I’m of the belief that a healthy and fulfilling sex life is a right to which all people are entitled, regardless of their ability. My job has seen me work with people with disabilities and I was delighted to hear of Désir, a concierge sex-toy service for the disabled.

With 1.7 million people with disabilities in South Africa, ranging from quadriplegia to age- or accident-related disability and sight impairment, it’s time we address everyone’s sexual needs.

Désir acknowledges that disabled people can, and do, have healthy sex lives and it realises how important it is to do away with misconceptions that people with disabilities are asexual or have no sexual desires.

Dr Virginia Wilson, chairperson of the SA Spinal Cord Association, says that “it’s imperative that those with physical disability explore their sexuality, because it doesn’t just go away”.

Finding a new romantic partner can be challenging, as can engaging in and experiencing a fulfilling sex life after a newly developed disability.

Another challenge is the possibility of prescribed medications reducing sex drive. Désir provides information from educated professionals who discreetly assist and help the disabled find suitable toys that can result in a fulfilling, healthy and intimate sex life.

I love what Désir’s referral sexologist Catriona Boffard had to say. “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.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The concierge service has already started changing lives.

One customer had this to say: “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.”

Masturbation using sexual aids, including vacuum devices and vibrators, can greatly enhance the sex lives of the physically disabled. It’s important to communicate and be upfront about what works for you and what doesn’t. Thinking flexibly and creatively is necessary to have sex and to do away with what is considered the “norm” or how people think sex should be had.

  • Visit desir.co.za, where you can have all your questions answered on its Live Chat function, or email them at info@desir.co.za for queries