We're all about inclusion here on Fetish.com so we wanted to take some time to answer some of your questions about BDSM and people with disabilities. There seems to be a bit of a grey zone when it comes to understanding how this can be done and here to answer some of these pending questions is our very own Dear Abi columnist! If you still have questions after reading drop a comment below or start a thread in the forum!


Dear Abi: How to do BDSM and Disability



Chronic Pain and Kink


Dear Abi,


I have a chronic pain condition, and one of my personal tricks for dealing with my disability is that I try to work with it rather than against it in my daily life. So, for example, I concentrate on physical activities designed rather than adapted for people with disabilities, and I try to practice mindfulness and meditation techniques to learn from my body rather than always trying to overcome it. I used to be involved with the kink community back before my condition developed, and while I had no interest for a while I’m finding lately that my libido is returning - and my desire for submission along with it. How can I work this general coping mechanism into the way I engage with my sexuality like I do the other aspects of my life?


With cautious curiosity,
Wannabe Holistic


Dear Wannabe,

Two main things spring to mind. The first is something I’ve written about before: submission has taught me a few techniques for processing pain that I wouldn’t have otherwise. They’ve proven useful in all manner of situations that aren’t just about sex! You might find that your own existing techniques have set you up well to explore impact play, and you might also find that the things you learn along the way are also useful during a flare-up of your condition.


The other is that it would be a shame to underestimate the power of the endorphin. Endorphins are immensely useful when processing discomfort, and they’re also a great way to help combat the emotional impact of chronic pain. Many people find that BDSM helps them feel an endorphin high - so it’s worth experimenting to see how that can work for you.


I too am a firm believer in a holistic approach to life. I’ve long been fascinated by the number of transferrable skills participation in kink can give you. In my experience, though, they’re mostly things you need to learn by doing - so start searching for what you want, and let your own mindfulness of the situation show you how to draw it all together.

Keep experimenting,
Abi x




D/s and Anxiety


Dear Abi,


I’ve recently started dating someone new, and we’re currently negotiating how we’d like to explore a D/s relationship. We don’t really want the 24/7 TPE stuff, but we’re definitely interested in having some aspects of dom/sub in our daily lives. She has an anxiety disorder and suffers frequent panic attacks in addition to periods of depression. She’s recently said she might be interested in finding some ways I could help her with that as her dominant. I’m very keen to help and definitely up for helping her have what she wants, but I’m wary of getting it wrong! Do you have any advice?


With thanks,
Concerned Boyfriend


Dear Concerned,

I don’t know anything about your girlfriend’s specific anxieties or what the roots of them might be, but I absolutely do have experience of having my dominants help me through a period of anxiety (and indeed an anxiety attack, though I don’t believe I get ‘panic attacks’ in the technical sense) by using aspects of the dynamic we’ve built together. I don’t think my experience of anxiety is atypical, and I’m certainly aware of other people who have found the same things useful as I have.


Anxiety generally comes to me in the form of being unable to make decisions. Often, these are decisions that are quite small in reality: what to wear, or what to have for dinner. When this happens, I’ve found it immensely useful to have a dominant partner simply make the decision for me and tell me what to do. I’d react very poorly to this if anyone else tried it, but when it’s someone to whom I have chosen to give power over me it has a remarkably beneficial effect!


Sometimes, the problem is that I’m entirely unmotivated and am really struggling to sort out the chores, or sit down and get my work done, or carry out some other necessary task. In times like that, I’ve always been incredibly grateful for dominants who are happy to motivate me to do it - a carrot-and-stick approach with a reward at the end and a punishment if I keep procrastinating about it generally works a charm.


All of these tricks have the added fringe benefit of taking my mind off whatever’s happening in my head. Suddenly a stressful scenario is a kinky thing between me and a partner, which almost always cheers me up all by itself!


I’m mostly answering this question from personal experience, though - and the only person who can do that for your girlfriend is your girlfriend herself. To help her start figuring out what she wants you to try. Why not talk over some of these options with her and see how she feels about them? Even if she doesn’t think they’re for her, they may give her a starting point from which she can figure out what would work.

With solidarity,
Abi x




Bondage and Rheumatism


Dear Abi,


I’d really like to experiment with bondage, but I’m worried about how it would interact with my impaired mobility. I have a form of rheumatism that means I mostly walk using a cane and mustn’t put too much pressure on my joints. How can I find out more about which ties feel good and which don’t without risking hurting myself?


Yours stiffly,
Newly Diagnosed


Dear Newly,

It’s funny you should ask, ND, because as it happens I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis myself. I was diagnosed with a juvenile form which, as it’s an autoimmune condition, went into remission when I was in my early twenties and hasn’t returned - but between the ages of about 16 and about 23, I too periodically walked with a cane. I was embarking upon my journey into BDSM at that time, so I do in fact have some direct experience of playing with bondage when rheumatism and joint pain are big concerns!


The most useful thing I learned back then was not to be afraid to experiment - and not to be afraid to speak up. If you want to try something, try it; if you realise it’s becoming difficult or uncomfortable in a way you aren’t enjoying, use your safeword liberally and often so that your dominant partner can untie you and make sure you’re okay. If you’re anything like me, you can tell the difference between ‘this bondage position would make anyone ache a bit, but it’s fine’ and ‘that was an arthritic twinge that will get worse unless I move and take the pressure off right away’ - so use that to your advantage and take some time to figure out what works for you.


Of course, I also have a few bits of more specific advice to add to that general principle:


  • There are plenty of ties than can be done while you’re standing up, sitting in a chair or lying flat on your back. Keep a special eye out for those as you do your research - they’re by far the most reliable.


  • Anything that requires you to kneel needs careful consideration, because for most sufferers the knees are the worst part. Never kneel on a hard surface - always put down a cushion or kneel on the bed. Be mindful of the pressure on your hips and ankles as well as the joints in your knees. Make it clear to the people you’re playing with that this isn’t a position you can or should maintain for long.


  • Hogties are likely to be remarkably difficult for you, even modified ones. They put pressure on the knee and elbow joints in a whole new way. I used to find these even harder than anything involving kneeling! If you’d like to try one anyway, make that clear to your partner and go very slowly and gently.


  • If your doctor has recommended any particular movements or stretches to help maintain and develop your flexibility, do them before and after a bondage scene. It really does seem to help.


Whatever you do, the most important thing of all is to listen to your body. If it’s a bad kind of pain, speak up right away - it’s not worth the consequences!

Wishing you luck,
Abi x



Do you have experience with BDSM and disabilities? Got suggestions or specific questions for Abi? We wanna hear from you! Leave a comment below and Dear Abi will answer you!


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