Illustration of two people kissing;their lips spell out the letter 'S'

S is for sensation – #EndtheAwkward

Having sensory processing disorder can be frustrating, but as Lola Phoenix explains, when it comes to sex, it can actually be a huge bonus.

Lola also has some hot tips for how all of us can benefit from overloading our senses in the bedroom

S is for sensation is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability.

This blog contains frank information about sex. It’s meant for people over the age of 16, please only continue if you are 16 or older.

Close up of Lola smiling in leather jacket
Lola loves how their sensory processing disorder impacts their sex life

Sensory Processing Disorder is one piece of my autistic spectrum puzzle. My brain processes my senses in a different way, so for me, senses can be overwhelming.

The sudden burst of ambulance sirens wailing past physically jars me. If I eat something with an odd texture, it can make me feel so sick, I can’t eat anything else. I frequently rip tags out of my clothing when the feeling becomes too much.

If I don’t manage my senses correctly, at parties or loud gatherings with lots of people talking at once, I can end up crying in a corner, unable to move because of sensory overload.

Sensory processing and sex

I actually love having a sensory processing disorder, and being on the autistic spectrum. And, I won’t lie – sex can be a huge way that I benefit from my ‘disorder’.

For some people, sensory processing is a big reason why they don’t like sex. But some of us have exactly the opposite experiences.

For all of the bad overwhelming experiences I can have, there are a load of good overwhelming experiences I can have.

For me, sex is overwhelming, but in a very good way. Because my senses are so sensitive to different things, it can mean the definition of ‘sex’ can be widened. Because for me, a range of sensations are all part of the same positive overwhelming experience.

What is sensation play?

‘Sensation play’ involves using different temperatures or textures and sometimes even pain, in a romantic or sexual context.

For me sensation play is a lot more intense and fun than it might be for non-autistic people.

Because sex is a way for me to connect with someone, sensation play can become a fun way to connect with someone, which is just as intense as sex.

A few things to try at home

Two wax candles, a wartensberg wheel and role of bondage tape
Some of Lola’s sensation tools you can buy

Even if you don’t experience senses intensely, sensation play can still be a lot of fun to try! Here are a few of the basic things to give a go:

  • Use a blindfold… It’s simple, but it can do a lot!
  • Feathers and silk can be fun, especially if you’re blindfolded…
  •  Some people like tickling in this context too.
  • Paraffin wax candles can be used for wax play (not the regular candles for lighting in your house as those will burn)
  • Try toys you can put in the freezer safely
  • Wartenburg wheels look intimidating but they’re actually great for beginners at sensation play
  • Try bondage tape, as a good alternative to rope if you’re a beginner…

But before you try anything, do your research! Make sure you’re doing everything safely.

Rethink the definition of ‘disorder’

I’ve been told by a GP, ‘You don’t look autistic!’ and on top of that he claimed, ‘That’s a compliment!’

Sometimes I say that I have sensory processing ‘disorder’ (in inverted commas) because it doesn’t always feel like a ‘disorder’ to me.

People with autisim are just as varied and diverse as the rest of the population, and deserve just as much respect.

Having this great ability to feel different senses intensely is one of the many benefits that being on the spectrum brings to me.

S is for sensation is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability. Read the rest of the A to Z.

3 thoughts on “S is for sensation – #EndtheAwkward”

  1. I have a different ‘problem’, where my mobility is very compromised and I get a lot of muscle spasms and cramps, which is a nightmare for ordinary life but has also increased sensation in my sex life.
    This is one area of my disability that I wouldn’t change for anything!
    Sensations become overwhelming in an amazing way and it has led us to experiment much more, which has given us both a few surprises as to what we find erotic.
    We went from not having sex for months when I first became disabled to having a very frequent and active sex life.
    Communication and losing the inhibitions has been the big key and disability has opened the door for us to finally realise that!

  2. I can relate to this post. I’m on the autism spectrum myself, and I find my sensory sensitivities, as well as the techniques I use to manage my sensitivities, both enhance my sexual experiences. I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂 And as I’ve got older, I’ve got even better at getting the most out of my enhanced senses during sex. 🙂

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