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The Love Lounge

Styling It Out and Sweaty Pits

By | Disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi,

Two things I need your advice on, styling it out and sweaty pits! One is fashion, the second is  less sexy. I’ve been single for ages, focusing on my studies and getting a job following a time of ill health. In the last eighteen months I’ve managed to lose the extra weight I had piled on after surgery.

I’m feeling confident about myself but have zero clue when it comes to clothes. I’ve either got work shirts or hoodies and want to look trendier than that. I see blokes with a bit of style and think they look cool but I’ve no idea how to put clothes together.

The more personal issue is that sometimes I get wet patches on my shirt when I’m having a sweaty day. I think it’s a side effect of medication I’m taking. I’m embarrassed by it. I prefer to layer clothes on my top half to avoid people noticing. And I’m going to see if there’s a stronger deodorant I can use as I don’t want sweaty pits when I’m dating.

Any tips on where I can look for style advice. My mates are as clueless as me.

Cheers.

Our Answer

Hi! Thanks so much for writing in to the Love Lounge.

It’s great that you’re feeling confident. That’s more than half the battle when it comes to fashion! I’d recommend going into a department store, like Topshop or River Island and taking advantage of their Personal Styling Service. It’s usually free and involves a staff member who specialises in styling going around the store with you. They’ll pick out clothes that suit your new body type, complement your skin tone and make you feel great. It’s a brilliant thing to experience as it’ll then provide you with tips to use when you go out shopping on your own. If that’s not for you then search YouTube for videos with titles like ‘BooHoo Try On Haul’ where the fashionistas suggest how to put outfits together.

A bit of advice. Don’t worry too much about what’s in fashion and what others are wearing. Instead, use that energy to focus on what makes you feel amazing inside. Good clothes have the ability to boost your mood internally, too.

Styling It Out and Sweaty Pits - a trendy young guy wears a burgundy velvet suit jacket with a patterned T-shirt underneath. He has a hipster beard, a man bun and sunglasses

Sweaty Pits

Regarding the wet patches, I’d recommend discussing this with your doctor. They may be able to change your medication to minimise this side effect. Layering clothes, experimenting with deodorants and even doing a bit of research on what colours and materials work best with sweat patches will all go some way in helping you feel comfortable. However hopefully there is a more permanent solution!

Wishing you all the best – you’ll be as stylish as can be in no time!
Em x

 

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Worried About My Boyfriend's Behaviour - a woman sits leaning against the back of the sofa looking sad, her boyfriend wears a blue and white checked shirt, has dark hair and a beard and stares into the distance looking grumpy

Worried About My Boyfriend’s Behaviour

By | Disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Dear Love Lounge,

I’m worried about my boyfriend’s behaviour. We met about 4 months ago and things have moved fast. We are crazy about each other and he has moved in. At first it was all very romantic, and he made me feel great. He complimented my appearance and was kind and generous and loving. My family are happy that I’ve met someone but wanted me to wait a while longer before he moved in, worrying I might get hurt as this is my first relationship. I dismissed their concerns as I’m 27 and wish they’d stop babying me. My mum was my carer until I got a PA and my own flat a few years ago, and she can forget I’m not a kid anymore.

In the last few weeks, my boyfriend has been short tempered and a lot less affectionate. Little things about me seem to annoy him. When we’re with friends and family he is fine but when we’re alone he frequently makes comments about my weight and has told me that I’m ‘stupid’ and ‘dense.’ I think he might also have used my bank card as it went missing from my wallet then reappeared. I have cried about this which made him more annoyed so I’m nervous of talking to him about his mood in case I make it worse. I know that couples can ‘have their moments’ as my sister so it may just be the norm?

Advice welcome.

 

Our Answer

Hi there, and thanks so much for writing in to us.

First things first, anything that makes you feel this upset and unhappy isn’t the norm.  Couples absolutely ‘have their moments’ but you are right to be worried about your boyfriend’s behaviour change. He is being neither kind nor respectful to you by the sounds of it, and this behaviour should not be accepted.

