"3 Top Questions About Disability in Kink"
Consent is key!
By Lucy LaRue (April 2018)
Discussing disabilities in the kink community can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. Not only are BDSM and kink-related activities themselves a topic of controversy, but the prospect of discussing fully consensual activities with people with disabilities without fetishizing it can feel nearly impossible to achieve without a bit of social or personal discomfort. As a result, this subsection of the community is often passed over.
This awkward avoidance causes many disabled people to attempt to hide their disability or to refrain from participation in the community entirely. It is a personal mission of mine as a disabled sex worker to help bring disabled kinksters out of the shadows together and encourage able-bodied and able-minded folks to overcome their discomfort and embrace the growing movement of disabled voices in our community.
Though not often represented, disabled kinksters exist in droves. For the purpose of this article, we will define a disabled person as any person with a condition, physical or cognitive, that considerably affects their day-to-day activities in a negative way.
There are several common concerns that arise when discussing play with a person with a disability.
1. Is it possible to appreciate someone’s body and abilities without crossing the line into fetishizing their disability?
2. How can you make sure the person with a disability is safe and healthy during a scene?
3. Are they a vulnerable adult? Can they willingly give their full consent to the scene? Are they fully aware of their actions and the way results of their decisions?
If you are concerned that you could be fetishizing someone’s disability, first examine whether you enjoy them solely for their disability, or if their disability is simply one of the long list of wonderful things about them. If the only thing you are attracted to them for is their disability, take time to get to know them and appreciate the other aspects of their personality and body.
Remember that a disabled person does not owe you a list of diagnoses or their medical history. This being said, it is the disabled person’s job to share any information regarding their disability that would be crucial to the functionality and safety of the scene. Withholding information could result in accidental injury or death.
For example, if Brenna and Audrey have agreed to a scene involving tying Brenna to a bed with rope, Brenna needs to let Audrey know that she had a blood clot in her arm several years ago and needs to be careful restricting blood flow to the area. If Brenna does not tell Audrey, Audrey might tie the ropes tightly around Brenna’s shoulder and arm and accidentally cause more damage. With the knowledge of Brenna’s history, Audrey can tie Brenna’s arm separately and more loose than the rest of her body, and be sure to check in with Brenna regarding blood flow in that arm more often.
Accommodations can be made to ensure that everyone can enjoy the kinky spice of life with whatever limitations they may have. It may take a bit of brainstorming, research, and advice from fellow kinksters, but it is possible to make the community accessible in every way.
Before engaging in play with a member of the disabled community, if you are unsure whether the person is able to consent or not, sit down with them and discuss your concerns. They should be able to explain their condition in better detail and confirm their ability to make informed decisions for themselves. If they cannot, it is best to be safe rather than sorry. It goes without saying that it is necessary to ensure that your play partners are capable of consent.
Everything that has been discussed can be boiled down to one word: Communication. Communication is crucial to any kink scene, and is even more important when an individual with a disability is involved. Abled people often struggle to communicate with disabled people because of awkwardness or confusion on how to speak with them without causing offense. The answer is easy: Speak to them as if you were speaking to any other human being. Stop being weird and awkward about it, for fuck’s sake!
"3 Top Questions About Disability in Kink" (Manyvids, April 2018)
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"Smart Scheduling for the Disabled Content Creator"
By Lucy LaRue (Oct 2018)
The porn community has gone through several progressive improvements recently, including the increasing rate of disabled and chronically ill performers and models entering the industry. However, many find the full-time, consistent amount of dedicated effort that goes into creating content and sustaining an appealing professional image extremely difficult due to the limitations of the symptoms of their illnesses. It can even seem impossible to “keep up” with other performers. As a disabled MV Girl and enthusiastic disability advocate, I would like to share the system I use to be consistently productive despite my fluctuating physical abilities:
Track Personal Trends
It is much easier to create a realistic plan for the future once you understand what you are working with. Keep track of the trends you see in the way your body reacts to different stimuli, paying special attention to the recovery time you may need after each activity. Perhaps your illness flares up depending on the season, the weather, your physical activity, or the foods you eat. The more trends you are able to identify, the easier it will be to create a work schedule that rides or takes advantage of these trends instead of falling prey to them.
Acknowledge Limitations (& work WITH them)
It is quite common for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses to experience days or weeks where creating sexy videos and photos is impossible due to complications of their condition. This does not mean it is impossible to be productive! By identifying symptoms and acknowledging how they limit your production, you can avoid overexertion and select creative options that better suit your abilities on high-symptom days instead. Besides, low-energy days are the perfect opportunity to pamper yourself and take care of your skin! Leave off the makeup and let your pores breathe, or apply a face mask! Be kind to yourself and to your body: You will thank yourself later on, believe me!
Create a list of content you would like to create, including even the smallest tasks. This list should be constantly growing and evolving. Divide your list into three sections:
1. Tasks that take a high amount of energy (ex. Filming a full-length video, attending a photoshoot or event, Performing on cam)
2. Tasks that take a moderate amount of activity (ex. Prepping for a future shoot, Meeting with collaborators, even doing laundry!)
3. Tasks that take minimal energy (ex. Editing clips, designing advertisements, interacting with clients online, writing articles or erotica)
In organizing the work you wish to create by the amount of effort and energy each action takes you and designating appropriate tasks to your varying abilities, you are able to utilize the knowledge you collected about your personal trends to plan for future creative endeavors without unnecessary burnout or wasted time. As you pay attention over time to your body’s reactions to the amount of energy it needs to expend for each task, you will be able to develop a fine-tuned schedule based on and not limited by your varying abilities.
A common and unfortunate trait of many chronic illnesses or disabilities is unpredictability. This is why it is very important to create multiple options for yourself in the event that you run into an unexpected roadblock, health or otherwise. It can be difficult to bounce back once in a slump, so it helps to have several alternate tasks from a lower-energy task bracket available to avoid a slump in the first place. Maintaining a hardy queue of content available as a backup in case of an unintended absence can be a game-changer as well. It can be hard to hold off on posting the super sexy, smutty new content you’ve created right away, but keeping a couple juicy little tidbits for a symptom-filled day in the future is an investment in consistency that is well-worth the wait.
Remember, it will take time to tweak and perfect your personalized plan, but with careful observation, honest introspection, prioritization, and content-conservation, you can work harmoniously with your disadvantages instead of letting them stall your success!
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