Welcome to Modern Anarchy, the podcast featuring real conversations with conscious objectors to the status quo. I'm your host, Nicole. On today's episode, we have sex educator Damian join us for a conversation about the pleasure we all deserve. Together we talk about the taboo topic of sexuality for people with a disability, how American sex education is worse than other countries, and the medicine of laughter. This was such a lovely conversation with Damian. And I appreciated how we talked about the reality that there needs to be more conversations about sex and disability. Damian talked about how many play spaces and kink dungeons aren't accessible. And as he said that, I thought about the ones I know in Chicago.
And I definitely know one which is completely not accessible at all for anybody who is unable to use stairs. And so I ask myself and people in my community and in your own local communities, who can we talk to about this? Where can we start to have these conversations so that we can change this reality and make pleasure equitable? Damian also talked about the art of communication and how it is so crucial to have deeper, more intimate sex.
And I just really want to underline that. We talk about pleasurable sex on this podcast and a lot of sex educators talk about that. But when do we talk about the communication? Right? And how crucial that is to feel safe, to feel comfortable in your connection to play and be open and dynamic with another human.
And maybe AI, right? One day , what a world, what a world. But the reality is that if you're going to be having anal play, then you should feel comfortable talking about hemorrhoids. Okay, because we're all human and it all happens. And there doesn't have to be shame about all of these things. We need to be able to talk about pleasure in a way that also allows us to talk about the other pieces that come with that and the human noises, the different experiences, juices that might come out of your body, right? When we can let go of the shame around our very normal and natural humanness, what I will tell you is that allows so much more space for you to play, to be open and to enjoy yourself and to feel that pleasure. So I really appreciated Damien coming on the podcast and sharing about his passion, about his lived experience and calling us all to a better world where pleasure is more equitable.
I hope you all enjoy today's episode and tune in. Well then, yeah, let's start. So how would you introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm Damien. I am a sex educator who is disabled. I'm disabled. I am known for having a bright pink wheelchair. You usually wear bright pink trainers as well.
You can't see them today. Today I am in a volbeat t-shirt because one of my favorite bands. And my background is books with sex education and loads of nerdy stuff.
I'm a white, cis male, brown hair, bit thinning with glasses. Beautiful, beautiful. And it's a pleasure to have you today. I'm excited.
Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, I'm excited for all the things we're going to talk about. So I think one of the first questions I'd like to ask guests on the show is, yeah, what are you passionate about? I'm very passionate about making things more equal. I think we all, like from a sex education point of view and talking about pleasure based sex education and things, I think we need to talk about everyone being able to have that. As someone who's disabled, I say it so often that disabled people are left out of this topic. For me, sex and disability is the last big taboo.
Most people see it as like disabled people don't have sex. They shouldn't have sex. They shouldn't have children.
They shouldn't have relationships. And for me, that's that's an absolute load of bullshit. We should all be entitled to pleasure. So that is something I'm very passionate about. And I'd like to talk to adults, young adults as well about how we have these conversations and how we can make a difference. Absolutely.
And that's so needed in this space. Like you said, one of the last taboos, could you say more about that? How is this one of the taboos? I think it's because it's just not seen in mainstream media.
It's not seen in mainstream porn. This is something I will definitely talk about. I think I was diagnosed when I was in my teens. So growing up, I was kind of like, how's it going to affect me? How's it going to affect my sex life, relationships? And I speak to so many people like that. Like I get stories all the time about how people who are in the like fifties and sixties now who were basically told in their teens, sex education isn't for you.
You won't have sex. And wow. And you still hear it now.
And it's so upsetting to hear it now. I speak to like people in their late teens, early twenties, who just feel maybe sex isn't for me because I don't see it in the mainstream. Oh, even like in mainstream media, there was for me growing up, there wasn't a lot of disabled people on TV. My condition has changed as I got older and now in a wheelchair, as I said. But when you talk to people who've been in wheelchair since they were children, they've had no one to look up to. And they then you put this into a like sex education setting or a rottica or anything like that. If you don't see it, you don't, you can't relate to it. Absolutely.
Yeah. I mean, we're such social creatures. We're always looking to other people, for examples of how to live our life, what it means to be human, how to interact with other people. And so you're hitting on such an important thing that when there's not media representation of your existence, then there's no models for how to do this. And like you said, it creates this taboo then where people don't talk about it.
Yeah. And, and there's so much you look at the adult industry, for example, you look sex toys, porn, swingers, clubs, things like that. Most of it isn't accessible.
So disabled people taken away from it straight away. My background, like I worked in the sex toy industry for maybe 20 years. I sell my own business completely by accident, but which is a weird story.
But I want to hear it. I finished university and I did a degree in Criminology and I thought, right, what am I going to do? Always been a crime and things like that. But I'd had enough of learning. My disability was causing some issues. So I was right.
What am I going to do? And I set up an online store selling gifts, gadgets, went to a trade fair in the UK and there was a stand selling vibrating rubber. It's an American company called Big Tees Toys. I rubbed my ducky and I saw them and I thought, oh, that's a grit, fun bit. And the two men who were running the stall were like talking to me and they said, oh, if you want to see something else, we've got other stuff behind a screen. And they had fun factory sex toys.
And I was like, wow. And this is going back to about 2004, 2005. So still very to go really was sex toys. And so I decided to start selling them online. And it became apparent very quickly. Most sex toys weren't accessible.
