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Let's talk about sex and relationships!

emilyroseyatesemilyroseyates Posts: 6Member
edited August 2016 in Guest Q&As
Hi there, I'm Emily, one of the visiting non - expert sexperts to this forum and representing Enhance the UK's Love Lounge. I'm 23, a permanent wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and currently dividing my time between Leeds and Rio, working as a disability awareness trainer and an accessibility consultant for the upcoming 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Using our own experiences, Mik and I will try and give solid advice on all your questions regarding love, sex and relationships. So whether you're gay or straight, disabled or with someone who has a disability, near or far away, get in touch! X

Replies

  • Mik_ScarletMik_Scarlet Posts: 5Member
    edited October 2014
    And I'm Mik. I am the other non-expert sexpert working with Emily on the Love Lounge. I work as a journalist, broadcaster and musician as well as running a small but successful equality consultancy. I live in London with my amazing wife Diane. I am old enough to be Emily's Dad, at the grand old age of 49, which is really scary. Luckily it also means I've been around a bit and have loads of experience with love, flowers and the sexy stuff to fall back on when I answer your problems. So please get in touch and I will see if my past successes and embarrassing failures in the game of love can help me help you. As Emily says, gay or straight, disabled or not if you think we can give you a helping hand (oo-er) drop us a line here via Scope or through Enhance the UK's Love Lounge (http://enhancetheuk.org/enhance/the-love-lounge/)
    To make sure I mull you questions over and give you advice I know will help I won't answer right away. So please be patient, and I will put my thoughts on your issues up as soon as I can. But get asking, and I will get answering asap!
  • James_James_ Posts: 1Member
    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? :-)
  • Mik_ScarletMik_Scarlet Posts: 5Member
    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.
  • hey my names Carl I am 25 with CP , I have had a extensive dating history some of which I am proud of some of which I am not .I guess we all have been their 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 society 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 that's a good conversation starter if that's your idea of a ice breaker I dont 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 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 dont know is it me am I putting my foot in the water too soon ? or am I just too jaded or think to much ?
  • Mik_ScarletMik_Scarlet Posts: 5Member
    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?
  • EllaBEllaB Posts: 35Member Listener
    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: http://dailym.ai/1wBHexD 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?
  • emilyroseyatesemilyroseyates Posts: 6Member
    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.
    Emily x
  • EllaBEllaB Posts: 35Member Listener
    I don't think there are any black and white answers, and I think you've made some really good points. I agree the abusive relationships should never have been allowed to happen. Perhaps a more constructive question would be not whether this young woman has capacity to consent, but how she can be protected going forward.
  • lisalouise999lisalouise999 Posts: 17Member Listener
    Hi there. I have CFS and have mobility and pain problems. Can I ask advice about how you can not let a disability become a turn off in the bedroom? I had my first bedloop put in today and I'm a bit worried it might put my partner off. He is a great person but has gone off to work with a normal house, and will come home to a more adapted one. I'm even more worried what having a toilet frame fitted will do to our sex life. Obviously he knew these items were going to arrive today but we are both reasonably young and I want to feel comfortable in my home, not worried it will turn him off.
  • emilyroseyatesemilyroseyates Posts: 6Member
    Hi Lisa, thanks so much for your question. It's always tough when circumstances change slightly and we have to adapt to them. This topic is right up my street as I'm currently writing my Masters dissertation on disability and the sexual taboo and I've also just set up a mobility aids business with a twist! Mobility aids, in my opinion, are great for helping us to function to the best of our abilities, but they often have a lot to answer for in terms of looking pretty! My business, poszo, aims to change this by offering leopard print crutches, floral bedloops and everything inbetween.
    My boyfriend and I have a running joke. Embarrassingly, whenever we visit his family, they take the toilet seat off so I can't snap it off if I stumble when I'm transferring - it's happened before! It's all done in good spirits and I jokingly bought his dad a new toilet seat for his birthday, but I can totally relate to the awkwardness that you're worried about!
