Skip to main content

My story

“I have cerebral palsy and can count my sexual experiences on the fingers of one hand.”

By Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, My story, The Love Lounge No Comments

“You invite people to share their stories of sexuality.
I have cerebral palsy and can count my sexual experiences on the fingers of one hand. A psychiatrist once tried telling me this was because I was sexually deviant. I did not argue, but I felt he was mistaken and that he had no basis for advising me because he was not disabled and had not had any experience remotely related to disability.I would genuinely like to know how much you relate to this experience and its point of view. Thank you very much indeed.​” – James

Emily – “Hi James, many thanks for writing in.
From one with CP to another, I can absolutely relate to your story.Seeing as ‘deviant’ really means ‘differing from the norm,’ we’re probably all sexual deviants in our own ways, and this should in no way be seen as a negative thing.  The problem is, the psychiatrist that you spoke to definitely displayed it negatively!

As I don’t know the psychiatrist, I can’t tell you whether he was capable of advising you or not, but what is coming through loud and clear is that fact that he seemed to give you little option to define for yourself what you sexually ‘were’ or ‘were not’.  And that’s a problem that plagues society as a whole.
For example, society (in general) sees fewer sexual experiences as something to be ashamed of, society (in general) sees disability as an asexual concept, and these are the things that we are desperately trying to change.

In short, I sincerely hope that experiences like yours become fewer and more far between.  Do write back in if you’d like any advice on any other aspect of disability, sex or relationships. Wishing you a lovely festive season, Emily x”

Mik – “Argh James, the old “you’re deviant due to your disability” line eh? It is true that many non-disabled people seem to find the things that disabled people sometime need to, or want to, do disconcerting. They like to say it is because they consider what ever fantasy or sexual predilection we admit to as being kinky, but I really think it is because they are uneasy with us wanting to not have sex but enjoy it. Those in the medical and social professionals can be the worst, as they really think they understand disabled people as they have learned about us during their training. It takes a really skilled and rounded “expert” to be able to explore their own feelings around disability and sexuality, and to come out the other end being able to admit that we have all the same wants, dreams, desires and even fetishes as any non-disabled person might do. I would say never let anyone tell you are deviant, unless you are into some really weird shit.

 I have had the exact same experience just on a much more public scale. In the mid 90’s I was a well known TV presenter. I also sang in a rock band and we played on the fetish scene a lot. The Daily Mail ran a story “outing” me for being into kinky sex, yet only a year earlier the News Of The World ran a story with the headline of Wheelie Sexy, claiming they had found this new disabled sex symbol singer and presenter. What it seems is that if you appear sexual as a disabled person that’s fine, but if you actually have sex and know what you might want out of sex then that’s just sick. It taught me that the wider public really do find the subject of disability and sex frightening and confusing, but then they are a repressed bunch mostly.
As well as being freaked out if disabled people express an interest in experimenting with sex, many people find the fact that we might need to try different stuff due to our specific physical needs equally troubling. I have written several articles on how many of the techniques used by disabled people to enable them to have sex would be of benefit to the wider non-disabled community but they are only ever featured in speciality magazines. The mainstream press find the whole idea of us teaching them something to bizarre to accept.
Without knowing what exactly it was that caused you to be called a deviant, all I can say is if you really are into fetishism or any other left field sexual activity, why try visiting a local fetish club. It’s one of the few places where people accept you as a sexual entity, and you might find someone that thinks what you are into is perfect match for them.
I should also like to say that only being able to count your sexual partners on one hand is not a bad thing. I don’t know how old you are but until I was nearly 30 I could have done the same with fingers to spare. Even today I could only use both hands and I was a famous TV presenter. It’s not the quantity that matters, but the quality. I’d much rather have a few great nights to remember than a succession of crap shags.”

“I have Muscular Dystrophy and my girlfriend has Cerebral Palsy…”

By Emily Yates, My story, The Love Lounge No Comments

“I have muscular dystrophy and my girlfriend has cerebral palsy. We’ve been together 7 months and we need advice as to moving forward and getting more intimate. We both have severe disability and limited movement.” – Richard

Hi Richard,

Great to hear from you and many thanks for contacting the Love Lounge.  Finding intimacy that works can undoubtedly be more difficult when you and your partner both have a disability, but certainly not impossible! I have Cerebral Palsy myself and I am currently with an able-bodied partner, but I have had very fulfilling sexual relationships with other disabled partners too.

