Tag Archives: A-Z

A is for Amputee – #EndtheAwkward

This October, as part of End the Awkward, we’re celebrating the loves and lusts of disabled people in Britain today with an illustrated A to Z of sex and disability. It’s time to End the Awkward and get it on!

A is for Amputee is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability

The A to Z of sex and disability takes a raunchy and light-hearted approach to debunking the myth that disabled people don’t have fulfilling sex lives and relationships, when nothing could be further from the truth.

We’re releasing new content each week in October and every day we’ll feature a new letter –  expect to hear some seriously awkward stories as disabled people dish the dirt on sex and dating.

We’re kicking off the A to Z with A for Amputee… with Alex Brooker’s awkward morning-after-the-night-before story that anyone will be able to emphathise with. “I cannot tell you the panic that goes through a person’s body when you cannot locate all of your limbs!”

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

D is for Dating – #EndtheAwkward

You might be looking for love or just a bit of fun between the sheets, but everyone knows that dates can be seriously awkward. Here’s what not to do on one.

D is for Dating is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability

What could Kate have done differently? Here are five things to keep in mind:

  1. See the person, not just their impairment. He’s Mark who likes pub quizzes and Coen Brothers films, not ‘a blind guy’.
  2. Try not to make assumptions about what someone can do, how they live or how being disabled affects them. You’d hate it if someone made assumptions without getting to know you, right?
  3. Questions, questions, questions. It’s usually okay to ask someone if they might need help (crossing the road for example). But just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean you should ask them intrusive or personal questions. Some people might be happy to chat about why they use a wheelchair, others might not. Everyone’s different!
  4. Accept what the disabled person says about themselves and their impairment. Remember they know themselves better than you do.
  5. Not all conditions are visible. Things like epilepsy or autism you can’t see by looking at someone.

Above all, remember they’re a person – just like you – and you can’t go wrong!

If you’re a disabled person, here’s some great advice from Disability Horizons on how to end the awkward on that all important first date.

D is for Dating is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability

E is for Experimenting – #EndtheAwkward

Some barriers mean that disabled people have to get creative. Emily Swiatek, who has non-epileptic seizures, tells us how she, like many disabled people, gets experimental in the bedroom.  

E is for Experimenting 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.

Emily S a-z3Being disabled encourages you to explore sex in a much more radical way. When we think about sex, the thing that comes into most people’s minds is penetrative sex.

But actually, a lot of sex – especially disabled sex – pushes the boundaries of that.

If I’ve had loads of seizures or if I’m just getting quite tired, it’s painful. And no one wants to have painful sex, so you have to explore new ways of having sex that are still fulfilling for both of us.

Sleeping with my carer

My partner is also my carer, and our sex life fluctuates – there have been times where I haven’t had sex with my partner for months and months.

It can be quite tough when there’s a care element with your partner. You wonder: are they your lover or are they your parent? But I think it’s okay to sometimes be like, ‘You know what? Sex isn’t a part of my relationship right now but it can still be fun. It can still be fulfilling.’ You just have to play and explore.

My partner and I actually have an open relationship. Part of the reason I like that is that I know that not everything has to come from me – and equally, my partner doesn’t have to be all things to me.

I value my partner’s sexuality really highly, and our open relationship means they aren’t stuck in this constant care role. So our relationship gets the space and the freedom to be a relationship.

Sex can be weird

Having sex with a disabled person can be really weird. One time I was having sex with someone, and it was really great, but then my brain flipped into seizure mode and I began to have a seizure.

We’d had a couple of drinks and the other person was really into it, so they kept going! I was shaking and they were like, ‘Brilliant!’

Eventually I managed to tap them on the shoulder and they realised I was having a seizure and were like, “Oh my god, I’m really, really sorry.”

I’m not unbangable!Emily S a-z2

When I think about sex and relationships and disability, the thing that springs to mind is Channel 4 programme The Undatables. Just look at the name – The Undatables? That’s not who we are.

I am in a long term relationship and have recently dated other people for fun on the side with full consent in an ethical way. I’m not undatable. I’m not unbangable.

Communication is key

Sometimes you’ll be in these places where you’re like, okay sex, I don’t want you. I don’t feel like you’re accessible to me.

Loads of disabled people take medications that mean we can’t have orgasms. Or our orgasms are these dull, weird versions of what they were. It’s really annoying.

But also it’s okay and if you’re with a partner where you can communicate you can still have really fun sex without an orgasm. It doesn’t have to feel that something is lacking.

