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“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 parents have always been over protective of me…”

By Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments

“My parents have always been over protective of me because of my disability which leaves me with limited movement in my joints and reliant on a wheelchair. But now I’m 17 I’ve gotten a lot better at navigating everyday tasks and I’m a lot less dependant on my parents. Last year I even started school for the first time after being home schooled and I even met a guy who wants to go on a date with me. But unfortunately I really don’t think my parents will let me as they’re too protective. How can I sway them? I can’t exactly sneak out undetected!” Hayley – Nottingham


Hi Hayley.  This a real tough one.  It’s understandable that your parents are a little too protective due to your disability, but they should also recognise your new found independence and your desire to go on dates like any other 17 year old! The fact that you’ve now started school is a huge step, and I hope that’s going really well for you.  In terms of the date, I think you need to find a compromise that both you and your parents are comfortable with.  I don’t think sneaking out or being dishonest is the best way forward, but you should absolutely talk to them about how you feel.  Say that you really appreciate the fact that they care so much about your wellbeing, but that it’s also important that you challenge yourself ever now and then, and do things that, up until now, you might not have had the ability or confidence to do.  Find a common ground with your parents, perhaps say that you would be happy for them to drop you off on the date and pick you up at a certain time, then at least they know that you are safe, which I’m sure will be their main concern! I’m sure the guy that wants to take you out is lovely and understanding, so perhaps also explain to him the fact that your parents are a little worried.  He might be happy to reassure them with a phone call, or go over to your house to meet them beforehand.  Really hoping that all goes well for you, you deserve it!

Emily x

“I’ve just started seeing an amazing girl in the year above…”

By Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments

“I’ve just started seeing an amazing girl in the year above from school. She knows I’m partially blind and it’s never been a big deal. But one of the only places we can hang out is at the cinema which doesn’t have many accessible movies with audio description. I don’t want her to get bored with me! What other fun cheap dates could I take her on?” 

Matthew – Liverpool

Hi! Some of my most memorable dates have been the cheapest! It’s great that you want to mix it up a bit, and I’m sure she will love the date, whatever it is that you decide to do.  I always thing it’s wonderfully interesting when you show somebody else ‘your world’, and introduce them to things that they’ve never experienced before.  I play wheelchair basketball, and have taken my boyfriend to a game with me.  He’s able-bodied, and we’ve just started taking wheelchair ballroom dance classes! He loves it, as it’s something that only I have been able to show him.  Do you take part in any similar classes or clubs that you could introduce your girlfriend to? They’re often free which is a huge plus! Failing that, going for a homemade picnic is always a winner! Or how about going back to basics and having a board game day at your house?! Totally free and SO MUCH FUN.

Emily x

“I’m 15 and the only wheelchair user in a mainstream school…”

By Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments

“I’m 15 and the only wheelchair user in a mainstream school. I have a lot of friends but really like one guy in our group as more than that. He’s nice to me but I don’t think he looks at me in that way. How can I get him to notice me and not the wheelchair?”

Rachel – Crawley

Hi Rachel, it’s a great question, and a situation that many of us have been through.  I think the one and only answer I can really give is be yourself and let yourself shine.  Most people are the best versions of themselves when they are relaxed and comfortable, so firstly work out what situations make you the most comfortable! It might be within a large group of friends, at a certain restaurant, or in the park opposite your house with a picnic and a book.  Whichever situation it might be, pluck up the courage to invite him along to things outside of school, this way you’ll get to know each other on a more personal level.  When you feel the time is right, arrange to do something with him that only involves you two: going for a coffee, to the cinema, taking him to one of your favourite places that is totally new to him etc.  The more than you feel in control of the situation, the more confident you are likely to be.  Hopefully you’ll have loads of fun, and if he’s still not making moves, maybe you could?  At least you’ll probably feel like you know him well enough to have ‘the conversation’ without it being awkward.  Good luck! 🙂

Emily x

Learning Disabilities and the Capacity to Consent

By Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments


“I’m interested to know what you think about the court’s decision that a young woman with learning disabilities and a history of abusive relationships does have mental capacity to consent to sex: I personally find it tricky because while, on the one hand it’s important people with learning disabilities are treated with respect and have equal rights to the rest of us, on the other hand don’t we as a society have a duty to protect vulnerable people from abuse?”


