Disabled people are often represented as sexless in a media preoccupied with ultra-conventional notions of beauty. Ignorance of their situation and fear of their ‘difference’ has left impaired people absent from discussions around desire and suppressed. To make matters worse, living with a impairment often means people are seen in terms of their disability, rather than their individuality or sexuality. However, unlike in the vanilla world, there is a thriving disabled bondage community where diverse sexualities are nurtured. Naturally, it’s a myth that having a disability precludes sex or desire - something campaigners have been quietly preaching for years. This is underline by the numerous differently-abled people actively enjoying the kinky lifestyle, then sharing experiences on bondage dating forums and many other fetish sites.

viktoria modesta - disability and desire bdsm sceneBeing part of the BDSM community makes us tolerant to difference, we’d hate to consider ourselves ‘normal’ so why would we judge others? This is underlined in Tuppy Owens book, Supporting Disabled People with their Sexual Lives, a guide for professionals working with disabled people. During her research, Owen’s found that ‘Fetish clubs are more welcoming to disabled guests than most night clubs, and I feel sure this is because most disabled people and fetishists feel stigmatized.’ So disability, along with every other alternative beauty, is celebrated on the bondage scene, but until recently there was no champion to deliver that message to the mainstream.

Viktoria Modesta: Disability and Desire on the BDSM Scene


Viktoria Modesta burst into popular culture in late 2014 as a result of Channel 4’s hugely successful Paralympics Games coverage. Producers were searching for a new way to explore disability, from a non-sporting perspective and in a blaze of BDSM infused glory she emerged. Her single ‘Prototype’ was bursting with innuendo, allusion to ‘difference’ and the bondage lifestyle. She sings: ‘Your insults, they just give me ammunition/I got a full clip and a hot whip/Are you ready coz we going on a guilt trip ahh.’ And the video, complete with a steel stiletto prosthetic leg, patent leather fetish corsets and edgy bondage imagery is a blast.

She had been working as a model for alternative lifestyle magazines like Skin Two and the now-closed Bizarre since turning 15, something that Viktoria Modesta initially thought would alienate a straight audience. Then she voluntarily had her lower leg removed as a twenty year old, though it had been planned years before. She’d suffered damage during her birth at the hands of a doctor which led to a lifetime of hospital visits, choosing to have her leg removed had an immediate impact. “I upgraded my opportunities, my comfort, my body. It was really empowering...” Viktoria Modesta later explained. However, she doesn’t see herself as a role model for the disabled community. She’d rather encourage people in a similar situation to take: “charge of your own assets. If you don’t fit in, then don’t fit in.”

Whilst the S&M scene is welcoming, not everything is perfect. Rejection is not a problem, but some kinksters are more interested in the amputation or impairment, than the person inside. It can go as far as disabled people being asked for pictures at parties or sometimes even having shots taken without their permission, just to boost a devotee’s collection. Devoteeism divides the disabled bondage community into those who are turned on by being fetishised and those who are made distinctly uncomfortable by it. It depends on whether you feel like an object of desire, or simply an object. Disability fetishism, is seen by many on the scene as another form of suppression – devotees have no interest in a disabled persons sexuality or desire, it’s all about self gratification.

Most of us prefer to be seen as a sexual being in our own right and for the disabled bondage community, it’s no different. The same negotiations and communication take place, but some scenes need more planning and preparation. Lovers with impairments may have to factor in times of day when pain relief is needed, or use pillows to make each other feel comfortable. A disability might count out certain activities, but it definitely doesn’t mean no S&M sex at all, if you’re in any doubt, Google it. On the forums of bondage sites like Fetlife, kink-related discussions are graphic, honest and fun, suggesting plenty of ways to negotiate around or even utilise a disability, to achieve a pleasurable outcome.
Images by foxgrri and rich115 and Jkiste2008 über Flickr

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