Sex Toy Service a First for 1.7 Million Disabled South Africans
More than 1.7 million South Africans live with complex disabilities, from quadriplegia, to age or accident related disability and sight impairment. These people live with a range of difficulties resulting from misconceptions related to their sexual health, something, a leading online sex toy retailer, wants to change with their online concierge service.
Contrary to popular belief, disabled South Africans can and do have healthy sex lives. According to The Disability and Sexuality Project, prevailing myths and attitudes towards the sexuality of people with physical disabilities in South Africa is extensive. The most common – that disabled people are asexual, or without any sort of sex drive, this of course, is untrue, and keeps many healthy adults from enjoying a rich sex life,
Dr. Wilson, a medical practitioner with specialist interest in physical rehabilitation, and chairman of the Southern African Spinal Cord Association, says that it is imperative that those with physical disability explore their sexuality… because it doesn’t just “go away”.
Physically disabled South Africans face many unconventional challenges because of these persistent stigmas. Finding a romantic partner can be difficult, as can engaging in sexual activity with an existing partner. Many couples are not experiencing the full potential the right sex toy could introduce into their lives. Masturbation is also individually challenging, and for some – may be their only source of sexual expression.
Désir’s referral sexologist, Catriona Boffard, says, “Sex will be different from what it is for able-bodied people. Sensations are different, response is different, and even turn-ons might be different, but it doesn’t mean that self-pleasure and pleasure from a partner can’t happen. When it comes to masturbation, regardless of one’s physical limitations, it’s important to think about sexual pleasure as a journey; instead of being focused only on the end goal, or destination.”
There are also many accompanying concerns when a person is disabled, like medications that cause erectile dysfunction, and limited mobility that restricts range of motion. South Africans are still extremely conservative when it comes to openly discussing sex and sexuality, and the ramifications hit marginalised communities the most. For many disabled, even speaking about their sexual needs to carers, partners or family members is not an option.
To address this issue, Désir has created a concierge service that assists physically disabled South Africans find what they’re looking for. With the service, disabled people can find the sex toys they need to create intimacy and lead happier, healthier sex lives. Using the live chat function on the Désir website, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, individuals have access to educated professionals who are able to discreetly address their concerns, so that they can find the right adult toy. This kind of dedicated service has not been available to disabled South Africans before now.
So far, the service is already changing lives for the better. Fay* is a 46 year old woman with Cerebral Palsy, who uses a motorised wheelchair for mobility. She needs a carer to help her shower, and for other basic human functions. “I grew up in a household where sexual needs were never spoken about, and masturbation was frowned upon. I bought my first vibrator in my thirties, and it looked like a kitchen whisk! This year, I discovered Désir, and what a wonderful experience! I was nervous, but their knowledgeable and kind staff made the process so easy. I discreetly received the toy, wrapped up and tied with a pink ribbon! I have to say, it felt as though I was transported out of my wheelchair and was not only walking, but flying free! I know I am not disabled in any way sexually, and I believe, as Désir does, that masturbation is a gift to disabled people who are single and can’t have sex in the conventional way. I am very grateful for it!”
“Sexual health and the need to have a safe and fulfilling level of intimacy, is a human right,” says Désir, “and we were disappointed to discover that nearly no information exists to inform disabled individuals of this in South Africa. With so many queries on a day-to-day basis from physically challenged individuals, we knew that we had to do something to promote change in South Africa with regards to lifting the lid on intimacy, sexuality and the right for this – whether you are abled or disabled. We felt we needed to give those physically challenged not only a voice to be able to promote intimacy, but also to allow a safe space where the most challenging of questions could be asked without fear of judgement or guilt. Physically challenged individuals are severely underrepresented in the media, and we would like these individuals to know that we are here to help, and that we take their concerns and needs exceptionally seriously. Everyone should have access to advice and products that will help them achieve a fulfilling sex life and to be able to share in intimacy with themselves, let alone one another.”
Using sexual aids like vibrators, lubricants or vacuum devices, can make all the difference for disabled couples or individuals who want to enhance intimacy and pleasure. If you are a disabled person and need advice on which sex toy would best suit your needs, we strongly recommend the Désir concierge service, where dedicated professionals match you with your ideal toy.