Hi Ella. Wow, great question. I personally find this just as tricky as you do, and agree with everything you say. The issue that I have with this situation is that, before the alleged sexual relationships and financial deals started at this woman’s expense, she was in a vulnerable position, and had made friendships and relationships with those who did not have her best interests at heart. It upsets me that this has somehow been allowed to happen, which has led to her being taken advantage of, whether she was deemed capable of consenting or not.

Regardless of a certain difficulty or disability, I hope this case has been dealt with the severity it deserves; any financial dealings around sex, and domestic abuse, are illegal (this seems to be a ‘glossed over’ part in the article), and I do personally believe that this lady’s condition leads to a much more sensitive case with lots of factors to think about.

As to whether or not I think the verdict was correct, it’s hard to say as I do not know the lady and, as with many things, all cases are different based on the individual and their needs. Her age is a really pivotal part of the case as if she’d been only a few years younger and legally a child, her disability would have only strengthened the horror of the case. With the age she is, however, the court has a real dilemma of treating her just like any other adult, or basing their decision on a child’s case, and effectively demeaning her by doing so. The problem, it seems, is that there are no guidlines for anything inbetween, which this situation obviously is!

I do think that this case and your eagerness to talk about it has made clear that situations like this need to be looked at closely and reviewed with sensitivity. In my opinion, this article highlights the very sad truth that, with correct preventative measures and support for the lady, these awful events would possibly never have happened; this should never have been a case for the court to decide. Apologies for not being able to give you a ‘black and white’ answer, but more than happy to keep chatting things through if you wish to do so.

25, transgender with Cerebral Palsy

By Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, The Love Lounge No Comments


“Hey my names Carl I am 25 with CP. I have had an extensive dating history some of which I am proud of some of which I am not. I guess we all have been there. I am transgender and only recently came out as such. Now bare in mind that I have done the whole internet dating thing as well. What I find is that you get some questions from people that make you question societies common sense in general like, “Have you ever had sex?” Like one, if I hadn’t had sex before would I tell you? And two, if that’s a good conversation starter and that’s your idea of a ice breaker I don’t think we will EVER have sex .

I find now that I am more confident in my self and how I am with others, but as soon as I went over to Mars and left Venus behind ( a little trans joke ) I find that I struggle with dating. Like I was the cool hot girl that was good at video games and good at fixing cars … now I don’t know I am a lot more guarded. I don’t know I just feel like something has changed, I was guarded about guys wanting me as a fantasy lay.
Now its that plus the added pressure of “do they want me Carl or the women side of me because I am pre op and not on hormones so I don’t know is it me am I putting my foot in the water too soon? Or am I just too jaded or think too much ?


A toughie Carl. I know I once went out with someone and when they discovered I could have sex they were rather pissed off. They imagined I would become a nice little love slave, giving out the pleasure but needing no attention in return. So I get the whole unsure of what people are looking for. I cannot deny I have little experience of Transgender issues, although some of my friends do. I kind of don’t really care and I wonder if that’s the approach you might adopt around dating? If you like someone and they like you, should it matter if they want your Venus or Mars? And even after reassignment, you will still have both as part of who you are. I know I am very happy with being feminine, even though I know I don’t look it physically. I might be straight and a male, so I inherit the world kind of which makes it easy to be in touch with my feminine side, but I know that it is the whole of me that my partners have found attractive. I would advise you to worry less, while ensuring you keep yourself safe as we all know what tossers some straight men can be about this subject, and explore the new you with people you like as people, and who do the same for you. I would also try to find a support group near you, and get joining asap. Talking to people who are going through the stuff you are will really help and allow you build your confidence for the future.

