow this, but in a loving, passionate, lustful way with my partner. I want to share that moment I climax with her. Is this the quest for my ‘Holy Grail?’

As I said at the beginning, I want to find my confidence again, confidence in myself, my ability to turn my partner on. I know that I can’t go in all guns blazing, it’s been too long. But I also don’t want to go in all ‘fingers and thumbs’ and put her off and go into this whole cycle again. I know this will divide opinion, but I feel as if I can approach this as I did when I trained for sport. I had a coach that would help me, make me better, help my technique, show me what to do, pass on their experience, allow me to practice, to take what I had and give me the best opportunity of fulfilling my goal.

So, after much deliberation, I decided to make contact with somebody who I hoped would be able to help me. I wasn’t too hopeful, mainly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted, or if indeed it was something I could find help for. Again, I did as much research and reading as I could and I eventually summoned the courage to contact Caroline Dempsey. She let me have her email address so I could write down my concerns, feelings and what I would dearly like to happen, and to see if she thought she could help me. So I did, I think it’s easier to write down those initial feelings, and sent it off to her.

Soon I’d got a reply and it was with great relief when I read what she’d written. She was so very understanding and I immediately felt as if she understood my predicament, and suggested that she could indeed offer to help me.

So, we met for a coffee and I was able to explain more, it was nice to be able to talk to somebody. My feeling from the email was enhanced, and after some initial nervousness and trepidation, I now feel as if I have found somebody to help me. It is still very early, we have only met once and exchanged further emails, but I am hoping that there will be a successful outcome. My greatest feeling is that she understands what I want and is willing to help me, and it is this that has helped me get over the feeling of guilt that I should even be doing this, but I feel as if I had to, for me, my partner and my family.

I hope soon to be able to bring you the next episode on this journey of discovery and I would dearly like to think that I can help others out there in a similar situation and I also look forward to hearing from other people and how they have tackled such issues, as I do believe I’m not a lone voice.”

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Lauren Jessica on Flaws and Small Mindedness

By Disability, Lifestyle, My story 2 Comments

Image of blogger LaurenSo, everybody has flaws. Some people are proud of their flaws, and some people tend to hide them because they can bring the hurtful side of other individuals out. Every disability is different, and comes with it’s own set of insecurities and obstacles to overcome. Sometimes, it only takes one strong, unwanted opinion to offend somebody. Disabled people are faced with foul, sickening comments every day of their lives. Even the smallest stare can make the person so insecure and small. This is because society, sadly, still hasn’t moved on and shallow minded people still exist.

People also use discriminatory and derogatory terms in every day conversations such as “retard” and “spack”. They don’t realise that these are actual disabilities and have been turned into an insult. I believe that people should be taught in the early years of childhood that derogatory terms will not be stood for and that there will be consequences for using such language.

Disabled people, as well as many able bodied people, if not all, have flaws. And when people point them out it can become very tedious because, that person knows that, that particular flaw is there. Making it known to the person and everyone around is not big. And it’s definitely not clever as you could make the person feel so small and vulnerable.

If you ever get the urge to taunt somebody about their appearance or disability, I strongly suggest that you rethink and put yourself in that person’s shoes for a moment. If you had a disability all your life, and you’d got that far, and become the person that you are today, would you appreciate somebody disrespecting you and the little flaws and mistakes you have or make?


Caroline Dempsey

I started escorting about 15 years ago… (Blog 3) By Caroline Dempsey

By Disability, Lifestyle, My story, The Love Lounge No Comments

Caroline DempseyI went to a meeting of SHADA (The Sexual Health and Disability Alliance) last week.  It was such an eye-opener.  I met many health professionals and sexual advocates, one who himself was an amputee.  He teaches drama and dance to the disabled in Canada and has been in the UK for four weeks on a grant, bringing his wonderful work to London.  The discussions that came up were passionate.  One lady was a teacher in a school for the disabled with special needs.  Helen Dunman, teacher at Chailey Heritage Foundation, where she has responsibility for Personal Social and Health Education and developing Sex Education.  To hear how hard she works completely humbled me.  She is absolutely 100% dedicated to her pupils, with ages ranging from the very young up to 19.  Some, she explained, were very difficult to communicate with, even with all her experience.  She works tirelessly for her pupils and I had so much admiration for her.

Sex and the young is something that’s brushed further under the radar than sex among disabled adults.  I was appalled to hear how in denial the authorities are.  As if it’s not difficult enough for young severely disabled with learning difficulties to communicate their needs, the powers that be would rather ignore an opportunity to improve the well being of our youth than make a bit of an effort and step up and do the right thing.  People like Helen are spending endless hours writing policy to enable “good practice in terms of staff ensuring that clients’ sexual needs are recognised and met”.  Of course, how policy is interpreted presents another challenge.  So it’s up to Helen and those like her to try to put clear guidelines in place and hope that eventually, these become policy for bodies such as the CQC.  What a hero.

The old cherry about carers and PAs came up frequently, in that it’s extremely difficult for a lot of them to know how to deal with the sexual feelings (and involuntary responses to touch) of their clients.  It’s not their fault; they’re just not trained.  So what happens is a whole lot of embarrassment, feelings of rejection, loss of intimacy and a lack of affection.  It’s the saddest thing imaginable.  My modest wish is to come into contact with as many as possible, to connect with and to share intimacy, to enhance sexual well being, and as a consequence improve general well being, healing, to demonstrate that being intimate and affectionate is achievable, can be maintained, and thus, can be shared with others.  This may not even involve sex – it may just be enjoying closeness.  As I’ve said before, it’s nothing to do with performance, experience, knowledge of anatomy or how many partners there have been.  Honouring oneself and others is all that matters.  Intimacy should be enjoyed and celebrated!

There was one very interesting guy at the meeting from Copenhagen.   His job back home is to assist his disabled clients with masturbation.  He gave a fascinating talk and described how, with different toys and implements, he could help folk to do it themselves.  He doesn’t masturbate them; they are able to stimulate themselves, with his help.  What a wonderful thing to do for people!  He had my total respect and admiration.  He’s kept very busy, too, which is a good sign for the folks over there.

I wish things were different, so that anyone who was unable to pick up the phone themselves, could tell their carer or PA that they’d like a sex worker to visit them, without fear of embarrassment (on either side) or loss of dignity.  In fact, the term ‘sex worker’ makes people like me sound harsh, unsympathetic.  This is not the case at all.  I love any chance I can possibly get to brighten up someone’s day, fulfilling their needs as much as is within my power to do.

There’s a site called, from Tuppy Owens.  Although predominantly designed for health care professionals, there is some very interesting reading.