As a Disabled Person, Kink Can Feel Empowering, Subversive and Even Therapeutic

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As a Disabled Person, Kink Can Feel Empowering, Subversive and Even Therapeutic

You may not expect me, as a disabled person, to be interested in the world of leather and rope.

But, as an advocate for sex positivity, I'm here to tell you disabled people can be asexual or hypersexual, vanilla or kinky — and everything in between.

Disabled people experience the same full spectrum of desire

People are interested in kinks and fetishes — which can be broadly defined as all non-conventional acts of intimacy between consenting adults, often with a sexual connotation but not always — for a variety of reasons.


For me, I've found kinks provide a therapeutic effect that I can't seem to find elsewhere. I feel connected to my body and empowered.


Sexual freedom and empowerment are positive forces for anyone, but especially in those who are desexualised and infantilised — as is so often the case with the disabled community.


As a disabled kinkster, I subvert expectations and embody roles you may not expect from someone like me, which I find powerful.


Being unapologetically myself in my identities as a kinky disabled person is radical, and an act of self-love.


As a more dominant person, I find flipping the script of "the weak disabled person who needs help and saving" to be important.


Being in the dominant position of more mobility and less pain by comparison to a partner is empowering, as I am not in this position in daily life.


And, of course, this goes for submission too. It can be empowering to be experiencing pain and mobility restriction consensually, rather than your "normal ongoing symptoms".


I like to think of kink as a tool for pain management. If you're so focused on receiving a different type of pain elsewhere on your body, or giving that to someone else, it's like your "regular pains" become background noise, as researchers have explored.


Embracing the somatic experiences of letting go, being vulnerable and trusting in your body can feel healing — especially when you don't feel so connected to your physical body.



The unexpected benefits I've found

It's important to note that there's a clear distinction between mutually consensual kink, and objectifying people without their consent.


Fetishisation of disabled people is a real issue that can be destructive for the disability community – and as with all sex acts, it's important fetishes are only acted upon with the enthusiastic consent of those involved. (Also, kinks aren't for everyone. And if they're not your thing, that's perfectly fine!)


But, personally, I've found kink can also be a whole-body somatic experience. Pleasure does not have to be limited to the genitals. This may be particularly important to those with certain disabilities where sensation and other factors may be altered.


I've also found a sense of community through kink, learning firsthand that online or in-person communities can be a great source of information, advice and friendships.


I would not be where I am today — as a proud, disabled, sex positivity advocate — if it weren't for the amazing people I've met in local Adelaide leather and fetish groups.



Communicate thoroughly, and other golden rules

For those curious about exploring the world of kinks, a good starting point is to read or watch content around consent and what you're interested in, with a focus on safety and harm reduction.


A golden rule is: remember to start gently and communicate thoroughly with all involved.


Living with disability often means we must go about things in different ways — and luckily, there's a wide variety of aids and toys that can help you engage in what interests you.


From positioning aids like sex swings and wedges, to long-handled toys and hands-free devices, there are infinite ways to ensure that no matter what your ability is, you can still have sex that is meaningful to you.


Ultimately, living with disability doesn't have to define who you are and what you can be interested in.


Whether kinks interest you or not, I hope your experience of sexuality is empowering and a pleasurable experience for you.


You deserve it — no matter what your abilities are.



Written by: Evan Johnson on ABC