I struggled with a lot of them because I put a hand next to the T so struggling person buttons holding them things like that. So as time went on, it was like this is a massive hole in the market. So I started spending a lot of time researching products, looking for stuff that was accessible. And over the years, I decided just to only sell what I deemed were accessible products.
But now I've closed my stores, which was a sad thing. It only happened at the back end of last year, but I'm not working with sex toy companies and sex education. Now that's more in an education way. And I'm helping sex toys companies make their products more accessible. And there's so many brands out there that need to do this. There's some that are already trying to do it and hopefully they'll do it in a good way. And there's some brands that are already doing in a good way, but the more need to do it. It's such a big market.
The purple poundage huge. Masturbation might be the only way some disabled people get any pleasure. They might not be able to have a penitentiary of sex for many reasons.
So masturbation might be the only way. So if we can make that accessible, it's a good thing. Yeah, absolutely. And it's so important that everyone deserves to be able to have pleasure in their body and have that. So I think you're doing such amazing work to make that more accessible for other people. Yeah. And thank you.
It's just, I think there's so many people are left out of it. And it can be it can be little things like it can be positional pillows and things like that. Or even using a restraints in different ways.
You've got to always look outside the box. So for example, if you've got someone who can't physically turn themselves over, you can use a spreader bar to do that in a gentle way. And so you don't always have to look at what the product is meant for. There might be a different way of using it. So if we can have these conversations, got companies and say, right, this is what we need to do. And it can be little even the simple things such as packaging is so inaccessible at times.
So you start from the beginning, work out. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So that people can be able to have that pleasure.
I mean, I feel like this should be a basic human right, right? To have that. Yeah, even like looking at your background, I can see the harness on the mannequin.
That will be so inaccessible to so many people if they've got hand dexter issues. So it's even talking to lingerie companies and bondage equipment companies to try and say, right, change the book all change how it fastens. And yeah, Absolutely. Yeah, all of these little pieces so that more people can play more people can be in touch with their erotic selves and have that pleasure.
That's so important. Yeah, and it's having these conversations from an early age. Like, if you don't have these conversations in schools, so in the UK sex education is compulsory, but it ends up like in some schools can kind of opt out for it in different ways, but you're supposed to have it. But there's certain things you can't talk about. So for example, you can't tell them you can't tell the pupils what the clitoris is for.
You can tell them where it is, but you are not allowed to tell them what it's for. What? Why? Why?
Because it can be seen, it can be seen to be encouraging them, because if you tell them it's a pleasurable thing, you could be seen to be encouraging to play with it. Which would you say you. Yeah, exactly. So, turning up a notch, there's been a story in the UK press this week of a school banning touching. So two schools have banned touching. They said they will have a no touch rule in the school.
So no hugging, no holding hands, no relationships. It's just so detrimental to how they are going to function when they grow. I know they need to, we have to have more listens about boundaries and consent, but going that full extreme is only a negative. And I think if you then put people who are neurodivergent into that conversation, it's going to be so hard to explain why there's these boundaries. So we need to be more open with these conversations, not closing them down. Right, and preventing people from touch? What? When did this become the world that we're in where you can't hug another person?
Exactly. I'm a hugger. I'm a hugger and I know not everyone is, but I think you're teaching kids that they shouldn't be hugging, not a good thing.
Right, because that oxytocin release, that connection, that regulation between bodies when we're connecting is so important. I'm really shocked that they would do that. I mean, and the crazy part too is when you start to ban things like that, I feel like it almost just sparks up the desire in a whole different way when you tell someone you can't do this, then everyone's like, well, I want to do it now. You know? Yeah, it's mental.
It really is. The conversations we need now need to be more about consent, boundaries, how everyone is different. But you know, we all have different kinks, fetishes. Yes, we've got to be careful what conversations you have at certain ages, but as they get older, you can introduce this a little bit more. And talking about pleasure obviously is, as you know, I do work with the Pleasure Project because Anne got me on here.
Hell yeah. We need to be talking about pleasure so much more in safe settings. Yeah, it makes me want to ask too, yeah, what was your sex education like? What was your discussion? Unexistent. I was going to say, what was your discussion of pleasure?
Non-existent. My sex education at school was a little bit of a biology lesson, condom on a banana, which is, you ask most people in the UK what their sex education is. And that is it. And I think the rest I learned reading, I don't know how much in the US you had, but we had a lot of lads mags.
So like FHM loaded. So they weren't adult magazines. They were like aimed at young adults and maybe older, but they were, they would have celebrities in and in underwear and they would have sex tips and things like that.
And I read a lot of them in my like 40 and upwards and then obviously porn. Different was back then because it was on VHS. It wasn't even on DVD when I was like, things. So it's, it was very different.
But I look now. It's not how you should be getting your sex education. We need to be having open discussions. There's some great sex educators on Instagram and other social media channels, but even so you see them getting clamped down on now. So many are losing their accounts because they're having these open conversations. So coming onto places like this and talking, it's amazing.
Yeah, it's a pleasure to be able to hold space for conversations like this, because yeah, it's always so wild to me. It's like we can't talk about sex and sexuality, and I understand, you know, the desire to protect people from, you know, non-consensual discussions about that or things, you know, like, I don't know. I get all spun up by this where it's like, the reality is all of us came from sex. And I feel like we forget that piece where it's like, I'm here because two people had sex. You're here because people had sex, right? I mean, and yet we can't talk about it. And I just feel so, just, I don't understand anymore why this is the world that we live in today. Yeah, like you said, we are, someone had to have sex for us to be here. You know, I know like times are changing and, you know.