    I now have a little frame around the toilet in our flat. At first, I refused to use it as it looked so chunky and sterile compared the rest of the bathroom that we've colourfully decorated. So, one evening, my boyfriend, a friend, and I used some little model paints and completely redesigned the toilet frame together. There's now multicoloured flowers, suns, and reindeers(?) on it, and it looks SO cool to the extent that people comment on it, and I feel much happier using it.
    From what you've written, you and your partner seem pretty solid, so my advice would be to have fun with the new stuff that's going to make your life easier. Have a painting session together maybe, and I don't know what you're into in the bedroom, but there's plenty of ways that the bedloop could be spiced up to make for a very exciting sex life... Most of all, talk to your partner about how anxious you're feeling. Explain that you don't want things to be any different between the two of you and that you want him to feel that he can talk to you about anything that might be bothering him too!
    Good luck with it, and if you want any more info on my mobility aids business or how you might be able to spice things up further, give me a shout!
    Emily x
  • lisalouise999lisalouise999 Posts: 17Member Listener
    I will definitely take you up on your offer of info about your business, and a bit of extra spice in the bedroom can never be a bad thing either! Even through so much change we have always been solid, but I think this just pushed him out of his comfort zone. I really do understand, as I feel uncomfortable too (which is why I love your painting ideas) but he is talking about getting rid of it within the week. He seems totally focused on himself and how it will make him look, which is so unlike him. I'm left feeling so alone, and as my family don't take cfs seriously, I don't have anyone else to turn to. I hope he can get over his negative feelings and talks to me about where this has all come from. I'm trying to understand that he is embarrassed by the items, not by me. My self confidence effects my being able to get in the mood, and even though I can't manage several time a week, having a sex life is important to me. I can just imagine this taking a huge dent out of any confidence I've managed to scape back
  • emilyroseyatesemilyroseyates Posts: 6Member
    Hi Lisa, my apologies, I didn't realise that this had already caused an issue in your relationship. Such a shame that you feel alone, and I can totally understand why this wouldn't be having the most positive effect on your sex life!! I think a bit of time will tell in this situation. Focusing on your comfort and ease of getting around should be much more important to your partner than how he looks. I think taking a step back from this and seeing these aids for what they really are: a few bits of plastic or metal, will really help the two of you. I know that they imply something much bigger than that, but they are really just bits of material to help you out, and it's unfortunate that your partner doesn't accept them as that just yet, but I think that, in time, he will. And, if he sees how much they help you out, then that should DEFINITELY win him over! My advice would be to stay positive in yourself: you are taking the confident steps to make your life a little bit easier and that's something you should be really proud of. Another thing to talk about is the things you would find so difficult without these aids. As for the sex, I'm sure that'll all come back together once you guys have settled your differences, but take a look at this site for a bit of a giggle and some ideas! http://www.liberator.com/
    These sex aids are not specifically designed for people with disabilities, but there are some ramps, loungers and wedges that can help you feel comfortable in certain positions. They are pretty pricey, but these things might just give you a bit of inspiration of how you can use things you already have in your home. I've heard of hoists, frames and bathlifts all being used for sex in different rooms and positions, so when you feel comfortable to do so, give it a go! :)
    Emily x
  • Mik_ScarletMik_Scarlet Posts: 5Member
    All I can say Lisa, is has he tried using it during sex yet? I had one of these a few years back after surgery and even now I miss it. Was a very handy bit of kit to use during rudies, and until he tries he, he just won't know what he's missing. Try getting one for the other side of the bed, and it becomes even more fun. I also have a great mate who makes sex swings that can be used on hoists, allowing you to be wheeled around the house during the act. And as for my wheelchair, well I've sex in every room of the house and even had sex while making a cuppa....
    I've always been amazed at how some people react to disability and the stuff we sometimes need. I've always used it as an addition to sexiness, but have had people react strangely. Personally I just dumped them post haste, as no one tells me I am less due to my impairment. Not sure that is the right route for you Lisa, but I would tell your partner just how much his reaction has hurt you. You need this stuff and if he needs you, so does he! If nothing else this stuff can add to sex, and until he tries it he shouldn't knock it!
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