Feature image of Lyric Seal and Louise Thirteen via The Crash Pad Series.
“My two leg stumps make fabulous sex toys. I really think my amputated body is tailor-made for lesbian sex: I can crawl on top of my lover and grind my leg into her cunt in ways that I couldn’t if I had “real” legs. Having my little stumps gives me much more freedom of motion and I can get closer, deeper into her that way.”
— Anonymous lesbian amputee
So much is lost when we adhere too strictly to the sexual geography assigned to our bodies. When we follow maps that draw erotic boundaries along able-bodied contours, privileging a singular route to sexual pleasure. And yet, upon encountering queer disability, a tectonic shift is possible. For the lesbian amputee, formulating her stump as sex toy defiantly re-charts her sexual coordinates, re-routing sites of social invalidation into liberatory pathways of sexual advantage and superiority. Shallow assumptions that equate disability with sexual deficiency are undermined and amputation is cast as a sexual enhancement that, in fact, defies the limitations of “real legs.”
This is queer acsexability. When queercrip sex has the potential to boldly shape alternative erotic environments for fucking, loving and pleasuring that shake up notions of who and what is sexy, what is sexual and what counts as “sex” at all. When disability is central to queer visioning, the terms that regulate our sexual lives are destabilized, and more expansive possibilities for experiencing intimacy, desirability and affection emerge.
This practice of re-imagining our bodies through and within (not against) disability, sex, and queerness has been central to the organizing work of queercrip activists for decades, and yet the prevalence of sex-ableism persists — the systemic discouraging, disciplining and denying of sexual pleasure to disabled bodies. “Embracing one’s disabled body is a life-long process because it requires so much unpacking of beauty norms built on ableism, diet culture, and eurocentrism,” says Bethany Stephens, a queercrip sexologist, who talked to me for Autostraddle. For cis and trans women of color with disabilities, the effects of navigating hostile sexual terrains are particularly brutal due to compounding systems of oppression. In an interview with Bitch, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes, “My disability story… is simultaneously about inherited trauma, environmental racism… sexual abuse survival, and the ways in which our racialized bodies flee the medical industrial complex. It did not feel safe [for] queer people of color to talk about disability.” To combat these legacies that desexualize disabled bodies, the demand for sexual access becomes central to resistance. Access to sexual space and knowledge, but also to pleasure, to kink, to smut, to craving body parts not considered cravable; to sex not considered “real sex.”
For nondisabled queer cis and trans women, this practice of erotic rezoning should have a particularly potent allure. The incessant cultural inquiry — how do lesbians have sex? — is not innocent ignorance, but a swelling of social anxiety caused by the shift in focus from a cisgender dick to a sex toy, or a finger, or an amputated limb. As South Asian writer and performance artist Janani Balasubramanian writes in the New Inquiry, “The queer potential of dick sucking is about changing the play’s cast without warning. Any part of the body can be, become, or unbecome a dick.” In other words, queer/crip alliances provide us with the tools for radical disassembly, for charting alternative sexual paths that allow us to fuck our bodies as we crave them.
We can lick a lover’s clit at the tip of her hipbones; suck a partner’s cock along the edge of her protruding neck vein, and cum hard to the vibrations of a cock-ring attached to her crutches. We can sketch out our most intimate fault lines only to re-write them anew moments later. Queercrip sexual imaginings move us away from investing in the spurious stability of “real legs” or “real dicks” and into the erotic alterity of the our slopes, our stumps, and our arches; our “fabulous sex toys” tailor made for all of us.
Here are some of the most accessible sex toys to remap our bodies around.
6 Accessible Sex Toys (To Get You Started)
The Wanda Toy Mount
The sex toy company Liberator offers a large selection of accessible sex furniture ideal for amputees, wheelchair users, and folks with limited mobility. The Wanda is a sex toy mount specifically designed to be paired with a Hitachi Magic Wand. The mount’s narrow construction is ideal for straddling and enables completely hands-free access to your vibrator, dildo, or other preferred device.
REACH by Revel Body is a long extension handle that attaches to the Revel Body Sonic Vibrator. While the vibrator itself is small and a bit difficult to handle if you have arthritis or fatigue in your hands, the extended handle assists with grip and precision and gives access to genitals that may be too far for some limbs to reach.
The Accommodator by CalExotics can be hard to wrap your head around. (Pun intended. Pun necessary.) And yet it’s one of the highest rated sex toys in production. As the name suggests, the toy offers endless modes of flexibility and opportunity for bodily invention for limbs, necks and faces.