That's a good point. We could just talk about in vitro fertilization. Yeah, but you go back to the beginning, we all, because of sex. It's like the whole thing about nudity as well and embracing our bodies.
It's crazy how much censorship goes on still. We all come into the world with no clothes on. It's how, how nature is. So we shouldn't be ashamed of that.
Right, right. And even just to have conversations about it. You know, I recorded with someone where we were talking about porn and I had made the title like porn porn porn and it got blocked on YouTube. And I was like, did anyone actually listen to the audio?
There's not even a visual component to it, right? It was purely audio and yet it was still banned. And I was like, why? Right, it's just that word even, I guess that porn word is such a signifier for YouTube to like take it down even though it was purely educational content with no video content that could have been like, oh, you were showing things or anything like that. Still getting banned. And I tried to contest that ban and they still came back.
So I had to change the title to make it more like and re upload it. But it's just like, why is this the system that we live in? Yeah, when, when you look at Instagram's Instagram algorithms and things and you can't even say the word sex news in your look at all the words that sex educators are using as an as alternatives. It's like, it's a word. It's having no one.
Why are you getting rid of it? And I understand the platforms now like being careful with what they're allowed on in the sense of visuals. But words. I don't really see the problem. Because at that point it's education. Yeah.
Right. Yeah, it's definitely it's educated, especially when you look at like, if you're talking about, for example, let's talk about like we're talking about safe, safe sex, for example, and I'm talking if I'm talking about how it can be hard for someone with the extra issue. To put condom on and I would potentially show demonstration.
I know that could be taken off if that is done in the wrong way, but it's done for an educational way. I call that a collective trauma personally that we've all experienced this ban on sex education and how that is all affecting us because all this is rooted in shame, right? You know, you can't talk about this. This is taboo and all of that. And then we're lacking the education that we all deserve to have to be able to experience more pleasure in our lives and to be able to do these different things. I just don't really understand how we're still here. Yeah.
And if we don't have these open conversations, it's like. I can't remember the number off the top of my head. I know the statistics out there that show disabled people who don't talk about sex are more likely to be abused if they haven't had sex education. And there's so many disabled people who have been sexually abused and they're more likely to be abused because of disability. So we need to have educational we have me top up sex and education to provide a safety net for them as well and tell them, you know, to a love their own bodies. No matter what the disability is love their own bodies. Someone will always love, you know, you've got if you don't love yourself that you've got to start there and also then show what is wrong as well so they can know about consent.
No means no things like that. And I think that is why it's so important that we have these conversations now because if we don't, there's going to be again another lost generation and that you ask me what I'm passionate about that is what it is. I just I speak to so many people who've had no sex education because of their disabilities. And it's shocking I did a talk a little while back and it was what I wish I'd known I do with a company in the UK called split banana. Sex education company, and we run sessions and we ask people where they got the sex education from and what they wished to know. And we did a session last year and it was attended really well by quite a lot of Americans. And the education there seemed even worse for these several people and it is not shocking. Tell me more.
Yeah. Because there was so many people who were coming out and they are like literally we're talking about how the game porn and mainstream like how there is not the one time you really see disability in porn is fetch eyes. And it and again you've got the risk with devotees and things like that and some people get really upset with all that them conversations. So you've got to have the conversation tell them like, you know, it's not always a bad thing. Some people with devotees are quite happy.
But because they don't see it in like when it's fetch eyes, they're kind of worried that they're going that is what a relationship is going to be like. And I had a conversation with Lady from America. I think she was in her fifties and she had no sex education whatsoever. So she was kind of coming to the session asking those questions, basic things, which was just shocking.
Absolutely. I mean, when we think about the history of America and we think about that the people who came over to, you know, colonize this land and appropriately. They were the Puritans. They were the most stringent of stringent of stringent of religious sex that you know decided like let's build a new colony over here.
Right. And so when we think about that history of like the deep, deep repression of sexuality and all that I think like, when we think about how America got to a place where maybe the education is worse than the UK like that might be part of the story. What was your sex education like, that's a great question. I went to a Christian school growing up and so I didn't get sex education. I got abstinence education in terms of you should not have sex until you're married. There's lots of STDs and I never got the condom over the banana. So I never knew how to put on a, you know, like you could kind of know, but like I never knew how to do that.
And so I actually wouldn't say I got any sex education rather I got an abstinence education where I was taught that if I were to have sex with someone it would be like bringing two pieces of paper together with glue. Have you seen that one? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, they showed us all in an assembly. They were like, when you have sex with someone, you bring these two pieces of paper together and then they try to separate the two pieces of paper. And then you saw it kind of rip and some of it was over there and they were like, when you have sex with someone and then leave, this is what happens to you.
You lose parts of yourself and you are no longer whole. That's crazy. That was my sex education. And so then we were told you wait until marriage, because that's what a right, especially somebody socially conditioned as a woman. That's what a right woman does.
I wait for my husband to marry me one day and I will give him this gift of my virginity. Yeah, that's nuts. Isn't that wild? Yeah, that just could not be so far from the truth.
