- Sex toys are no longer as much of a taboo in society.
- However, these self pleasuring devices are not yet inclusive for people with disabilities.
- Thankfully, a new hands-free sex toy has become available to people with limited or no hand function.
Vibrators and dildos - these are the sex toys that we (well, some of us) know and love. Ideal for when your partner is away and you are in that frisky mood.
Helpful to all the single ladies, they can add an extra spice to your bedroom.
These pleasure-giving devices are becoming more popular with the sexual revolution of feminism.
This is something very positive for society, but with pleasure being deemed a fundamental right, it is tragic that there is such a lack of sex toys that are accessible to people with limited or no hand functioning.
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There are a myriad of physical disabilities that can cause a lack of mobility in a person’s hands; such as cerebral palsy, Parkinsons, spinal cord injuries, among others.
The limitations can be caused by spasticity or weakness in the muscles and even paralysis. This makes using a sex toy unaided very difficult for people who experience these challenges.
Rectifying this issue proves even more difficult when disabled people as a whole are not included in conversations around anything sexual because they are seen as asexual beings, who do not have thoughts, desires and romantic partners.
The World Health Organisation defines sexual health as a human right that should be accessible to everybody - something which is overlooked by most people, including sex toy manufacturers.
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Some disabled people are forced to ask their caregivers to assist them when masturbating. Not only is this not part of a caregiver’s job description, but it is undignified for the person who yearns to feel pleasure and have an orgasm.
This is where Handi, a company specialising in sex toys for people with limited hand functionality, is disrupting the adult sex industry. Handi was started by Andrew Gurza, an internationally renowned disability consultant who lives with spastic quadriplegia (a type of cerebral palsy) and his sister, Heather.
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They realised that there must be other people who shared in the difficulty of masturbating due to limited hand functioning. They conducted interviews with other people living with similar disabilities, and the results showed an overwhelmingly high number of people who struggled with self-pleasure due to the lack of mobility in their hands.
Handi collaborated with the Australian RMIT University to conceptualise a device which was both functional and ensured sexual pleasure. Their first product was the "Cuddleplus", launched last year. It is operated by a person’s chin and is huggable, as the name suggests. Handi aims to launch more products in the future.
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It is clear that a market is being ignored in the adult sex toy industry. Disabled people are tired of not being seen or heard. It is time that these people had a seat at the table, just like everyone else.
Sex and sexual needs are as primitive as hunger and thirst, making the conversation around accessible sex toys all the more necessary. In addition, people who live with a disability are often in pain and to have the accessibility to the euphoric pleasure and freedom of an orgasm is a basic human right.