Tag Archives: romance

Scope’s Romance Classics #EndTheAwkward

Scope is celebrating Valentine’s Day by releasing swoonsome recreations of iconic Mills & Boon book covers – starring disabled people.

Just like more than a century of Mills & Boon cover art, Scope’s spoofs feature softly-lit scenes of blushing heroines and chisel-jawed hunks.

Scope Romance Classics comes after our recent poll* shows that just 6% of people in the UK have been on a date with a disabled person they met through an online dating site or app like Tinder.

Our previous research also found just 5% of people who aren’t disabled have ever asked out, or been on a date with, a disabled person. And less than one in five (16%) have invited a disabled person round to their house.

 

Scope Romance Classics are based on some of the racy and romantic stories that disabled people shared as part of our illustrated A to Z of sex and disability.

‘The Sensual Scribe’ by Penelope Friday

An illustrated spoof romance novel, 'The Sensual Scribe'Erotic fiction author Penelope started writing erotica featuring protagonists with disabilities when she started thinking about the lack of disabled characters in the genre.

“It was as if disabled people never had sex: we didn’t seem to exist in mainstream erotica. Sadly, this ‘disabled people don’t have sex’ attitude is one I’ve experienced in real life: I have an invisible disability (ME) and am treated like two different people, depending on whether I’m in my wheelchair or not.”

Our Sensual Scribe blogs about challenging attitudes through her work and why it’s important for mainstream publications to print erotica that features disabled people.

Read ‘The Sensual Scribe’ by Penelope Friday.

‘On the Prowl’ by Romina Puma

An illustrated spoof romance novel, 'On The Prowl'Romina is a comedian and has muscular dystrophy. In the run up to Valentine’s Day, she’s been using online dating apps in her search for Mr Right. The hunt is proving fruitless, as the matches she makes seem more interested in asking awkward questions about her impairment than getting to know her as the fabulous and funny person she is.

“Sometimes they ask me questions about my condition – what it is? Can I have sex? Yes I can! Everything works properly down there, don’t worry about that,”

Read ‘On the Prowl’ by Romina Puma.

‘One Track Mind’ by Mik ScarletETA valentines cards Mik_v3

Broadcaster and journalist Mik started to explore alternative erogenous zones after a spinal injury in his teens left him unable to get an erection.

He reveals how to create orgasmic erogenous zones anywhere on your body and how to enjoy ‘thought orgasms’ by conjuring up your sexiest, X-rated fantasies.

“There are many differing techniques so it might be worth trying a few to see which suits you. But trust me; it really is possible to orgasm even if you are paralysed from the neck down.”

Read ‘One Track Mind’ by Mik Scarlet.

‘Recipe for Romance’ by Ronnie Murray

An illustrated spoof romance novel, 'Recipe for Romance'Ronnie, who is group head chef at Mark Hix restaurants, has a shortened left arm.

He shares some sexy, stamina-inducing recipes for breakfasts in bed that will keep your lover’s strength up the morning after Valentine’s Day.

Read ‘Recipe for Romance’ by Ronnie Murray.

Get reading and share your favourite story on social media. Read more stories like this on our A-Z of Sex and Disability.

 

*On 1-2 February, Scope ran a Google poll of 500 people in the UK asking: Have you ever been on a date with a disabled person that you met through a dating website or app? Just 5.6% of people said ‘yes’, compared to 94.4% who answered ‘no’.

Scope’s Romance Classics: Penelope Friday is ‘The Sensual Scribe’

An illustrated spoof romance novel, 'The Sensual Scribe'Penelope Friday is an erotic fiction author with a penchant for raunchy tales of sex and romance.

This sensual scribe will not stand for the “disabled people don’t have sex” attitude. Why wouldn’t the ‘Lusty Lady’ use a wheelchair or the ‘Horny Hunk’ be deaf?

She is here to mix sex and disability into the pages of her tantalising tales.

I came into writing erotica through fan fiction. Fan fiction (often called ‘fanfic’) is a class of writing in which you take other people’s characters and give them adventures of their own.

A large proportion of this is dedicated to writing ‘adult’ fiction – no matter whether the original characters were engaged in sexual activity or not!

I always feel as if I should apologise for coming to the genre through fanfic, as it’s seen as a ‘lesser’ form of writing, but actually the amount of fun I’ve had – and the amount of friends I’ve made – through writing it means that I decided that I didn’t want to suggest that I regret my beginnings!

Baring it all

When I first started having erotic fiction published, I didn’t originally intend to write so much on disability and sexuality issues.

To be honest, it didn’t occur to me that it was needed until I wrote an article for Disability Now and acknowledged the lack of disabled characters in my fiction.

After that, the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t written erotica with protagonists with disabilities; I hadn’t found disabled characters in anyone else’s work.

It was as if disabled people never had sex: we didn’t seem to exist in mainstream erotica.

Sadly, this “disabled people don’t have sex” attitude is one I’ve experienced in real life: I have an invisible disability (ME) and am treated like two different people, depending on whether I’m in my wheelchair or not.

In the former case, people never catch my eye, let alone show any interest in me. While I can’t say that everyone falls over themselves to flirt with me when I’m without the wheelchair, certainly I’ve had some attention!