What non-disabled people can learn

Non-disabled people have loads to learn from disabled people about how sex and relationships can be fulfilling in lots of different ways. It isn’t just a linear path towards sex nirvana.

I would love some non-disabled people to have a better sex life because of things they’d learnt from disabled people. That’d be amazing!

If you like Emily’s story, help us #EndtheAwkward by sharing it on your Facebook, Twitter, anywhere you like! 

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

Find out more about Emily on her blog.

H is for Happy Ending – #EndTheAwkward

No not that kind. We’re talking happy-ever-afters and the kind of long lasting relationship where love overcomes any awkwardness along the way. In this post Kelly tells us what it was like meeting and marrying her husband Jaz. 

H is for Happy Ending is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability.

There are times that I thought that I would never get a ‘happy ending’.  I doubted myself, and thought that I could never be found sexually attractive. I always got with the wrong guys and I never had any respect for myself.

That all changed when I met Jaz at college, it sounds cheesy but it’s true. My group of friends were all guys. All loud, erratic, ‘guy’ guys. I fit in perfectly! They saw straight past my disability and they treated me like any other friend. At school I always focused hard on fitting in at first and then, when I realised I didn’t fit… rebelling.

A close up of Kelly and Jaz's wedding rings as they hold hands.Meeting my new friends made me realise that was okay. Jaz and I flirted for quite a while and we’d often sneak off on secret days out away from our other friends. It was apparent quite quickly that we wanted to be in each others lives and we’ve always been quite full on.

After months and years of on off, teenage angsty “love”, we went our separate ways (Jaz went to uni and I went to work). Throughout that time it always felt as if there was something missing.

Becoming one of ‘those couples’

Jaz places his arm around Kelly on their wedding day. They are both smiling.

Jaz and I got back together after some time away and things had shifted slightly. We were adults! We couldn’t get away with drinking traffic light shots on grimy pub sofas and me being chucked around the room with our mates anymore. So we did it, we went on a date, a real date, and it was amazing.

It was valentines day (which is also Jaz’s birthday!) and although I really liked seeing Jaz, I was playing hard to get, so my friend Jess and I decided to go for a meal together and hate on all of the lovey-dovey couples around. However, Jess bailed as she was ill so I decided to take Jaz out. We went for the meal and we became one of ‘those couples’ (sorry everyone!)

Ending the awkward

Throughout our relationship Jaz and I have experienced a few awkward moments but we really don’t let them faze us. Obviously Jaz does a lot for me but that is just part of our daily routine. However, the way we are perceived by other people is often unusual.

People have often said to Jaz, “Oh you are dating a girl in a wheelchair, fair play!” as if he is doing me some kind of service. People often talk to Jaz instead of me and when we are out and about we do get some pretty weird questions… especially when it comes to sex!

It just depends on our mood as to how we respond to the questions. Sometimes we will make us bizarre tales and other times we will just shrug them off – it just depends on how many drinks we have both had.

Kelly and Jaz smiling on their wedding day in the center of a group of their family and friends who are throwing confetti. It is sunny and everyone is smiling.

The big day finally arrived

Jaz makes me do things that I’d never normally do. Jaz is my best friend and we help each other achieve our goals. In April 2015 we finally got married! After years of back and forth, teenage mood swings, and just life getting in the way, we finally did it!

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect, we travelled to London from Birmingham with a coach full of Black Country folk. Safe to say, central London didn’t know what had hit it!

We were there for the weekend with our family and close friends and everyone was staying over. It was like a huge party. As for the ceremony it was everything I ever imagine it would be. It’s a strange feeling, marrying your best friend (again cheesy but true). It just felt right, like it had all finally fallen into place.

Even on our wedding day Jaz was pushing my boundaries. I was so nervous about our first dance to the point I actually considered cancelling it because my legs often give way under pressure. Can you imagine a more high pressure situation than everyone watching you? I was also worried that it would be pretty boring for our guests as I’m not exactly Michael Flatly, it’s not like they could expect anything more than for us to just stand and sway!

But Jaz convinced me. We danced to our song and Jaz made sure I was comfortable. I can honestly say it was the best feeling in my life. I got my Happy Ending (or beginning) and I know I will continue to be happy with Jaz as my equally evil accomplice.

Kelly and Jaz on their wedding day during their first dance. Jaz is holding Kelly up out of her wheelchair and they are smiling at each other.