Exactly. And so then, you know, a lot of people probably had that, maybe that woman that, you know, you mentioned that 50 year old, maybe that's what she heard, depending on where you were at, what sort of context you might have gotten a wide range of different topics on this from nothing to a little bit of something. Maybe it sounds like you got kind of something, but even then, not enough of the education that we all need and the expansive education that includes different different types of relationships, different types of sexual orientations. I mean, we're just so lacking in this area.
It's insane. Yeah, I was lucky because both my parents were nurses. So I was looking at conversations were quite open about things like that anywhere. But I have friends who just would never have been able to have them conversations with the parents.
But you go down the porn route. Now, like when I was loading to it before, I think this is another problem we have like with disability because like I say, isn't shown. It should be shown. I'd love to see more porn companies tackle the subject and I've talked to some about it. It's not easy because it's got to make sure it's not fleshized. Have you heard of the website make love not porn?
Mm hmm. So make love not porn is a website that is real world sex. That is how it is how it is described and is amazing because there's videos on there of people just in their own environment filming themselves. You see things go right, you see things go wrong and I love that.
And there is a couple on there managing a wheelchair and to see that in a raw form is really inspiring. It's like you see it and you can use that in the sense of look, this can be done. And I think if we saw more companies do this, I think I think, you know, I love the term real world sex. I just think that's how we need porn. Porn has its place, but there is so much wrong with it at times. And I think we need to look the good stuff.
So there's companies out there who will talk about disability. I like, you know, I think we need to have them. It's all just going to be hard to get people to start in them because they're going to be worried about being fleshized or if it's not done in a good way.
But I think that is something that needs to happen. And when you're bringing that to companies, are they are they hearing you out on this? Or what's their response to you when you come to them? Some of the companies are quite like they're open to the conversation in the sense of they know it needs to happen. The problem is they don't know the way to do it.
And they is finding the people are willing to be in the films as well. Because you obviously you've got to lay yourself completely out for everyone to see. I know there is some people who've done it, especially like with gay videos. And I think we just need to see more gay, lesbian, everything we need to see, but we need to see with disability and involved in the way to show that I think because it's so hard for disabled people to like, lay themselves bare and open to because like you become decent decentised members in the web, but you've like lock yourself away a lot I know it's hard to talk about disability. So many people don't like talking about it. I love talking about it. I love talking about you know, but it depends on your relationships, for example, as well. If you've had abuse, you're going to struggle to talk about it. If you've not been in a relationship and you want that, it's hard to go and find it. But also, you're always worried about how your disability is going to impact the relationship. I like in my teens, I'm really lucky.
I met my wife when I was 19 and we've been together for 23 years. I was diagnosed with my condition when I was 14. I have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and it affects my joints. I just get very easily things like that. I have other conditions as well, but she's seen everything with me. So she's seen me in hospitals, she's seen me having no treatments.
I feel really blessed, lucky that I have had that. Not everyone gets that, but I also had the conversations about even how would my disability affect me growing as I get older, what strain that might put on a relationship. I've had them conversations with Ali lots and you still, sometimes you put a lot on yourself because you think you rely on someone else quite a lot. So when you then bring that into a relationship from a start, that is not easy. I remember having them conversations as a 19-year-old and saying, I don't know how my condition will affect as I get older.
So it could affect sex, it could affect the relationship, it could affect me having to be pushed around in a wheelchair. So I think again this goes back to an education setting. We need to have discussions with people who would say, and able-bodied people, this is the important thing as well. I think we need to talk about disability even if there's no one disabled in the class. This is where we stop the whole thing of disabled people shouldn't be having sex. I have so many people that I know who are disabled, who believe they have a better sex life because of their disability. Because you have to have more conversations, you have to talk about them.
The conversation in the bedroom seems to have died, but when you have to have it, and say, I'd be come here if I'm doing this, or this is better, let's have these conversations. It's better for everyone, not just for disabled people, better for everyone. Absolutely, absolutely. And I want to thank you for sharing your experience with this, with your wife as well, having those conversations. What was that like when you first started to have that compared to maybe where you're at today? Really hard because I was very shy as a teenager. I'm not now, most people know me for just talking for England.
And obviously I talk about sex all the time. But I couldn't then. I was very different then. But it was just one of them conversations having, and it also put that in my mind, it was like, at any point, what should I want to walk away? And I've even had them conversations look like, you know, this is how my disability might affect me.
If you want to go, go now. And yeah, and it's it's hard to admit and say I've done that, but it's I had to do it like that in my head as a 19 year old, it was like, I just don't know what's going to happen. And if it's a lot and like, like say we've been together 23 years, and it's just the good and the bad and the ugly with me, like, you know, it's, it's, yeah, I say I feel lucky.
Bless. Yeah, to have someone where you can be that open about all of your fears, right, at that moment, all the things that are out of your control and to, to ask for connection and intimacy in that time, and then to receive it for many, many years is such a beautiful thing. And people often ask me like, you know, about different things about why, like how you deal with certain things.
And I do say laughing, laughing hell. Because, you know, as I was saying about, like, you know, and this is something else we should have more discussions in sex education. It doesn't always look like it does in the movies or in porn. You know, things can go wrong. I have often dislocated my joints during sex. It can be painful, but you've got to laugh it off. And if you don't, it's just going to be sat in the back of your head that it's going to happen again and again.
