A Chat About Kink and Disability, February 19, 2020

Caduceus with words Disability & Kink

Content: Discussion of disability, kink, BDSM

#fetchat date: February 19, 2020

#fetchat is a weekly Twitter chat for anyone interested in exploring the world of kinks and fetishes. The responses below were comments made by #fetchat followers. The answers are posted as they appeared in the chat. We’ve removed the identities of those responding out of respect for their privacy.

What understanding/knowledge do folks with disabilities bring to the kink community?

Folks said:

“A1. I think that it helps lend ways to be creative and safe. For example with knowing that theres a spot on the ankle with rope work that is not good for many with mobility issues and also is not safe for pregnant women. Also i feel like i am more easily able to convey things like importance of aftercare because as someone with mental health struggles i made a point of understanding brain chemistry of subspace and scenes.”

” I confess I’m not sure what this question means? maybe a certain open mindedness by virtue of being disabled but that’s a bit of a generalisation.”

“For example, I have mobility issues and am disabled, I feel like I can offer options/advice for folks who struggle with mobility and want to engage in rope bondage because I’ve had to explore ways to do that safely in the body I live in.”

“As someone who has a physical disability, I think that folks with disabilities bring an understanding of how to make kink accessible for folks who may not consider kink as something they can enjoy, especially in relation to safety. Also, from a psychological perspective,  as a person who isn’t neurotypical (I live with recurring MDD, GAD, and a history of severe PTSD), I feel like I’m especially tuned in to potentially triggering situations & can offer concrete ways to deal w. triggers.”

“innovative and creative ways of playing and using different toys/tools.”

What bias/prejudice do people who live with disabilities deal with in the kink community?

Folks said:

“I feel like theres a lot of anxiety once its learned someone has a invisible disability and then you get treated differently.”

“In my local community, one of the big community organizers has said that the r-word isn’t a slur and it’s ridiculous to compare it to the n-word or expect him to do anything to try to discourage people using it.”

“That people w. disabilities can’t be part of the larger kink community and participate in things like play parties. For folks who aren’t neurotypical, I think there’s a bias that kink will be overwhelming or too triggering for them.”

” ive seen the question arise if those with disabilities should even get to participate in BDSM/kink as if they are somehow automatically sexually limited because of whichever disability(“invisible”or physical).”

“On the flip side I’ve also seen people who aren’t neurotypicals fetishized to the extreme. We’ve all heard the “crazy girls good in bed” so I guess it’s a stigma of extremes. There is either a lack of any sexuality or an overload. No in between. No exceptions.”

If you live with a disability, what questions would you like others to ask prior to a scene? If you don’t, what do you think is important to know prior to a scene?

Folks said:

“Most disabled folk seem not to be sexualised by most people. Like…disabled people are like these weird asexual creatures. Yeah guys…we shag too, you know.”

“gunna throw in something a bit contenscious: if you have a kink for disabled people, like…you can mention it, just don’t be creepy. some devotees are awesome.”

“please let’s talk about things that come out of nowhere. Most people can see what is about to happen unless blindfolded. If fearplay isn’t the object, I want to know what objects I am going to come into contact with, I want to have felt them when establishing rules.”

“Trust that i know my limits. Specific questions? I dunno i dont think much of anything needs asked beyond typical negotiations with me. But others have other concerns. So my request is to allow it to be individualized (which should be anyways).”

“I’d like people to describe what noises they expect will be present and ask me if those are likely to be a problem, so we can come up with a plan for that instead of me only discovering on the spot that there’s going to be a very loud spanking scene going on right beside me.”

“asking in general if the person has any physical or mental limitations that might effect the scene because even a technically non-disabled person may not be able to move a certain way or hold a position long. also what may help calm the person down if there are any unknown triggers we stumble upon. If there’s a sure way to calm someone (blanket, water, hug) I wanna know before I have to scramble to figure it out.”

” I think this could (and should) go beyond disability, but “What works for you and your body/emotions?” I think before dismissing a mode of play because someone is disabled (whatever the disability may be), ASK. For example…I walk with a cane, don’t assume my body is fragile. Give me the agency to express my needs and boundaries without assuming them…”

“If I follow the ‘color scale.’ For those that don’t know what that is… green means go, yellow means I’m uncomfortable but proceed, red, stop. Then purple. It means something is hurting not related to what they are doing. So for instance, I’m getting flogged, and for some odd reason my foot starts hurting really bad. That’s a good time to purple — sort out what’s up with the foot, then continue the original intent.”

What are some ways to support folks who live with disabilities in the kink community?

Folks said:

“I’m blind, so come up and say hi. Most people rely on eye contact to make an introduction. This won’t work for me. Its not awkward to come over and just start chatting. How else am I going to know you’re there and are open to talking? as an addendum to the last point: If you’re alone, include that information. If you’re with a partner who is standing silently by you, tell me that. If I were single at an event and I made a flirty comment to someone I also thought was single only to find out…”

“Be fucking accepting. Believe them. Trust they know their limits. Be nice”

“I have severe pain that limits my mobility. I’d just like to raise awareness that at parties, if you see someone sitting alone, come and talk to them! I spent way too many parties alone & bored because everyone was standing in groups talking, and I can’t stand like that.”

“…not to assume that someone is asexual/has no sexual expression because they’re disabled. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. And DON’T ASSUME.”

” treat them human and ask questions. If you are afraid asking will be offensive it’s ok to express you lack the vocabulary to ask the right way and need help. Most people are willing to help if you just speak up.”

What positive examples of representation of folks with disabilities have you seen? Why is representation in media (including porn) important?

Folks said:

“I honestly don’t think representation is that important. I just…am not bothered by not seeing blind folk on tv. haha and I don’t watch porn so…shrug.”

“Ironically, contrary to the stereotypes, some of the best representation of disabilities in erotica that I’ve seen have been written by devotees.”

“One positive example of disability I’ve seen is the sex educator, podcaster, & porn performer @ItsAndrewGurza. I think representation is important in porn and erotica because it dispells that myth that disabled folks aren’t and/or can’t be sexual people…seeing yourself in media is powerful. I don’t feel like we can fight for accessibility if we’re invisible.”

“a photographer Michael Stokes did a series of sexy Wounded War veterans that I thought was amazing and super important to show anyone can be sexy. your physical body is not what defines sexy, you do.”

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