I will also have a chat with my Trans mates and see if they have any pearls of wisdom I can pass on. Until then, I think it’s best to be cautious at first but not too let that prevent you from dating. Be up front and honest, and let that new found confidence shine through. Hope that helps somewhat?

Have either of you tried online dating?

By Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, The Love Lounge No Comments


Have either of you tried online dating? do you think you need to be upfront about your disability (and risk putting people off!) or should you hide it, and surprise them later on?”


Hi James, I am so old that online dating didn’t exist when I was on the prowl, so it’s an unknown concept to me I’m afraid. However I have always been proud of my impairment and cannot see that that would change online. I know that is because I use a wheelchair so it’s not exactly something I can hide, but I also feel it is part of how I am and as I like myself I am out and proud. As a teenager I wasn’t so upfront, but found that I had to have “that chat” about what did and didn’t work on my body. Some of my partners reacted badly, and as I got older I found that being upfront from the start was easier for all concerned. So if I was single today, in the world of online dating, I would choose the open and direct approach. Who wants to go on a date and see “that” face, of someone who discovers you are disabled at a point when they feel they have to smile and be fine about it no matter what they really think. I mean, who wants to date someone who is put off by disability? Gonna be an awful date, if nothing else.

If I’m honest I have always seen my impairment as a filter that saves me from dating some people who would have not been, shall we say, a good match (polite eh?). We are disabled and if someone finds that a turn off then not being with them is better for all concerned. So if you use online dating, be upfront and that way you will only get those people who don’t really care. Sure it will cut down the number of responses but is that bad thing?

Us oldies can count ourselves lucky. We met in clubs and bars face to face. We could over come the stereotypes around disability in person and so it wasn’t such a big deal. One bit of advice I would give to anyone is that was the best way of meeting people. If you can creating an active social life leads you to situations where you meet people in an environment that allows relationships to form around who you are and not what you are. But that could just be the old man talking. Whatever you try, good luck and have fun. If you approach it as a laugh and not some serious search for love then you can’t loose.

I am 31, single, with Cerebral Palsy…

By Emily Yates, Lifestyle, The Love Lounge No Comments


“Hi, I am 31, single with CP. I have had only one boyfriend and am feeling alone as all my peers are marrying and having children. I don’t know what to do?”


Hi Fiona. Thanks so much for getting in touch. I’ve also got CP and know the feeling of ‘will I ever find someone that’s for me?’ very well indeed.

I think that the two main and most important answers that I can give to your question of what to do now in terms of finding a relationship is, firstly, stop comparing yourself to your friends and, secondly, focus on you and only you.

This may seem like a really tough thing to do, and it is! However, I can assure you that it can also really change your outlook on yourself and your life.  You and your friends are in different stages of your lives and having different experiences.  That is FINE! Enjoy the gossip you get when your friends talk about their marriages and babies, but please don’t let that make you feel like you’re not having as much fun as them or that you’re not worthy of the same happiness.  I can assure you that you are and that romance will happen for you, but the more that you search for it, get down about it and worry about when it will find its way to you, the harder it will be to find.  In fact, most of the time the best things happen when we aren’t looking for them 🙂

I also mention the importance of focusing on yourself because this will help you to become more aware of who you are and what you are looking for in someone else. Have fun being single, and get yourself out there doing things that YOU enjoy.  Now is the time that you don’t need to compromise or worry about what anyone else may think.  You can do everything that you want, how great is that?! An added bonus is that, by going to events that interest you or taking up a hobby that’s always tickled your fancy, you have a very good chance indeed of meeting somebody with common interests, so if romance does blossom, you’ll have loads to chat and giggle about!

