by Tuppy Owens
The pioneers in the UK who do this fell silent in 2015 and so I am having to write this on their behalf!
One SHADA member who works in a college told us that they asked which members of staff would be willing to place a sex toy on students, if they are unable to masturbate and hold it them selves. The professional would ensure the erection was inside the vibrator and hold the toy while they are approaching and experiencing orgasm (or leave the room if the toy is secured- in a tight pair of pants, with a harness or using clamp or Hold-it). They they would need to clear up afterwards. All of the requests for this help came from male students, not the females, and the process could involve holding the guy’s penis whilst it stiffened in order to put it into the sex toy.
Several people offered. And most of the staff were happy for this to happen in the college. Members of staff who disapproved and were unable to accept this happening were invited to leave – and there are plenty of jobs for them, so dismissal would be legal.
The college were doing this with the approval of independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission, by telling them the problem and what they proposed to do. However they were unable to get written permission.
The sex toy which has been used for men is the Rends A10 Cyclone although this does not have an ‘up-down’, but a ’round-and-round’ movement. New male masturbators are the Jack Socket made by Cyrex and Pipedreams’ Extreme Mega Grip Vibrating Stroker which can be squeezed to make it tighter.
Some health professionals wrap a vibrating snake around their client’s penis. Electrostim is sometimes used (although it cannot be used above the waist for quadriplegics).
I think the reason females don’t ask for this service so much (although see Handisex in ‘Sexual Services) for examples) is that, firstly, unlike the men, they are not faced with a big throbbing erection standing up in front of them, which they cannot play with. Secondly, some women do not masturbate anyway, and the feeling of horniness is spread throughout their bodies.
Females can have toys like the Butterfly strapped to them. Females who cannot reach the genitals because their arms are short can us a sex toy on a long handle. The American pioneer, Ellen Bernard, of A Woman’s Touch Sexuality Resource Centre, is in touch with the sex toy manufacturers and encourages them to manufacture suitable toys.
I have been told by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering that they would like to support me and create a sex toy which people who cannot masturbate can activate themselves, as many people get horny in the middle of the night, when they have no one to help them. However this has not happened yet.
I have for a long time tried to work out a way in which somebody living locally to the disabled person who is unable to masturbate, could pop in regularly to ‘lend a hand’. It could be a student who would appreciate a small fee, but that would make it prostitution, which is not illegal in itself, but advertising to find this person would be procurement, which is illegal – that is unless they were already selling sexual services.
The Outsiders Trust’s patron, Diego Soto Miranda who is Colombian and has spinal atrophy, said he could always find women to masturbated him. His advice is to make them laugh, be very polite, and realise that the wheelchair does not come into the equation when it comes to wanting sex. Few girls say they want someone to climb Everest with them. Usually, they want respect, appreciation, someone to listen, but overall the best aphrodisiac is laughter!
I have no idea how many residential homes and colleges are actually happy with residents using sexual services, but I have a feeling about half of them are, but it’s all hush hush. I guess this is because they fear scandal and losing their funding. However, the British people on the whole approve of disabled people seeing sex workers (even more so than having a partner, if sometimes seems!) so the fear of a scandal these days is probably unfounded. But the silencing continues – one individual quite recently went on the radio to say their homes support residents to see a sex worker to visit or supports them to go to the sex worker’s place of work. He has since been silenced.
Our SHADA member who pioneered the introduction of sex workers into her care home has also been silenced, and this, sadly, was the result of scandal back in 2009. She had found out that her nursing staff were selling sexual services on the side, which stopped when sex workers were invited in. With the worry that relatives of the person in the home would object, our lawyers advised that they include ‘sexual services’ into the description of how they support residents in the contract which the relatives sign when the person is admitted into the home.
Tantric sex workers can be extremely helpful supporting disabled people with sex. One gave a quadriplegic his first orgasm since his spinal injury by scratching his ear lobe, which is an erogenous zone. Tantric sex encourages disabled people to enjoy their whole bodies and the beautiful feelings their bodies can experience, without desperately aiming for intercourse or orgasm. See more in ‘Sexual Services’
I created the website TLC (www.tlc-trust.org.uk) for disabled men and women to find responsible sexual services – sex workers and Tantric practitioners. It gets a massive number of hits and I get phone calls and text messages almost everyday about it. It is still necessary to tell people that sex work is not illegal in Britain – although the buying of sex has sadly been made illegal in Northern Ireland. More about this in our ‘Sexual Services’ section.
TLC would quite happily expand to include other countries if there was somebody willing to recruit and spread the word!