And it probably will, but it's just gone. And I think we need to have these conversations. Noises, sounds, you know, like it all happens. We just need to go with the flow. Yeah, we all have bodies that are going to make different noises, different things that come out and being able to normalize that and then laugh. I mean, for you to thinking about if you're very shy and uncomfortable talking about sex at the beginning to getting to a space where you can laugh about it. That is a journey.
What do you feel like the stepping stones were to getting to that space? Because I'm sure you can imagine that's probably hard for that younger self of you who is so uncomfortable. Start laughing about these things. There's just no way Damien, I couldn't do that, you know. Yeah, I think it's just having been able to have someone around you who can have that open, you know, don't care, have no filter and be willing to listen as well.
You know, I think in a relationship, you need to listen because both ways, God gave God took and I'm looking at God. I'm trying to think if there was a specific thing, but no, I would say it was it's just been open. And that's something I think it's hard to I still close off with certainly it's growing up. I found it hard to be like quite open. You're a diverse sometimes dealing with other people isn't always easy.
And it's just having been able to have a natural conversation as much as you can. And it's not always easy, but I think that's what we need to do. We need to just take each other for what we are. We don't do that enough.
We put filters up, we put and social media is like a prime example that we you can only see what someone wants you to say. Right. Sometimes you've got to bring that down and be a little bit more vulnerable, which isn't always easy. Yeah. Yeah, yes, because we're all looking for connection, right, that even from like a deep evolutionary sense of being a part of the herd being connected.
That's what gave us safety. And so we're always looking for what that connection piece is. But if there's an aspect of ourself that we feel like is going to disconnect us from other people, then we'll hide that right. And those aspects might be things that, you know, aren't talked about enough in society aren't modeled enough all those pieces. We start to hide that and don't want to talk about it and feel shame about these aspects because it might limit our connection with other people, which is what we all deeply crave. And, you know, like you said, being vulnerable about those pieces and finding places where you feel safe, I think is one of the important aspects of this thinking about it in terms of, you know, our nervous system, you know, when we're activated from danger, especially given something like sexuality where we haven't had enough conversation about it. So you're stepping into a place where like, I don't really know what's going on. I've seen some examples on porn, but I still don't really know.
And some of those examples on porn don't model my body, my abilities. So now I really don't know. And then you got that fight flight freeze going on because we've just haven't had enough conversations about this haven't seen enough modeling. And so to step into a place where you can play to feel safe, there has to be so much regulation of your body to really feel that safety connections that you can be with the other person and giggle and laugh about all the different ways. It's it's that somatic experience of connecting with another person and relaxing feeling safe enough to explore to be a kid on the playground, you know. Yeah, and I think if we can, as a society, we need to be more open to like not judging as much.
I mean, we just need to. Like when you see someone with a disability, like if you see someone in a wheelchair, a lot of people are going to say they won't have a sex life, for example, or it's society that is more of the disability factor in some respects. As we were discussing about how we need to like break these barriers down. So for example, I had someone contact me a little while back about they wanted to go to a swing club, a sex club, swing club, but they couldn't find any that would take them because they were in a wheelchair.
I did a lot of research and looking into this and it's something I'm currently working on, but it's really hard to find. A lot of clubs just will not let you in if you've got a disability because they just feel it. It's tricky because some disabled people will be there with a carer, for example, or rather not partner.
But so you've got to bring that into it as well. But so many of them just aren't accessible to the wheelchair, they don't have several toilets, they don't have things like that. So you are kind of alienating them straight away. So then that person feels like they're not a part of what they want, of the part of society that they want to be. Why should you be stopped from exploring your sexuality or just because you're disabled? Yeah, that's wrong.
Yeah. And that's what kind of the lack of sex education does because like if an able-bodied person thinks disabled people don't have sex, they're not going to approach them. They're not going to know how to approach them, for example, to have them conversations. Now, on the flip side, you get a lot of disabled people who are asked, well, can you have sex and things like that? And in the most inappropriate ways.
I don't say necessarily I've had it, but my wife has had people ask her about the conversations about us. Wow. Because they say me as a disabled person. So, yeah. Yeah, how does that make you feel? I usually, like I say, I will have these open conversations and say, look, you know, we can have sex.
It's fine. But what people sometimes forget is sex isn't just about penetration either. For example, if you've got a spinal cord injury and you can't get an erection, there's other ways that you can be pleasure or pleasure someone. And this is, again, back all goes back to education.
For me, it stems back to that one thing. And that's why looking at like sex toys, for example, looking at how sex toys can be used in different ways or how they can be used for pleasure. There's more technology now. So toys can be activated with apps and things like that can use it over the internet.
So there's ways how you can use that technology for someone with a disability. And that's how we've got to have these open, you know, open and frank conversations. I'd be interested to know how many people have been involved in sex. when they had their sex education, if disability was ever mentioned.
I probably would say it'd be less than a percent. Yeah. And that's exactly how then we get to the scenarios of, yeah, people asking inappropriate questions to your wife or the situation of, you know, that swinger or kink play space that is not accessible to all people.
Yeah. And it's also thinking about quite often in the UK press, when you talk about disability and sex, the first thing that is always brought up is using a sex worker. For some reason, a lot of press believe that a disabled person would have to use a sex worker.
And I don't know why that is. Yes, they may want to use, but it shouldn't be, that shouldn't be the only way that society believes that a disabled person would have sex. Yeah, because they, the assumption is, is what there?
