Awkward conversations: talk about masturbating with chronic pain

by Miriam Swallow Adler

For article on 'talking and masturbation, disabled masturbating, and Ehlers-Danlos sex'. A shot of four fingers seen from finger tips to the middle finger joints (nails are not seen as the hand is facing the other direction). Each finger has a face and arm drawn in pen. Two fingers (middle and ring) are angry and arguing with each other while pinky and index finger look on absolutely shocked.
Caption:

Needless to say, disabled masturbating with chronic pain and a heightened sex drive isn't the best combination.

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©Victoria М / Adobe Stock

This is a story about a good friend of mine. No, not a sex toy. An actual human person.

We both have EDS type III (Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome) and deal with lots of chronic pain. It’s not pretty, but we manage. Ehlers-Danlos sex was never without risk, especially if it caused dislocations or broken bones!

One day, we were having a chat and ended up talking about our meds and their various side effects. I had all but lost my sex drive since starting on my antidepressants, and my new painkillers were the nail in the proverbial coffin.

No big deal. My housemates were probably relieved that they didn’t have to put up with the noise anymore. I’M KIDDING! When I did have sex, it was usually ‘meh.

I knew she had gone through something similar with her meds. Losing your sex drive is an especially annoying side-effect since doctors don’t seem to care about it. The most attention I’ve received from a medical professional is a shrug, which is funny since that’s my go-to reaction to any sexual advance.

My friend had a slightly different problem. She hadn’t had a girlfriend in a while and was pretty okay with that. She didn’t have much sex drive, and wasn’t interested in casual sex or masturbating.

Until one day that all changed. Switching your meds is always a gamble, but sometimes…unpredictable things happen. So she changed her antidepressants and all of a sudden she was horny. Very horny. Sex and The City horny. Hump a pillow, ask Santa for an electric toothbrush, take up horseriding horny. She was also disabled, and totally broke.

So she did things the old-fashioned way. ‘What’s so special about that?’ you might ask. Well, EDS (type III) is a connective tissue disorder that often results in easy dislocations and subluxations, bruising, widespread pain and chronic fatigue. Needless to say, not great in combination with furiously rubbing one out.

“I think I might have broken my hand. Can't type. Call me.”

Talking and masturbation, disabled masturbating, and Ehlers-Danlos sex

‘I think I might have broken my hand. Can’t type. Call me.’

I felt so sorry for her, but I was also secretly laughing on the inside. And on the outside. And I was feeling very bad about it, but sometimes all you can do is find the funny in these situations. She had hurt her wrist (badly) and dislocated the joints in a couple of her fingers. She couldn’t type, she could hardly move her arm and she was struggling to hold a cup of tea.

I felt for her but you have to admit — it was a hilarious situation. And the worst thing? She was still horny as hell.

Right, I said, don’t worry. I’ve got a spare vibrator around here somewhere, I’ll wipe it off and it’s yours. Sharing is caring, right? So I sterilized this vibrator (don’t worry, I did more than just wipe it off) and got some supplies together.

Five assorted herbal teabags, three scented candles, a cute notebook, a crystal, a piece of vegan fudge and a bright pink vibrator. Batteries included, of course — what kind of friend would I be if I made her go out to get batteries?! No, I am not that cruel. I am the kind of friend who sends her friend a vibrator first-class through her Majesty’s Post Office because I care.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. It’s a phrase I had heard many times over. And yet, until this incident I had never known its true meaning. Friendship is about turning up! And sometimes, just sometimes, it involves sex toys, the royal mail and a parcel going bzz…bzz…bzz


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Miriam Swallow Adler - Bio Photo
Article by Miriam Swallow Adler

Miriam Swallow Adler is a tired young person who writes, sings, and illustrates things while moonlighting as an Oxford University student.

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