Thigh Strap-On Harnesses
Not about that chin life? The thigh strap-on harness by Sportsheets provides an adjustable neoprene sleeve that fits a variety of limbs and enables a completely hands-free sexual experience. The harness can also serve as a sex toy mount when strapped onto all sorts of mobility devices.
The Doggy Rider by Liberator is a soft, padded belt with adjustable straps that holds you or your partner into place for a variety of sex positions. The straps are ideal for those with limited mobility and strength as well as those who live with fatigue, spasms, or balance impairments.
The Plunge Paddle by Tantus is a unique silicone paddle, which makes it significantly lighter than wooden paddles. The give and bend of the silicone means you simply don’t have to use as much of your own energy to deliver the same amount of pain. The Plunge Paddle requires less upper body strength and can also assist BDSM practitioners who have dexterity pain.
How do you make toys acsexabile? Let us know in the comments!
So important and informative. Thank you!
“The incessant cultural inquiry — how do lesbians have sex? — is not innocent ignorance, but a swelling of social anxiety caused by the shift in focus from a cisgender dick to a sex toy, or a finger, or an amputated limb.” Whoa This is great!
This was – holy crap. Thanks for taking my head so far out of anywhere I expected to be today, to somewhere important (and hot).
this is…amazing. omg. all of his was so important to read. i really really loved this.
also, here to say the plunge paddle is perfect.
Oh hells yes.
:one billion applause emoji:
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Thank you for this, Tovah.
This is great! I also want to add that there are a bunch of vibrators that fit on the fingertips for folks who have a hard time holding onto things.. : )
Also, because the Tantus Plunge is silicone = you can sterilize it and clean it for use with multiple partners whereas usual materials like leather and such you must clean in other ways and condition for suppleness. Woo woo! Tantus is also a rad company, so yissss! They’ve been crowdfunding for the Rumble, another toy where the focus is actually big on ergonomics and disability (more info here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-to-design-sex-toys-for-people-with-disabilities).
Sportsheets also has other toys and straps (like their Doggystyle Strap) which can come in handy for this sort of need, and the DS comes in two sizes I believe to accommodate bigger bodies as well. The Sportsheets head honcho also has a strong interest in disability especially as it intersects w/ physical injuries for veterans. You can find him interviewed about this in various outlets.
Spareparts Hardwear (the lovely makers of the Joque Harness and other delights) has a harness for one’s hand so it can help folks w/ grip issues as well as those who may not want to be/be able to be fucking themselves or partners with their own pelvic region: https://www.myspare.com/product/la-palma. Also led by/focused on queer folks, which is great.
Wand toys like the Doxy and the Magic Wand are also super great for folks whose flexibility/angling may not allow for smaller vibes.
Good article, gave me a lot to think about. However, while I understand that it is important to talk about the intersection of queerness, disability, and sex, as someone who is queer disabled, I would love to see more articles about being queer and disabled in other contexts.
I, too, really appreciate Autostraddle’s publishing of this piece!! As someone who is also queer and disabled and believes that talking about the intersection of queerness, disability and sex is super important, I would also love to see more articles on issues facing the queer disability community in other contexts. We certainly need much more visibility all around and this is a huge start. It would be wonderful to see a greater variety of articles by disabled queers on AS!
Ooh yes I would love that too. More about queercrip everything, please!
Thank you for this wonderful post, and wonderful sex to recs! I’m also curious – does anyone have more recommendations for impact play toys that can be used by people with weak/injured wrists?
This was awesome! It doesn’t apply to me currently but it was a great read and really informative.
This was the best thing I read today
Thank you for writing this! As a future health care provider with an interest in sexual health, this is the exact information I need so I can help my future patients. Bookmarked!
Super informative! Thanks for the new knowledge and awareness
amazing article. thanks for sharing these recommendations. i wish there were good/affordable alternatives to Liberator and CalExotics products – they are pretty dodgy as far as sex toy companies go. but hey, at least their stuff is helping some people have better sex, so it counts for something.
Yessssss to all of this. More content on acsexability please. Sharing this resource for all the healthcare folks I work with.
Thank you for this article, Autostraddle!!!
Fantastic article! I especially appreciate the connection made between the invalidation of lesbian sex as being less-than and the denial of disabled sex for being impossible. Maybe, if we continue to make these conections, nondisabled queer folks will continue to become more excited about, and less afraid of, disabled bodies.
Great list of toys, too! The Plunge paddle’s small size also makes it great for people who don’t see well, or at all, or who have spatial problems. A small light paddle makes it much safer for people to deliver pain and sensation without causing harm.
Hi I’d love to use a section of this article for a project I am doing – how can I get in touch with you to figure out the best way to do this?