Basically, that they, disabled people don't have relationships. And that's what it boils down to, basically. Yeah. Thinking even deeper about like the, all the really problematic assumptions that I think are wrapped up in that assumption there.
Yeah. I don't agree with inappropriate conversations, but I think we need to have these conversations. We need, they need to be in the right environment, in the right space, safe space, but we need to, so many people just don't have these conversations. Yes. We're not having enough of these conversations for sure.
Right. And that's why I'm so thankful for the work that you're doing, the powerful work that you're doing to bring these conversations into light and to be talking with big corporations about producing more, you know, expansive porn. I mean, that will literally change the world, change people's ability to be in connection with other people and create it, and create a more safe space for people to access pleasure. Yeah, even to see it would be amazing in some respects, like to see in some good porn that was made with people with either a wheelchip, like I said, there is stuff out there that has been self-done, like I said, on metal of not porn, but to see more, even in mainstream media, on telly, even to see sex scenes with people, there is very little out there. There's odd thing that in sex education there was a character, but there's not enough.
We need more and more of it. Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I recently watched the HBO show Sex Lives of College Girls. Have you seen that?
I've only seen little bits of it. Okay, yeah, they had one of the main characters. She was someone with a disability and she was just one of the most like sexual, badass characters in the whole show.
She was like, yeah, I'm having sex with people left and right. I was like, yes, this is the representation we need to be seeing for these things. Yes, we need the representation of like disabled people. Disabled people can be sexy. They are sexy. There's some stunning disabled people. We need to see them more on the covers of magazines and on the TV.
And this is how we break this taboo down. It's hard, it's so hard because I understand why there's reservations about it still, in the sense of we've been programmed for so many years. There's still countries that just basically people with disabilities are pushed in basically into a cupboard and not talked about and it still goes on.
We need to break that down. I had conversations with people in different countries talking about sex education and when I always ask the question of what sex education is there for disabled people, well, you don't really see disabled people. Yeah, yeah, you've identified the problem right there.
Yeah, you know, when I'm talking to schools and sex education cell towers in the UK, there's basically no one talking about it. So I'm quite happy to have these conversations. Anyone wants to reach out and talk to me, just drop me a line. We need to talk about it more.
Yeah, and that will change the world. People deserve to have that pleasure. And yeah, we're sifting through so many taboos here. Like you said, one of the last taboos, especially in a sexuality space, to be talking about disability and to be advocating for more representation that is such needed work. It's hard because like, you know, society is still inaccessible for a lot of disabled people. Like, you know, you even basic things, for example, like travel and going to certain buildings, it's still inaccessible. And we need to start making everything accessible as much as we can.
And I know it's also explained to people as well. You may not be disabled now, but you have a high chance as you get older of having a disability of some sort. So it might not affect you now. It will affect you at some point potentially. And if it's not you, it'll be someone you know.
Again, this is something I talk about quite often is it's so hard, especially talking about sex. Someone who acquires a disability, and this might be from an accident, they kind of just get left. And they don't know how. I speak so many men, especially who have had injuries that has then affected their sex life.
And no one has had a conversation with them in the hospital or doctors or anyone has had a conversation about how their sex life will be affected. Wow. Wow. So you speak to people and they'll say, oh, that's it. I'm not going to have sex life anymore.
They might not be how it was, but there is a way still a way. So we need to have the conversation what works for you. And I've sat down with couples with some of the work that I've done with different charities in the UK. And we sit down and talk to couples and or even like men, women on the road as well and have the conversation about how there'll be a different way of having some sort of pleasure.
Yes. It's about pleasure. Doesn't have to be, you know, the word sex is always it's pleasure. Let's let's go to pleasure and yeah. Yes, yes, because like we've talked about that idea of sex can be so restrictive to such a small window of what that means.
And so yeah, expanding it out to pleasure to finding that in your life and it being absolutely possible. Yeah. Yeah, because we all deserve it. Yes. And then some my god, you know what I mean? Yeah. Um, it's one of the common things I can talk about for so long. Again, I think if we just break it down, it's just being honest, open, we're willing to listen, willing to give feedback, and we can change the world.
Yeah. It'll take a long time, but we can hopefully eventually get there. Yes, yes, one conversation at a time, one connection with a person and all of the ripples that that can produce through doing even that small local work and how it ripples out like that. I mean, especially in a global age with connection like the internet, you can do really powerful work through just starting with one person. I talk about sex toys all the time, but I it's like you don't have to potentially use them how they use it's like it was in a cock ring on your fingers, for example, as just sensitive touch down someone's neck down someone's arms just to introduce that sort of touch to see how they like it. And then like I say, I'm very big advocate of using restraints in different ways. It might be you might be able to use it to hold someone on top in a better way rather than you you've just got to think outside the box. Yes, and in terms of activism for both able-bodied and disabled-bodied people, like what would you recommend in terms of being a part of the movement to to bring this change?
Like is what can we do to help make this a reality? Oh, that's a tricky one. I know. Yeah, that is a tricky one. I think going out then and being willing to talk to someone about it. So like, if you've got friends who have a disability, don't just come out and say, oh, do you have sex but ask them in a, maybe bring the conversation about like how it affects them in a day, like how their disability affects them in a day to day life and then maybe get to that eventually. But don't just come out and say, well, because you're in a wheelchair, that means you can't have sex because that isn't usually the case.