It’s good to hear that everything was great at the beginning. Has anything changed dramatically for your partner since then? Big changes at work, with money or even with family and friends can have a major impact on how we behave. And whilst it doesn’t make what he’s doing right, it might explain the reasoning behind his behaviour.

It is worrying that your boyfriend is only acting this way when you’re alone. This suggests to me that he knows the way he is acting is not acceptable.

Communication is key here. You must let him know plainly and simply (without getting too emotional if you can) that you won’t stand for comments from him that are demeaning or degrading. You won’t accept comments that make you feel bad about yourself – no-one deserves that in a relationship.

At the same time, let him know that if there is anything going on for him that you can help with, you’d be more than happy to. And if you can’t help, you’ll support him to sort it out himself. Remind him that you love him and of how great everything was at the beginning. But to get back to that, he must change his ways and how he treats you.

Tread carefully regarding the bank card – he might have genuinely picked yours up by mistake – and if no money has left your account, it seems unnecessary to accuse him of stealing. Have a chat with him about everything. How he reacts will probably tell you all you need to know about the future of your relationship.

Good luck!
Em x

 

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Can our team help with a dating dilemma, sex or relationship question? Get in touch and we’ll do our utmost to find the answers you need. Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and twitter @ETUKUndressing.

 

Losing my virginity when I have Cerebral Palsy - a young man and woman lie on a multi-coloured bed. They are wearing t-shirts and laughing and have their arms around each other

Losing My Virginity When I have Cerebral Palsy

By | The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi Ted,
I have cerebral palsy and I’m just about to go on a third date with a girl I really like. I think it has the potential to go somewhere. I’ve never had sex before, and wondered if you had any advice, as someone that also has CP?
Thanks,
A

Our Answer

Hi A,
Congratulations on securing a third date with the potential of going fourth base – not a mean feat indeed. The most succinct advice I can give is not to worry. First times are always messy, cumbersome and leave you wondering if sex is ‘all that’. But trust me, it gets better!

Practical Advice

However, as I have cerebral palsy myself I can offer some practical advice. Here are some little tips to point you in the right direction of how to make things as enjoyable as possible when you lack coordination. Firstly, I don’t know how important it is to you to unhook your first bra, but it may well be and you may well feel this is a task you cannot perform (most men, CP or not, struggle!). In this instance you could always ask her to unbuckle it while you hold it in place and then you get to perform the ‘reveal’ without the fiddly bit.
You could apply this to the other aspects of undressing so you can get the thrill of doing it yourself minus the need for the fine motor skills you may lack.

Manoeuvres

As for the actual act it’s important you don’t feel embarrassed about the things you can’t do. I really struggle crawling on a mattress (I fall into my own indent!!), so if you fancy a trip down south maybe think about other ways of getting there. Getting out of bed and kneeling could offer much more stability.

Taking Control

I would imagine that being your first time and accepting the restrictions of your movements she will ‘do all the work’ no questions asked. However if you build up a relationship with this woman you could have a think about and discuss ways you could take more control. That’s if, and only if you want to. I mentioned in a previous answer trying doggy style with a grabrail to help with stability, this could be a way for you to feel more in control.

Satisfaction

And lastly, a piece of advice not specifically centred around disability. Don’t forget that when the show is over (and this may take no time at all, which is fine!) there are plenty of other ways you can still ensure the satisfaction of both parties! So don’t worry about this at all.
Have fun!!
Best
Ted

Send Us Your Questions

Can our team help with a dating dilemma, sex or relationship question? Get in touch and we’ll do our utmost to find the answers you need. Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and twitter @ETUKUndressing.

 

 

Turning Pain into Pleasure -A long haired bearded man in an open shirt bares his hairy chest whilst kissing a fair skinned dark haired woman

Turning Pain Into Pleasure

By | Disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi,

My question is about turning pain into pleasure. I really want to go further with a girl I met recently. I experience a lot of pain on a daily basis due to my condition, and wanted to know if there’s anything you recommend to help me turn that pain into pleasure? It’s scaring me a bit and I’m avoiding those intimate conversations.

