In many ways, there’s never been a better time to buy a sex toy. Advances in tech, plus a huge cultural shift on the stigma front, means that there are all kinds of innovative companies making game-changing pleasure products. Vibrators, suction toys, dildos, harnesses, and more… there’s something for almost any kind of experience. However, there’s one key demographic that’s been left out of the sex toy boom, and that’s people with disabilities.
Depending on one’s accessibility needs, finding the correct sex toy amid a sea of options can be confusing, overwhelming, and hard. Not only do you have to factor in what you’re hoping to get out of a sex toy (like clitoral stimulation, or penetration), you also have to decipher which toys are optimized for your particular disability. For example, someone with a visual impairment may struggle with devices that rely on intricate details and small buttons, whereas someone with a limited range of motion, like arthritis, may need a hands-free option or something with a more ergonomic design. Meanwhile, those with communication disabilities may have a hard time conveying their needs or adjusting the overall settings.
Unlike other items you purchase at a store, you can’t really try sex toys on and return them if the shoe doesn’t fit. So it’s essential to go into the experience of purchasing a sex toy with a bit of research. For people with disabilities, finding a toy that works with your body rather than against it is crucial in fulfilling satisfaction. Some sex toys may lack flexibility or be too physically demanding for folks who have limited mobility or who have trouble gripping objects or holding heavy ones for too long. People with cognitive disabilities, for example, may benefit from toys with simplified controls and automatic vibrations, as opposed to toys with more complex interfaces.
“People don’t think about accessibility the right way. It’s not about one thing being accessible. For example, what’s accessible for someone who uses a wheelchair may be different than someone who has PTSD.” —Grayson Schultz, founder, Chronic Sex
But pleasure—and the items that can enhance it—shouldn’t be (and isn’t!) off-limits to people with disabilities. Keep reading for a guide on how to find the perfect sex toy for people with disabilities, and a sampling of some of the best expert-approved options on the market.
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How can the use of sex toys improve the sex lives of people with disabilities?
Depending on one’s disability, adding sex toys to the mix can make sex more pleasurable and overall a lot easier. Whether someone has a neurological or mobility disability, sex toys can fill a gap that pleasure without toys can’t fill. Toys often offer an enhanced level of stimulation (particularly through vibration or suction) that can be difficult to achieve on one’s own, providing people with autonomy over their bodies to experience satisfaction in ways that may be challenging without them.
Accessibility, however, is not a one-size-fits-all situation. As mentioned earlier, the perfect toy for you or your partner’s needs is contingent on what accessibility means to your body. Grayson Schultz, accessibility-focused sex educator and founder of Chronic Sex, shares, “Often, people don’t think about accessibility the right way. It’s not about one thing being accessible. For example, what’s accessible for someone who uses a wheelchair may be different than someone who has PTSD, another person who doesn’t have grip strength, and still someone else who is blind.”
In other words, accessibility comes in all shapes and sizes. Just because one sex toy is labeled accessible on the box does not mean it will be inclusive to everyone’s needs. People in a wheelchair are more likely to need toys that can be mounted or have flexibility options that maneuver easily; those with PTSD can opt for more gentle vibrations and adjustable settings for a potentially less triggering, gentler experience; likewise, individuals without grip strength may need a hands-free or app-controlled device.
“Sometimes, the accessibility needs anyone has can even cause an accessibility issue for someone else,” adds Schultz. “For example, if someone is blind, maybe having a toy with bumps on the control buttons will make it more accessible. But those bumps might set off a flare-up if you have certain chronic pain conditions. So, there’s no one-way accessibility that exists or appears. It’s all about meeting someone where they’re at and making life as accessible as possible,” he says.
Even vibrators, a staple in the sex-toy industry, isn’t a one-size-fits-all option for folks with disabilities. “Some disabilities might mean a person doesn’t feel sensation as intensely as another. In their case, a sex toy with a bigger vibration might help them access sex more easily. For another person with sensory processing disorder, any vibration could mean that toy is unusable,” Schultz shares. (They might get overwhelmed by the sensation or changing patterns.)
What to look for in a sex toy that meets your needs
To figure out exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to your needs, Carol Queen, Ph.D., an in-house sexologist at Good Vibes, says, “The best way to work through finding what you need is thinking about what kind of sexual experiences you’d like to explore that a toy might facilitate. Different toys do different things, so thinking about what you want to experience and what you want assistance with can help,” Dr. Queen says.
