Affirming Sexual Expression- Accessible Sex Toys

I’m just going to be honest. I think sex shops can be a little creepy.  It really pushes my comfort zone to support someone purchasing sex toys not because I’m uncomfortable with the individual I’m working with’s sexual expression- I’m uncomfortable the sexual of expression of general patrons of the store.  Usually the line between sexual exploitation and sexual affirmation is a nice, clear, thick, black line. But in a sex store it’s gets blurrier and it can be difficult to navigate.  It pushes me to think about my own biases, but at the same time I don’t think all sex shops affirm sexuality equally.

comeasyouare2That’s part of the reason I was so glad to stumble upon “Come As You Are”.  The other reason is because they actually know things about serving people with disabilities.  “Come As You Are” is a sex shop located in Canada (great for Torantoins, but less than great for Illinoisians).  They have a wonderful website, are knowledgeable about people with all different abilities, and are responsive to questions.  If you know of place that is safe and accessible or at least responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities, please share.

The store was featured in this video which I found to be very enlightening in regards to things to consider when supporting someone with purchasing a sex toy.  For one, I wasn’t really aware of some of the options out there.   The video also goes into several was to match ability needs with sex toy functioning.  I will warn you that streaming quality is not that great, but the content is excellent.


Another thing to think about is the use of wedges and ramps for sexual exploration and sexual expression.  The Liberator is probably the most popular line of sexual furniture.  They look just like the wedges used in the exercise room of our day program (except the ads all have beautiful scantily clad women on them).  Using tools for sexual positioning may be the only way some individuals can participate in intercourse or other sexual activities.  The how to use videos on their website are more erotic than instructional.  There are videos online geared toward instruction.  They are explicit, but the participants are fully clothed throughout.  Click here for the male positioning and here for female positioning.

Facilitated Sex

What is facilitated sex?  This brief video explains what facilitated sexual activity is and some of the considerations.

Dr. Mitchel Tepper is an expert in the area of sexual health, disabilities, and medical conditions with a specific focus on physical disabilities.  His website can connect you with a lot of great information (I especially like his blog).

Some things to keep in mind about facilitated sex…

  • Facilitated sex is a continuum.  Dr. Sarah Earle suggests it might include providing sex education, fostering an environment that allows intimacy, the procurement of sexual goods,  and arranging for paid-for sexual services.
  • Many individuals with disabilities would be unable to participate in many parts of sexual expression without some level of facilitation.
  • It’s not that abuse and victimization aren’t concerns- they are!  It is also important to consider how to support individuals with exploring sexual pleasure and sexual facilitation is part of that picture.