Thanks

S

Our Answer

Hi S,

Thank you for reaching out about turning pain into pleasure. You are not alone. Pain can be a problem for lots of people and it is understandably daunting having these conversations. The most important thing is to take everything at your own pace and take the time to explore what you do and do not enjoy.

My first piece of advice is to follow any pain management techniques provided by your doctor. This could be medication, a hot bath or knowing what time of day you may be at your worst level of pain. This will hopefully set you up to succeed in your bedroom adventures before you have even begun.

When people talk about turning pain into pleasure it is often assumed they are talking about inflicting pain and for many people this may be true. However there are many ways to turn existing pain into a pleasurable experience. This can be especially effective as the hormones released during sexual experiences have been shown to increase our pain tolerance levels. I have outlined some suggestions below and all of these can be enjoyed either alone or with a partner.

Whilst all these suggestions can be used in a sexual context it can also be used outside of the bedroom. Spending some time increasing your awareness of your own body may help reduce some of the anxieties around engaging in intimate conversations. It is also important you are aware of any reduced sensitivity or vulnerable parts of your body to avoid accidental injury.

1. Pressure

Applying pressure can often distract the neural pathways conveying the pain, this could be applied to the area of pain or to any part of the body. Ways of doing this may be through a massage, being gripped or held tightly or being bound firmly with a restraint, rope, or clothing.

2. Sensory deprivation

Using a blindfold or headphones to block out some sensory input can often make it easier to concentrate on other things. This can be used to help get past the distraction of pain and focus on the more pleasurable sensations created by whatever it is you or your partner is doing.

3. Hot/cold

It’s common practice to apply heat or cooling to painful areas to relieve pain. This can also be applied to other parts of the body including erogenous zones to draw your attentions away from your painful sensations. It can also be used to induce a different type of pain than the one you experience daily if that is something you find enjoyable.

4. Pain

An important thing to remember is there are different types of pain and there is no set way to work out what each person will like as everyone is different. Some people may even experience sensations such as tickling as painful so these could also be tried. A rough outline is to create a dull pain you would be looking at large flat objects such as paddles, the longer and thinner the object the more it will be a stinging sensation. Scratching or prickling pains can be created by things as simple as fingernails, teeth or a device called a Wartenberg wheel or pinwheel. Finally things such as pegs or clamps can be used to create a pinching sensation.

I hope this has helped guide your exploration.

Kat

Have you got a question for our Love Lounge sexperts? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

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The word Confidence in a dictionary highlighted in green marker pen

Finding the confidence to date again

By | Disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi there,

My question is about rebuilding confidence. I have a spinal cord injury and am a wheelchair user.  Before lockdown, I was quite used to going out on dates (and it didn’t really matter whether I got a second one or not, I just loved the excitement of meeting people!) But now I’m starting to feel like I’m out of practice after months inside, and that I’m going to run out of time to find someone special.  How can I regain my confidence and stop feeling the pressure?

Thanks

Our Answer

Hi K,

Thanks so much for writing to us. It’s great to hear that you found confidence and comfort in dating as it means you can do it again! Lockdown has been a really strange and difficult time for many of us. I don’t know one person that hasn’t been affected either in some physical way, or mentally, by this.

And when we’re stuck inside, with so much time to think and feel lonely, it’s almost impossible not to feel like life is passing us. But I promise you that time is moving at exactly the same rate as it did before, we’ve sadly just not been able to enjoy it in the same way!

So, I’d recommend using the remainder of this time inside to think positively about what you’d like to achieve over the next 1, 3, 5 or even 10 years. You might want to write things down, or even create a vision board of your wants and needs. There’s not much that we have control over right now, but we can control our thoughts and desires, and what we do with them. If it is a relationship that’s a priority for you, why not ease yourself back in slowly and see if there’s an online dating event that you could get involved with? Funnily enough, we are running one soon… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/virtual-speed-dating-with-enhance-the-uk-tickets-121709138309

That way, your confidence will start building again, and you’ll feel more in control by taking action, and the pressure will hopefully subside.