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of experience you want (and what kind of toy is likely to facilitate it), it’s critical to check that the materials and ingredients used are non-toxic and non-porous. “The non-porous issue is incredibly important if you’re going to be using any toy internally or in a way that it will come into contact with bodily fluid or lube,” says Schultz, since you risk introducing bacteria. (The gold standard: silicone, which Schultz says is non-porous and easy to clean.) Avoid gel or jelly toys which can cause burns and harbor bacteria, he adds.
These materials rules can apply to everyone of all abilities, but paying attention to the ingredients list is especially important for people with multiple chemical sensitivities or reduced immune systems. A brand can label itself as “natural” without providing any backup. Pay attention to these claims and always ask an employee at a shop (or a brand’s FAQ or customer service pages online) to confirm when avoiding certain ingredients.
Next, look into the toy’s controls, read the reviews, and analyze all the features. How tired and weary a toy makes you is something highly important to consider. Sex toys can easily cause fatigue from both the strength and motion of the device. Consider the weight of the object, how easily it can be turned off, and if it will allow you to take breaks as needed to lessen exhaustion.
We can’t forget the huge role lube plays with sex toys, especially for folks with disabilities who need to be mindful of certain ingredients. “Lube can be a great addition to any sexual experience; however, users should make sure the lube they are choosing is compatible with the device materials,” says Megwyn White, certified sexologist and director of education at Satisfyer. “If using a silicone-based lube, make sure to stay away from silicone devices; however, water-based lube is compatible with any device material.” If applicable to one’s disability, make sure to opt for hypoallergenic options to prevent reactions and ensure the product can easily be cleaned up. And consider the packaging of the lube. Dispensers or easy-to-squeeze bottles are likely a better choice for someone who struggles with fine motor skills.
All our sources recommend making sure your toys have at least a year-long warranty so you can get the most out of your money should there be any issues. If you have the ability to shop in person, ensure there are no chemical smells on the materials, and the vibration and controls are up to your standards. Going to an education-based sex store to ask questions about what you’re looking for and work with the staff is a great way to ensure that you’re going to get a toy that works well for your interests and needs. If going in person is inaccessible, working with a disability-focused sex educator (like Schultz) virtually will work just as well.
All three of our sources shared the below resources and sex stores that cater to people with disabilities. If you’re not located by the suggested stores, you can virtually contact the educators who work there to discuss your exact needs.
Disability-friendly sex education stores:
- Come As You Are in Toronto
- Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis
- Cute Little Fuckers: A queer-owned, trans-owned, disabled-owned company whose mission is to make authentic sexual expression as inclusive and accessible as possible.
- Satisfyer offers a wide variety of sexual wellness devices that can satisfy the needs of all users, regardless of abilities, all at an accessible price point.
- Dallas Novelty has a list of accessible toys that exist and may be helpful or fun for you.
Sex education materials for people with disabilities:
The best sex toys for people with disabilities
Best multi-use toy
Sola Sync — $119.00
The Sola Sync is a wireless, 10-function rechargeable wand that is highly recommended by Schultz. A toy for both solo and partnered play, the Sola Sync comes with a remote to make controlling it easy. It also has a flexibility that Schultz says he has yet to encounter in other toys. The lightweight wand also has an extra-long handle to make it easier to hold and reach key erogenous zones. Schultz also enjoys this toy just as a massager, as it has a smaller head than others and can dig into knots a lot easier. For someone interested in an experience with high vibrations, this may not be the toy for you, as these vibration levels are not extreme.
Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.5 inches
- Extremely flexible
- Lots of settings and speeds to choose from
- Long battery life
- Five-year warranty
- The vibrations are not incredibly strong
- Aux cord charging not always reliable or effective
Best sensory toy
Doxy Original Wand Massager — $155.00
This powerful wand is made to fit comfortably in your hand. Its 6-centimeter (about 2.4 inches) metal head claims to have 30 percent more vibration power than leading competitors (not too shabby!) and is charged via a built-in AC adapter with a cord length of 10 feet. With simple technology and easy-to-understand buttons, the accessibility of this wand, as Grayson says, is exceptional.
The only downside: Schultz says the weight of this wand makes it potentially harder to hold for more extended periods. If that’s a challenge for you, you can separately purchase a position enhancer, aka a product designed to make it easier to control a sex toy. These devices can make it way easier to manage fatigue and support your body by adjusting you (or the toy) to a more comfortable position that would otherwise be unobtainable. Items such as Pole Mounts and Strap Holders can be lovely additions to help meet your needs.