With this in mind, I wrote my first story with a disabled narrator, Picking the Man. The story was written from the point of view of Ellie, a wheelchair-user who’s quite upfront about the fact that she’s sexually active.

The story involves her chatting up a non-disabled man with whom she’d like to have sex. Given my own experience, I wanted to face (and challenge) the attitude issue.

Ellie describes the potential date as thinking: “It sounds like she’s flirting with me. But she can’t be – she’s in a wheelchair!”

It’s not all just sex, sex, sex

Overall, I’m interested in people. Everything I write – erotica or not – is based upon the people in the story.

Yes, I quite often write about people having lots of sex, but I start with the characters, not the sex. I imagine a person, and it is their experiences that I write about.

As well as writing about characters who are disabled, I write across the sexuality spectrum: I’ve probably written more LGBT fiction than straight fiction. My protagonists may be male or female (or neither), straight or queer, disabled or not. It’s about the people, and who they are – not what they are.

Getting what I want

It has become something of an obsession to write characters with disability into my erotic stories, many of which have been accepted by mainstream publishers. I think there’s a place for dedicated disability publishers, just as there is for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender publishers. It’s good to have places that we minority groups feel we can rely on to acknowledge our existence!

But it’s also important for mainstream publications to take erotica that features disabled people. Some of my erotica has been published in anthologies where my story will be the only one with a disabled protagonist and it reaches a different audience, mostly non-disabled.

I want to challenge these people’s assumptions about disability. I write from the viewpoint of the disabled protagonist, trying to give an insight into the character and demonstrate that people with disabilities don’t actually spend all our lives thinking about our disability any more than non-disabled people would consider the way their bodies work.

I occasionally get emails or letters from people who really appreciate the fact that I’m writing about disabled characters, and I treasure them immensely. I want to normalise disability because, after all, for disabled people, living with disability is normal. This is how our lives are.

And yes, we have sex!

Penelope shared her story as part of Scope’s Romance Classics. You can read more sexy stories from our authors:

Read ‘On the Prowl’ by Romina Puma.

Read ‘One Track Mind’ by Mik Scarlet.

Read ‘Recipe for Romance’ by Ronnie Murray.

 

Our kiss caused a car crash #EndTheAwkward

A kiss, a snog, a smooch, a smacker: whatever you call it, kissing really does make the world go round. But if you’re disabled, kissing can be seriously awkward.  

We talked to Marie about what happens when she puckers up in public with her husband Dan. Marie’s story is shared as part of Scope’s End the Awkward campaign

Marie and Dan smiling at the camera on their wedding day
Marie and Dan on their wedding day

So here’s the scene. Dan and I had just started dating. It was midnight and we were on the way home from the pub, holding hands. Dan’s into astronomy so we stopped to look at the stars. What could be more romantic on a beautiful evening? A kiss seemed like the natural thing to do. After a moment, I became aware that a police car was driving past very slowly.

The officer was staring out of the window – eyes on sticks – like we were committing some kind of crime. He was concentrating so hard on us that he ended up mounting the pavement and crashing into a street sign. We couldn’t believe it! A few seconds later we heard the wail of the sirens and he sped off, clearly embarrassed.

We have to laugh, we really do

We still laugh about that incident now. We have to laugh – if we took these things too seriously it could start to mess with our heads. I can’t tell you the number of times people have bumped into lampposts or tripped over on the street because they are too busy staring at me. I can only assume the stares are because they are weirded out by disabled people.

There’s this assumption that we should all be lumped together in some big institution and not let out in public. So when they see us, they can’t quite believe their eyes that a guy who isn’t disabled could have fallen in love with me.

Marie pushes her baby's pushchair along using her wheelchair and Dan walks alongside
A day out in the country with their baby, Mark

A couple of months ago, Dan and I were somewhere, I can’t remember where. We were minding our own business, when we overheard a lady in her 50s talking to her friend about us. She said, “That just isn’t right, she’s the size of a child”. It hit us quite hard, Dan especially. Being seen as a paedophile simply because you’re holding hands with your wife… well, it’s awful isn’t it?

We often hear people making noises when we’re affectionate, like “ugh, what are they doing?” It should be fairly obvious, right? People don’t blink an eyelid if they see any other couple kissing in the street but because I’m in a wheelchair and Dan’s not, we become an immediate target.

If Dan and I aren’t being affectionate, it’s a different story. Trying to convince people he’s my husband takes some doing. One time, a hospital consultant asked me if Dan was my dad! When I said no, she presumed he was my brother, then my uncle, and finally my carer. I let her go on and on before she petered out. It’s that absolute assumption that because I’m disabled I couldn’t possibly have a love interest.

Marie and Dan sit on their sofa, cuddling baby Mark
Family time at home

It is an interesting British prudishness, I think. On the continent no-one seems to give it a second thought. On a trip to Holland, we booked a disabled hotel room and got a complimentary bottle of wine and chocolates left on the bed. In the UK, we usually get two single beds in a disabled room, or a single bed and a pull-out bed for the ‘carer’.

If you’re reading this on International Kissing Day, I hope you get to kiss someone you love today. I’ll definitely be kissing my hubby. And I won’t care if people look because I’m in love and I’m happy.

Read more awkward storiesDo you have an awkward story to share? Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media. 

Find out more about how Scope is ending the awkward this summer.