Wishing you luck, let us know how you get on!
Em x

 

You may also find these article useful.

Online Dating – Is it worth it? 

Online Dating As A Disabled Person

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Online Dating when disabled - a womans hands hold a mobile phone whilst cartoon hearts and words fly out from the screen

Online Dating when Disabled: Is it worth it?

By | The Love Lounge

Online dating when disabled. This is a very hot topic that we receive lots of questions about at the Love Lounge. We invited Ted Shiress, one of our sexperts, to share his thoughts, personal experience and advice.  Ted, who writes from a straight guy’s perspective, offers these pearls of wisdom.

Finding Love

I met my partner on a dating website. In the five or so years before that, I changed from thinking of myself as a complete romantic write-off to someone who knows what they’re doing. My experiences of it arguably buck the trend of most things I read by disabled daters. But the reality is for online dating to work, you’ve got to put some effort in! My practical tips and honest advice are shared below.

Introductions are Everything

Hi. How r u?

Hey. How’s it going?

Hello. What’s up?

Are you still reading? I hope so. Still, I can’t blame those who have clicked away. I have (at least on a non-ironic level) made no effort to arouse and sustain your interest. So it’s totally understandable if you’ve been distracted and turned to the flashiest thing on your screen. 

Introductions are everything. So get creative. Send imaginative messages, but also make sure that your profile sells you well.

Everyone’s Superficial!

“Everyone’s superficial!” I hear you cry. Well yes, there are lots of people who are superficial on dating sites. Why are you wasting your time with them? Ultimately, if your entire message is solely saying “Hi. how r u?” they probably think you’re superficial too! That’s probably the same message they got from other guys who were panting like a dog in heat at a flash of cleavage. Not the epitome of feeling wanted!

In my experience the average woman on a dating site isn’t short of messages. So, she’ll have little desire to give a seemingly unimaginative message any attention. Here, you have two options:

1) Only message matches you can see genuine common ground with

2) Or maybe slightly overplay the potential connection to spark a rapport 

Admittedly, the second is slightly shady, but sometimes potential takes time and exploration!

 

Perfecting Your Profile

I see people focus purely on their disability when writing their dating profile. I’m going to be harsh but honest here. If someone has little to no prior experience of disability, they might be thrown off-kilter. So, write interestingly and positively to counter that. Write about your interests: the places you’ve visited, books you’ve read, and music you love. Pull the reader in and get them hooked on what you have to say, rather than the equipment you might use to navigate the world. That’s perhaps a more intimate chat for later on.

Choose Your Dating Site Carefully

OK Cupid was my personal favourite dating site, and where I met my partner. This was because it gave me the most opportunity to go into detail and put myself across well. Honestly? It took a nudge from her housemate (Thanks Chrissie!) to get her to reply to my first message, but it worked!  In fact, it’s not a bad idea to ask friends to help you write your profile. Together, you might create the perfect dating pitch.

OK Cupid also had a good matching system, based on values rather than interests. An endless bank of questions you could answer gradually built up a kind of moral profile of who you were. It then matched you in % to potential partners. Obviously, it was a vague estimate but I often found the matches in the 90%s the most easy to talk to. I think my partner Astrid rocked in at 95% – see, my dear, stats don’t lie!

Is it Worth it?

So contrary to a lot of opinions, I say yes, online dating when disabled is worth it! Just don’t take it personally when you don’t get a reply. Your message is probably one of fifty!

Follow us on twitter @ETUKUndressing and on Instagram @UndressingDisability. #UndressingDisability #LoveLoungeUK

More articles about online dating as a disabled person:

Online Dating As A Disabled Person

Rejection, dating and disclosing disability

How safe is sexting? written in black capital letters with a stress level sign below

How safe is sexting?

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Hi Love Lounge. How safe is sexting? My boyfriend and I got together 3 months ago and enjoy an active sex life. We met at the gym and got talking as we both have lost a limb, him to cancer, me to a car accident.