The biggest and best bit of advice I can give to you regarding taking steps forward in terms of intimacy is… talk to each other.  Finding out what works and what doesnt with sex is always going to be a method of trial and error.  When you are trying different positions, for example, make sure that you are both always communicating with each other to confirm you’re both happy, comfortable and enjoying what’s going on.

A wonderfully intimate relationship does not have to include penetrative sex either.  I’ve had some amazing sex without having intercourse.  Get comfortable laying with each other and telling each other what feels good and what you’d like to try.  Certain sex toys might make things really enjoyable whilst also allowing you both to be comfortable and not too physically active too soon.  Funnily enough, I’ve just been told about a voice-controlled vibrator that might help those with limited movement.  See what you think!

Additionally, to help make certain positions more comfortable, check out Liberator ramps and wedges (a little on the pricey side, so they might just give you a bit of inspiration of similar products you could use at home)

Really hope this helps.  Please let me know how you get on and if you need anymore specific advice, just shout! 🙂

Emily x

My wife and I are very adventurous sexually and are keen to try attending swingers parties…

By Disability, Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, My story, The Love Lounge One Comment

James, Milton-Keynes

“My wife and I are very adventurous sexually and are keen to try attending swingers parties. However, I have MS and am a wheelchair user. Can I expect the swinging scene to be equipped to deal with and accepting of my disability?”


While I haven’t ventured onto the swinging scene, I have many friends who have. I do know that from my contact with them that disability is not really an issue. To be honest I kept finding myself being told that I would “enjoy” myself on that scene as many of them have a tick list, or a list of things they want to try.

Sex with a disabled person is high on that list apparently, so if you don’t mind that idea then it might be fun. I would check out your local scene and see if you like the people, which I would imagine is pretty important if you intend to sleep with them! Of course some people might be arse holes, but that is life. I should say that please go it into with your eyes open. I know many relationships that have been torn apart by trying swinging.

It may sound fun, but will either of you be able to cope if one partner is more popular than another? Jealousy can kill a successful relationship, and while it is a not fashionable emotion I personally feel it is part of really being in love. Having said that, I also know couples who have a great time and swear it has brought them closer together. So if you really fancy it, go for it. Trust me, as far I as I understand having a disability is not bar to swinging your socks off!

My spina bifida means that my body looks different to everybody else’s…

By Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, My story, The Love Lounge No Comments

Kelly, Bournemouth – “My spina bifida means that my body looks different to everybody elses. I’m almost too anxious about it now to go clothes shopping and try them on in the changing rooms. How can I get some confidence?”

Mik – To me this issue is one of the biggest that many disabled people have to contend with. However much we might outwardly appear confident, and claim to be proud of our impairments, we live in a society that is obsessed with perfection and let’s face it, we are only human. We cannot help but be influenced by this growing need to be beautiful and perfect, and measure ourselves against the images that fill our media. It is a remarklable person, disabled or not, who is not touched by the dream of being perfect. I know that when I was a teenager, back in the early 80’s, I found myself so sure of my unattractiveness due to my disability that I developed an eating disorder. Even today what I see in the mirror and what I understand everyone else sees is very different. However, I will give you the advice I try to give myself every time I find myself looking at the mirror and seeing a monster, fuck em! You are the most perfect you ever. OK, you may not fit the stereotype of what beauty or perfection is, but who say that is right? Mostly a bunch or fat man who work in the press, or aging women in the fashion industry whose obsession with youth is driven by their fears over the passing of time. Disabled people wear their strength and individuality on the design of their bodies, like an amazing work of art. We challenge society to see what biology can actually achieve, and how robust the human form can be. Don’t let the non-disabled world make you feel less because you do not look like they do. It’s them who should feel inferior. So from now on when you get up, look in that mirror and know you see beauty and perfection. Your own totally individual form that no other person can achieve. Be proud of that, and if anyone dares to challenge it then they can go f**k themselves. As for finding clothes, I always advise find a style that works for you. Fashion is our enemy, as trends change so quickly. Instead experiment with style until you find one that fits.. and stick to it. Sure you can follow fashion, but make sure you model it to suit the style you have created. I used to wear loads of leather, not only as it looked great but because it was hard wearing and made me look like an injured biker. The alternative scene has always been less judgemental that the mainstream crowd and so I found my outrageous clothes allowed me to become part of scene who didn’t seem to care if I was disabled, or sky-blue pink!. So best bet, scan the fashion mags plus books on the history of fashion. Find a look you like and that you think will work, and THEN go shopping. With a look in mind, you are already half way there. And if you find a shop without a changing room, remember the Equality Act demands that they have one. So get shouting…. “I know my rights!” If you need any styling tips, drop me a mail, maybe with a pic or two, and I’ll see if I can help. Believe it or not, I actually studied fashion as a overly trendy new romantic youth so I do know what I’m on about!

