Accessibility post #1: Clients with disabilities

 

I’d like to talk a little bit about working with clients with disabilities. I hope to be really honest about my capacities as well as my limitations, and I hope that you’ll appreciate my honesty in this.

I recently saw this amazing film Scarlet Road about Rachel, a sex worker in Australia who does awesome work in her role with clients with disabilities. Rachel set up Touching Base, which refers clients to sex workers, as well as offering training to sex workers to upskill in this area; campaigning for sex worker rights and engages in research and training for health and other professionals. I was really touched by Rachel’s open-hearted account of her work, and I loved the willingness of her clients to talk about the experience too. (I also caught a tiny glimpse of the very lovely Miss Fleur in the film! She’s so awesome!)

The UK-based website TLC Trust does a similar thing to Touching Base. I’ve known about it for a while and I’ve now decided to set up a profile on their website so that people using that site can find me. I had been nervous about doing so as I feel I didn’t have enough experience in this area, but I’ve recently been encouraged by some lovely people, so I’ve decided to take that step. I’ll add a link to this post when my profile is done and accepted so that you can have a look.

Whilst I have a lot of personal and professional experience with sex and relationships with people experiencing things that are often conceptualised as mental health stuff (from Asperger’s, addictions, ADHD, depression, bipolar etc), I don’t have a huge amount of experience in sex and relationships with people with more physical type health stuff going on. I’m being deliberately vague here rather than a sloppy writer: I’m aware of enough disability politics to know that there are things that physically make sex and relationships difficult that might not… qualify you for disability living allowance for example. What I am trying to say is that I’m not going to define you by what your doctor says about what you can and can’t do.

My primary goal isn’t to put the disability first in our interaction, it’s to make people understand that I’m about communication, and if we can communicate enough to satisfy each other’s needs then I think we can be hopeful about having cool and sexy fun in the bedroom (or wherever else…). My needs are things like as much information as I ask for from every client (some basic security stuff and good communication), exchanged in an open and honest way. I’m guessing your needs are things like as much information as you need to know that we will be able to conduct the session safely and in a fun and easy manner. Transport info. Stuff about my venue, etc. But mostly again, the same as any other client: the knowledge that you like me and what I do enough to spend your valuable time and money on me.

More stuff that might be helpful to you, as a client with a disability:

-my flat, although ground floor, isn’t totally accesible. Because of this, I’m happy to do outcalls to people who can’t visit me on accessibility grounds, at the same rate I would normally charge for incalls.

- my bed is hip height, as is my bath/shower. I’m pretty happy to come in the shower and help you out if that’s helpful (and hot ;) ) – my clients all shower on arrival, partly for hygiene/refreshment/relaxation and partly because I dislike licking aftershave or deodorant…

- I don’t know BSL. I’m not sure how to get around this, but since I’m good at learning languages I had better get on with it and take some classes, I think.

I’ve got some other stuff to say about sex work and disability, but that’s enough for now. If there’s anything else you want to know about me or how you can organise to see me, that’s here, or if you can’t find it elsewhere on this website or my other profiles, then do just get in touch, in whichever way suits you best.

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