Funny how people come into your life at the right moment. I had recently split up with my ex and was feeling a bit down about myself and he is the pick me up I needed. We are both on the same page when it comes to sex and had been getting it on a lot prior to lockdown.
Now both living separately we’ve started having phone sex, using the video apps to get down and dirty. My boyfriend asked me to send him some saucy photos to keep and look at whenever he likes.  I’m feeling hesitant to do that. He doesn’t understand why and it’s caused an argument. I am wary of photos of me in the buff being stored somewhere and now he’s quizzing me on trust and making me feel bad. But I worry. How safe is sexting? I feel it’s a bit early in our relationship for him to have these pics. The video sex is different as we are both together in the moment and afterwards its gone.
Is it safe to send images to other people? Am I being a prude?

Our Answer

Communication

Firstly, it’s brilliant that you’ve been honest about how you feel about sexting. The fact that it’s caused a row is not necessarily a bad thing, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Setting boundaries and communicating about why these exist, and what they mean to you is important. It’s how we learn to respect one another, appreciate each other’s values and show consideration.

So how safe is sexting?

Good question! Sexting is very popular amongst consenting adults. For me, it comes back to one main factor: personal identification.

Even if you don’t post photos that show your face, your body may be identified by:

  • tattoos or birth marks
  • where you live – (posing in front of your fantastic wallpaper)
  • the data stored within an image

Reducing Risk

I’d recommend you read this article on 7 Crucial Tips to Safe Sexting . It provides information on how to remove the data from any images you choose to send. Remember that screenshots can still be taken from video calls too, so be careful there – especially if your face is in shot.

This article provides advice on How To Sext Safely.  It suggests which sites may be safer and the risks of using an app like Instagram which links to your identity.

Trust

Of course you should wholeheartedly trust anyone you send a nude to, that goes without saying. Try having an open discussion about your worries. Raise the points around the safety of sexting and what your boyfriend might do with the images (no need to argue!). Set some boundaries that you are comfortable with.

Don’t feel pressured

If he doesn’t understand or try to calm your worries by reassuring you, maybe he isn’t the guy you should be sending sexy photos to. Don’t feel under pressure to do anything you don’t want to do. Someone who respects you won’t put you in that position.

Hope this helps, and sending all best wishes,

Emily x

Have you got a question about sex and disability or intimate relationships? Write to us and our sexperts will help. Keep up to date with all our Love Lounge questions by following us on social media. On twitter we’re @ETUKUndressing and on Instagram @UndressingDisability.  #UndressingDisability

Boring, routine sex - a woman in her 40s wearing a bra and jeans looks in a mirror, which is placed on top of a chest of drawers, applying make-up

Boring, Routine Sex

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Dear Love Lounge,
I am a visually impaired woman in her 40’s and my question is about boring, routine sex. My husband of 15 years has always been a very sensual and a loving lover but lately any bedroom action has become routine like. I can’t even spice it up by fantasising in my head.  And talking to my fella about it only makes it worse. He gets really moody and implies I’m criticising him when I suggest we shake things up.

My friends and I discuss our sex lives and I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or a long term relationship thing but I know I’m not alone in needing more in the bedroom than I’m currently getting. Any tips for approaching this topic in a way that won’t bruise my husband’s ego would be ace, thanks.

Our Answer

Hello.  Boring, routine sex, as you put it, is not unusual for many couples. Especially if you’ve been together a while or have had a change in the circumstances of your relationship recently.

Communication is key

Communication of some kind is the only real answer here. Maybe you could change your approach to discussing this with your husband who is feeling defensive?

Instead of talking about boring, routine sex perhaps take it back to basics and ask him about what he likes in bed?

When we’ve been with someone for a while, it’s easy to think we know everything about them, including their fantasies and desires . As with anything in life, our tastes can change, and he might have felt unable to express this change to you. A more open, honest and positive chat might just do the trick.

What do you want out of your sex life?

If talking it through doesn’t go to plan then it’s time for Plan B. Ask yourself. What do I want from our sex life? Figure that out then make a move with something new such as:

Taking the initiative and spicing things up in a way that makes you feel sexy and in control might be the wake up call your husband needs to respond in the way you want and be more inventive in general.