Material: Body-safe silicone
Dimensions: 14.6 x 6.3 inches
Weight: 17.6 ounces
- High vibrations and intense power
- Great as a body massager
- Can be used with other wand attachments
- One year warranty
- Loud and not recommended to travel with
- Not waterproof
- On the heavier side (over a pound)
Best for vulva play
Lovelife Rev Finger Vibrator — $75.00
This compact wearable vibrator, small enough to fit in your palm, is equipped with a single large button to allow for easy navigation through its seven presets. Unlike traditional handheld vibrators that demand a constant grip, this vibrator slips onto your fingers like a large ring, making it more ideal for individuals with restricted body mobility. The inclusion of generously sized button controls and a user manual with a large typeface makes it an appealing option for those with visibility impairments. It’s also easy to charge via USB. The small size of this toy allows it to be kept hidden away in a purse or easily transported. Ranked at 3/5 intensity, the Rev Finger Vibe is certainly not the most powerful toy on the market, but the wearable features allow all the power to come from your hands without extra movement.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.4 inches
- Quiet and easy to hide
- 1-year warranty
- Not extremely powerful
- Does not come with accessible attachments
Best for penis play
Hot Octopuss Jett Guybrator Ring — $87.00
The Jett Guybrator is a bullet simulator designed to offer intense sensations under the tip of the penis. The flexible silicone sleeve can be slipped over a penis even if it’s not yet erect. Control vibration of the two unique bullets, which sit underneath the head of the penis, via plus and minus buttons on the remote control unit. The beauty of this toy is that it can eliminate the necessity for manual stimulation (like masturbation) entirely, providing increased accessibility for individuals who are challenged to reach certain areas of their body. Although not suited for penetrative play, a partner with a vulva could enjoy simultaneously tribbing the toy while in use.
The toy is battery-operated, and its cord design (connected directly to the remote) may cause trouble for those with limited mobility. However, it’s noted to be very straightforward, with only a few buttons and simple controls, making it suitable for someone with limited dexterity or motor skills.
Material: Silicone ring; ABS Plastic bullets
Dimensions: 2.55 x 1.45 inches
- Can be used on non-erect penis
- Very powerful vibration sensations
- One year warranty
- Battery operated
- Loud during usage
- Not wireless
Best hands-free toy
Satisfyer Love Triangle — $70.00
The Satisfyer Love Triangle uses air-pulse technology to send deep vibrations to the head of a clitoris. Its smooth silicone head can be easily cleaned and is operated with two super strong power motors. (It also comes with a cap to keep it germ free.) This toy can be controlled manually through buttons on the side, or via the free Satisfyer Connect app on your phone. In the app, you can choose between predefined intensity combinations or make up your own—especially helpful for those with different sensitivity needs who might not vibe (literally) with the presets. Individuals facing mobility challenges can benefit from the hands-free technology, allowing for easy operation without the need for a firm grip on the device.
Materials: Silicone, ABS plastic
Dimensions: 2.65 x 3.4 x 1.25 inches
Weight: 4.1 ounces
- Super customizable settings
- Magnetic USB charging cable
- Very powerful
- More complex learning curve than other toys due to its various features
- May require knowledge of smartphone technology to use the app
Best supportive aid
Dame Pillo — $95.00
Although not a “sex toy” per se, this cushiony pillow can make sex a lot easier and more fun. Used for elevation purposes or just extra support anywhere in the body, the Pillo is a great tool to have lying around the bedroom to enhance positions and lessen tension.
Materials: Polyurethane foam and cotton outer shell
Dimensions: 15 x 18 x 7 inches
- Machine washable cover
- Allows positions to feel easier
- Might be too firm for some people
- Expensive for what it is
- Could be larger
Best for mobility issues
Pipedream Body Dock Lap Strap Thigh Strap-On Harness System — $50.00
The Pipedream Body Dock Lap Strap is a great strap-on harness for both partner and solo play. Its design includes a silicone suction dock for a dildo, and heavy-duty adjustable straps to keep your toy securely attached to your body. The harness can be strapped to pillows, cushions, body parts, or really anywhere your heart desires. For those with limited leg mobility, attaching the harness to the thigh enables a partner to sit on it, while individuals with arm fatigue can use the harness on a pillow, eliminating the need for arm involvement entirely. For an individual who may need more assistance with motor skills, this harness’s push-and-play mechanism eliminates the need for intricate rings or snaps. (Just note: You’ll have to buy a dildo separately.)
Materials: Nylon straps, silicone body plate
Dimensions: Fits leg or thigh circumferences up to 30 inches; dock accommodates dildos with a suction diameter of 3.4 inches or smaller
- Can be used in various ways
- Easily adjusts to fit many body sizes
- Not waterproof
- Not machine washable
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