When I was 19, I made the decision to go and study in Australia for a year.  I left my friends, family, and my long term boyfriend behind.  Our relationship ended because of the distance but, do you know what?! It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  I went out most nights with my girl-friends, enjoyed living and studying in a new country and said ‘YES’ to every opportunity that was offered to me.  I didn’t even kiss a guy for the whole year, because I was only interested in having the best experience possible, and I didn’t want anyone to become the centre of that experience and distract me.  I can honestly say it was the best year of my life, but only because I used the fact I was single in a positive way; I could’ve easily been really miserable too!

So, my ultimate advice is to have as much fun as you can, and I guarantee that when they see you laughing and smiling, the boys will be chasing you! 😉

All the best,
Em x


Is sex really all guys in their 20’s are looking for?

By Lifestyle, Mik Scarlet, The Love Lounge No Comments


“Hi Mik, Just over 6 months ago, I came out of my first relationship. It was an amazing time in my life, ok maybe relationship is the wrong word, we were dating for two months. The breakup hurt, but it wasn’t disasterous. He’s not talking to me but that’s fine, he obviously isn’t ready to be friends.

However, since that time I’ve been on a few dates and had quite a few guys said they were interested in me. They’re sweet, and funny, and seem genuine; until they turn around and tell me they are only interested in sex. Now I guess I kind of feel flattered, I’m a 24 year old woman with mild cerebral palsy, but I haven’t crossed that hurdle and I want to mean something, and for me to mean something to the other person, when I do decide that’s what I want.

My question is, is sex really all guys in their 20’s are looking for?

I have a really close relationship with a guy I met when I was on holiday in Florida when I was 16, but he lives in Australia, so that’s not really possible. He’s the only guy, at 26, around my age who I have actually had interested in me who’s not just interested in sex. I’m just wondering if I’m giving the ‘come try me’ signal but avoiding it entirely. I don’t want to apologise for being me, but I feel like this seems to be such a big draw for men.

Any sage words of advice would be greatly appreciated!”


Arh Lizzy, the age old question. Are boys in their 20’s only interested in one thing, sex? The short answer is no, but that’s not to say that they will admit that they want more. I was an aberration as I have always sought out a relationship rather than sex, which really freaked out some of my partners when I was in my 20’s. It’s also not just men who are interested in sex. My wife freely admits she went out with me at first as she fancied me and wanted to have sex with me. The relationship came out of the sex… tee hee.

So, what would I advise you? Well firstly, is it so bad that these guys are being truthful? I know that many women end up with broken hearts when they discover that the guy they thought wanted a relationship only wanted sex, and with these guys telling you like it is, you at least know what you’re getting in to. I also wonder is it such a bad thing to start out just having sex? As I said, that is how my marriage started and it’s getting stronger every day 26 years later. As well as not knowing if it will grow into something more, if you really fancy a few of these guys I wonder if a few nights of sweaty fun might not a good idea. Make some nice memories at least. Sure there’s the reputation issue, which is so sad in the 21st Century, but I would hope they weren’t the kind of guys to kiss and tell. Always an important thing to gauge before you jump into the sack.

As for your worry about that signals you are giving, I know your pain. My wife might have only wanted sex but I fancied her to bits. Apparently I was such a flirt she was sure I’d love her and leave her, so that is how she went in to the relationship. Luckily I trapped her with my charm and wit (?), but she was still attracted to how I was and I couldn’t have changed if I wanted. Please don’t over think the way you act with these guys. Be yourself and they will love it, or leave it, either way you win.

Actually, don’t over think it all. Men might say they want sex, and of course we do because we are mostly horny little devils, but we aren’t really that different from you ladies. We also want to be loved and secure and happy, but we just aren’t brought up to be able to say it. In a way their honesty shows how much they like you. If they really wanted just to have sex with you they’d say whatever they thought would get you in bed. Men can be bastards! Go out on a date with them, maybe even tumble into bed and see what occurs. It might turn out they were trying to be cool and they want as much from you as you think you want from them. If not, make sure the night was something to remember when you are old and past it!

To be honest, it’s so great to get a question from someone who is not finding their impairment isn’t a bar to finding love, sex and flowers. Get out there and let the world take you where it will, and enjoy the ride.