Give it a go, hope this helps!

Emily x

Got a question about relationships, disabled dating or sex and intimacy? Write to us and our sexperts will offer free advice.

Keep up to date with all our Love Lounge questions by following us on social media. On twitter we’re @ETUKUndressing and on Instagram @UndressingDisability.  #UndressingDisability

Doggy with CP - the word SEX written in orange paint on a white background with a hand

Doggy Style with CP

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

Our Question

Hello,

I am male, I have Cerebral Palsy spastic quadriplegia, I am a full time wheelchair user. I have been married for nearly 8 years to an able bodied woman and we have a great sex life. My question is about doing it doggy style with CP.

Due to my disability I find certain positions difficult. I am eager to push my boundaries though. At present my wife will either go on top or we have sex on the side. I would however like to try doggy style or sex on top as I am keen to have more control.

I do struggle to get on my knees but can do it. It is then trying to stay stable and thrust.

I wondered if you could offer any advice?

Cheers, M

Our Answer

Hello mate,

Firstly, I highly commend you in continuing to be adventurous and push boundaries, it’s the way to success in everything (not just sex, but yes, obviously sex included!). So, doggy style with CP. Speaking as someone with Cerebral Palsy myself I always underestimate just how hard it is to crawl on a mattress, the indent I make creates the perfect hole to fall into!
Have you tried experimenting with different surfaces? Perhaps something firm enough that you don’t indent but soft enough that you both feel comfortable? Maybe some kind of mat? Or perhaps you could incorporate a grab-rail for some extra thrust and stability?
I’m sure a subtly worded email to the council about difficulties you have moving in bed (maybe don’t add ‘while getting my leg over’!) could get you one installed. That would give you both stability and something to help you thrust.
Have a look at liberator.com – they provide sex furniture (wedges etc) that might enable you both to try different positioning with a bit of support. Whilst these are pretty pricey, they might inspire you to get some foam yourself and have a go!
Just a few ideas, hope it helps!
Ted

Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and on twitter @ETUKUndressing. Learn more about sex and disability by purchasing our ‘Undressing Disability’ ebook priced at £5.99 All proceeds go to support our charity.

Sex when you have a stoma - a woman with long reddish hair sits on a bed holding a white duvet up and across her body

Sex when you have a stoma

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

The Question

Hey Love Lounge team,
My question is about having sex when you have a stoma. I’m 19 and at college. I’ve got a big group of friends and a busy social life but I’ve yet to have a sexual experience. I have a stoma which I’m grateful for as it means I can live a normal life and eat and drink whatever I want. But my inexperience with sex means I’m just not sure how it would work for me in a practical sense. I do get chatted up in the pub but anything beyond flirting I close down straight away. I feel panicked about intimacy, but I know I need to get over that. My closest friends know my situation and try to be supportive but as their bodies are different to mine they can’t really help. Have you got any advice?

Our Answer

Hi there, and thanks so much for writing in to us at the Love Lounge.
The good news is, we have just the person for you! Our good friend and colleague, Hannah Witton, has a stoma and talks a lot about sex and disability.  Hannah’s a fantastic YouTuber and her videos are always fun and educational.
In the video below she talks all about having sex when you have a stoma.

Her tips include:

  • emptying your stoma bag before sex
  • using stoma bags you can fold up during sex
  • and even wearing crotchless underwear to keep the stoma bag in place

So, have a watch and see if this helps you at all.

You’re only 19 – please don’t feel pressured to be doing everything your friends are doing. Only take the sexual steps that feel comfortable and right to you. And also please don’t let worrying about sex when you have a stoma make you feel any less sexy or worthy of attention and intimacy. I know lots of people who wish their partners would wear something lacy and sexy in the bedroom so, there might be that to thank your bag for in the long run!!
Good luck, and sending you all best wishes,
Em x
Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and on twitter @ETUKUndressing. Learn more about sex and disability by purchasing our ‘Undressing Disability’ ebook priced at £5.99 All proceeds go to support our charity.
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