Online sex toy service a first for disabled South Africans

14 June 2018 - 08:00 By Nico Gous
Some of the prevailing myths about the sexuality of disabled people include that they are asexual or have no sex drive.
Some of the prevailing myths about the sexuality of disabled people include that they are asexual or have no sex drive.
Image: 123RF/Andrew Poplavsky

A local online adult store is opening a new world of sexual possibility for disabled South Africans with its dedicated online service to help them find the right sex toys.

Désir said on Wednesday this came after receiving queries daily from physically challenged people.

These people live with a range of difficulties resulting from misconceptions related to their sexual health‚ something‚ the online sex toy retailer says it wants to change with its online concierge service.”

Désir said vibrators‚ lubricants‚ vacuum devices and other sex toys can make “all the difference” for disabled customers.

Customers can use the live chat function on the website or email info@desir.co.za.

Désir said some of the prevailing myths about the sexuality of disabled people include that they are asexual or have no sex drive‚ but the retailer reiterated that they “can and do have healthy sex lives”.

Southern African Spinal Cord Association (SASCA) chairperson Dr Virginia Wilson said it is “imperative” disabled people explore their sexuality‚ because it does not just “go away”.

Disabled South Africans often struggle to find partners or have sex‚ because of the stigmas they face.

“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 sexologist Catriona Boffard said: “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.”

Désir said it believes South Africans are “still extremely conservative” about openly discussing sex and sexuality.

“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.”

Fay*‚ 46‚ suffers from cerebral palsy‚ uses a motorised wheelchair and needs a carer to help her shower.  

“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 30s‚ and it looked like a kitchen whisk.”

She emphasised she is not sexually disabled.

“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!”

* This is an alias.

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