A wheelchair is great. There's a bondage device. You can strap yourself to it, off you go. Hoist. Oh, yeah. Hoist of great sex swings.
You know, you've got a thing outside the box. Just be willing to talk, listen, don't judge. Take what society is putting into your head about disability and let it go and then just have an honest conversation. I'm happy for most people to ask me anything. Like, you might not always get an answer, but I'm not going to easy to get offended.
Some people aren't like that. So just baby steps and open the conversation. And I feel inspired after this conversation to go into the local kink place spaces and ask, you know, like, what is the accessibility like in this space? You know, thinking about that example of someone who wanted to go to one and couldn't, you know, even being able to have, start having conversations. If you're a part of that scene in your local community of asking, you know, what is the accessibility in this space for other people, other bodies? And it's getting touched with places and having an open conversation as well and say, look, I want to come. Don't expect to just turn up.
I think you've got to always be open. It shouldn't be like that. You should be able to just turn up somewhere. But the way society is, you can't do that. So be open to, like, you know, what your requirements are. And some places will help accommodate you. Hopefully it doesn't just have to be like sex clubs and kink places.
Even going into like a sex store to buy toys, it might not be always accessible because if you've got steps to get in and things like that, I was in New York last year and I went to the sex museum. They were amazing with me. I was in my wheelchair. I let them know I was coming and they managed to get me around the building. But prior to I went there, the lift wasn't working. So I wouldn't have been able to go if the lift wasn't working. So it's things like that.
And then these things happen. But it's also, I think, having staff in stores with a knowledge of accessibility and disability as well and products that may work, may not work. That's not an easy thing because you can't teach everyone about every disability. But I think it's having at least a little basic knowledge, for example, about like one of the things I spoke about before was, for example, condoms. It's not easy to put a condom on if you've got dexterity issues. So again, go back to the education setting, see if there's a way around it. There's brands out there that have applicator rings and things that do make it easier.
OK. But also, like, for example, using positional furniture, like liberator wedges and things like that. Explain how that can change your body shape or make it come fear. Yeah.
Maybe using restraints if you have spasms and things like that. If there's if you've got someone who has a little bit of knowledge. And again, there is some people on the internet who do talk about this. And I think we need to have more conversations like this. So again, anyone has any questions?
Draw me a line. Yes. And thank you for offering that and being, you know, a leader in this space to change and create, you know, more pleasure for all bodies, more pleasure for all bodies. Thank you. Yeah. Are you feeling like there is anything else that maybe you wanted to hit on today as we come towards the end of our time? Otherwise, I have a closing question, but I like to leave a little bit of space in case something was on your chest that you wanted to share that we didn't get to.
I think we've caught up. Otherwise, you're going to get enliased another hour. I think I think we'd better go for the close. Hey, the world needs it. If anything from our conversation, I think this conversation should be three plus hours, right? My God. Yeah. Well, then the question that I ask everyone on the podcast is what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?
I think it just would have to be that disabled people have sex, end up or can have sex and want pleasure and to be loved. End of. Yeah.
Right. Because that would prevent all those intrusive questions, those assumptions, all those problematic aspects of, you know, the current society about sex and the current assumptions we have with people who have disabilities. That alone, if we could normalize that, we would be in a completely different world.
Yeah, it's just normal in conversations about disability, full stop, but then you drop sex in there as well. Explosion of, I wouldn't say shame because it's not a shame. It's like a bit of an embarrassment to have these conversations. People don't want to have them. Let's get rid of that. Well, they'll be a nicer place.
We have. Yes. Full of more pleasure. And when people are pleasure, I would say we're happy, joyful, more loving with other people. I mean, man, if I could create a like, you know, a social activism platform based on pleasure alone, kind of what the pleasure project is doing, I do think that that sort of work would create a happier society, a more connected society, a more joyful society. But maybe I'm dreaming kind of big here.
I don't know. I think I'd love to say in like 20 years time, we will be a more open society. But I think there's still the part of society that is fighting against it.
And as office, it seems to be winning these conversations at times. We seem to be getting stifled and censored more rather than becoming more of a free society. And you shouldn't be ashamed of like your kinks, your fetishes and things like that. We should just be allowed to be who we are, unless, you know, it's illegal.
It should be fine. You know, if someone likes playing with balloons, for example, it's fine. Let's just go with it.
It's we just need to be more tolerable. Yeah. Mm hmm. Absolutely. Yeah, creating that space for authentic expression, you know, I think that's just not we don't have enough space for that in the world in general, let alone when you talk about sex, let alone when you talk about people with disabilities, it gets, you know, all these added intersectional layers to it and the ways that our society is restricting our authentic expression. And even the word legal.
I like to push back on, right? Because like back in the day, interracial, at least depending in America, interracial marriage was illegal, right? All these other pieces. So I'm even like the illegal, it's tricky. I don't want to walk myself into a hole by talking about that, right? Like, I don't want to say anything bad. This one's like Nicole's endorsing illegal activity.
My God, you know, but like consent culture in that way. But the war on drugs is where I'm always like, the illegal nature is so messed up. You know, I do psychedelic assisted psychotherapy right now for my clinical. So I'm always like pushing on that forefront to there of, you know, what psychedelics look like in that whole legal battle.
Yeah. And I speak like to so many people to have the conversations about CBD and candidates and like you say, using like mushrooms and things like that. And I think. like again, we need to have these conversations. I was like growing up quite anti-drugs. You should grow up, you outlook changes. And I see how certain drugs help people with disabilities and certain conditions.