I haven’t been on a date in well over a year and am finding it increasingly hard to meet women…

By Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, My story, The Love Lounge No Comments

Peter, Bath – “I haven’t been on a date in well over a year and am finding it increasingly hard to meet women and get out of the house because of the pain of my early onset osteoporosis. How can I get myself motivated and out the house?”

Mik – Dear Peter, I also know the joys of chronic pain and how debilitating it can be. I have tried everything to fight it, both conventional and alternative, and I might suggest trying Mindfullness. It’s a meditation technique thatmight sound a but hippy dippy, but I have found it really works. Not only as a method of counteracting the pain but also to give you back some feeling of control. That feeling of being the captain of you own ship is the thing that will help with motivation, so it really important to get the ball rolling. Ask your GP or at your pain clinic about Mindfullness and for advice on controlling your pain. If you aren’t being seen by a pain clinic, that must be top of your list. Even before you start out on the road of finding methods of fighting your pain I would suggest allowing yourself to feel down, ill and angry. We always get told to keep your chin up and other such arse, but until you have felt real chronic pain it is difficult to understand. While it can stop you from doing anything, and I know in my past I have spent years lying on my sofa unable to sleep for days wishing I would just pass out to have some release, I would advise you to start small. Little trips out, doing things you really enjoy. Imagine it is like a little baby, trying to learn to walk. You make short trips, not pushing yourself too hard, and then build up to longer and longer ventures into the outside world. It’s a balance between reclaiming your life from your pain and not making it worse. But you will win. If for no other reason that you eventually get used to it. However try to get your medical team to understand how bad the pain is and get them to do something for you, as it can be controlled. I have my daily pain medicine, and then something stronger for break through. With the Mindfullness to help me when it gets really bad or when I know I need to spend days at work, I have a full arsenal to fight and defeat pain. With the right help you can too, and then you control it and not it you. Once you reach this point you will look back to now and see how far you have come. Trust me, it is possible. Good luck, and if you need any more help please get in touch.

image of blog pages

‘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.


image of blog pages

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



Image of blogger Lauren

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.

Image of blogger Lauren

Self Confidence and Body Image by Lauren Jessica

By Disability, Lifestyle, My story One Comment

Image of blogger LaurenDo you ever look at yourself and wonder what on Earth is that? I have to admit, I do. There’s times when I go past a mirror and I can’t even look at myself. But other days, I’m stronger and I can look in the mirror with a little bit of confidence. Due to being in a wheelchair I find myself immediately ugly and I’m ashamed of the fact that I’m in a wheelchair. I assume everyone thinks this of me, even when I know for a fact that they don’t. When I go out into town, I keep my head down and don’t really make eye contact with passing pedestrians and the public. I never feel safe. And this is one of my biggest issues.

I find that when I go out, I get stared at a lot and after a while this can knock your confidence down because you start wondering what they’re looking at and what’s drawing their attention to you. You think begin to overthink about everything and telling yourself all of the insecurities you have about yourself. Even when your friends tell you over and over again that ‘you’re beautiful and you’re amazing’ but you never take it in. You just thank them.

After a while it starts to really drag you down and you never talk about it because you feel like you’re complaining and you sound childish or you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Because you’re bottling it up, it starts to grind you down until you can barely take it any more and whenever you open your mouth you feel like you’re going to burst out crying.

It’s time that this changed. Schools should have Disability Awareness Training and so should big companies/businesses.

We have voices, and we want to be heard.