I have a friend who was prescribed cannabis but a similar condition to himself and things like that. And I think we need to at least be open to these conversations. It might not be for everyone, same with like I said, same with a kink or a fetish, not for everyone, but it's for someone.
And we've got to be. I said, as long as it's hard, like you say, the illegal illegal. I know. Obviously things very illegal.
So we just like, yes, that shouldn't be discussed and can't be condoned, especially like in the U.S. obviously, different states as well. Right, right. Real fun. Yeah, okay, we can do it under one law. Yeah.
But it's I think if we don't have these, at least have the conversations, we can't move forward. Yes, absolutely. Yeah, because always remembering that the legal system is created by humans that have their own bias.
That's the tricky piece of this, right? And so like and the power that be, I mean, I think my thing I always come back to is like consent or is everyone consenting to this? Can everyone consent to this and harm, you know, like being sure not to harm other people and that and that that gets so tricky. But like, yeah, a lot of these things, you know, I'm sure at least in our and American society, we're very like racially charged to control groups of people.
There's like a whole long history of that in America. And so, yeah, being able to talk about it. And I think even as someone who's in training to become a clinical psychologist, like there's so much fear to lose your license when you start talking about things like this that cross over that line. And so it gets risky even to have conversations like that.
So I'm doing my best to honor them here and talk about it. Especially in the society we live in now with social media, new things can be misconstrued. If you take a second clip from some five second clip out of our conversation, it's yeah. Absolutely. Yep. So every day I'm like, you know, this podcast talking about things, talking about my own experience with psychedelics.
It's always like a huge risk. So stay with me, folks. I think I think that we should be able to talk about truth. I think we should be able to talk about our lived experience. I think we should be able to talk about pleasure.
I think we should be able to talk about those things. And so that's kind of my ethics system with doing this. And so trying to create that space, we'll see if I lose my license one day.
And if that's what I lose it for, for talking about truly things that brought me expansion in my own psychology and my own connection for people, then that's a worth it journey for me. You know what I mean? We need to just we obviously you've got to have boundaries. You've got to have laws.
But there's a big gap in there that we need to be open to at least take talk about things, not always agree with it, not always disagree, but at least have that conversation so we can. You would have gone back to 100 years. So the thought of someone with a disability talking about sex in public would have just been completely probably even going back 20 years.
You just don't see it. I know I know people even who have had their TV careers canceled because they talked about disability and sex in the sense of like basically they struggle to get work after having them conversations. And that's not going back that far. Wow, it's not shocking to me, honestly, because this is a society we live in. I'm looking at you and like, how do we create a business for all of us?
Robo Rousers over here who aren't playing that game anymore? Because all of us need a band together and create something. We need to we need to just take a step back. You as you grow up, you kind of talk certain things that this is right.
This is wrong. We need and we need that. So at least have some sort of cohesion to a point.
Yeah, what we forget is we are all different. I will have a conversation with you about, say, for example, psychedelics. I will then go and talk to someone else about that and say, I've been talking about magic mushrooms, for example, they will go. But that's illegal. That's wrong. But at least have the conversation. Yeah, well, well, actually, I think we should maybe look at this.
This is the reason why. So if we have me learning from you to teach someone else and then and then they can say why they don't agree with it, I can then think right. That yeah, that that's maybe a valid point. But and you just go back and forth. And the more we talk about these things openly, we learn to be open with each other a little bit more and again, like stop. We don't all want to agree with each other.
Society will be boring. We need to have discussions. We need to have. Conflict isn't the word, but we need to have disagreement on certain things. But we need to be open to have that conversation. For example, like you said, you know, if I said to someone, right, as a disabled person, I want to go to a sex club for the first time I want to go. And if someone says no, you shouldn't be there because you're disabled. I'd want to know why they're trying to tell me.
Yeah, you too. I want I would I wouldn't want just to know and that and I'm a very I can't stop with the one word answer. So I would want I would want them to tell me why and I would tell them they were wrong.
But I want to at least have. That opportunity to tell them why disabled person should be in a sex club or should be at least given the chance to be there. Why they shouldn't just be stopped. Yes, you're hitting on something so important is that like conversations can change society, just being able to sit in that and not necessarily have to come to the same point, but just hear one another. That is, you know, the democratic process that, you know, of the benefit of hearing different points of view, because we're all going to have our own point of view, depending on our lived experience, depending on our education and social conditioning and being able to hear one another in that and honor the lived experience of other people and hold space for disagreement. That's how we get better by being able to have those conversations hear one another and then keep growing through conversations in relationship with people.
And it's, you know, part of what makes today's conversation so important, you know, having conversations about sex and disability and the increased need for pleasure for all bodies, conversations like this. Truly, I do believe will change the world. Hopefully we can we can only try. We can only do it. We having a conversation like this is like a small molecule of the whole big thing, but we just need to have these conversations. Well, thank you so much for having this conversation with me.
It was so much fun. Where can people find you, connect with your work and everything that you're doing? At the moment, the best place to find me is on Instagram. My website is currently being built.
So best place to find me is on Instagram at djw80. Great. Any conversation, any questions about disability, sex, sex education, if they want advice about sex toys, anything like that. She'll give me a shout. We're lucky to have you in this world. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast and head on over to modernanarchypodcast.com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.