BDSM For Those Who Are Disabled

Author: Raven Shadowborne © 1998


  Disabilities can affect everyone no matter the age, race, creed, sex, or religion. They vary from only a slight impact upon one's life, to a lifestyle altering state. There are many different kinds of disabilities, from dyslexia to paralyzation, to learning disabilities and each one affects a person and their relationships differently. For me, I have a physical disability with my lower back. I present the following information to show that even those with disabilities can enjoy the lifestyle with a little creativity, communication and some effort.  

   My physical disability is rather complicated. It is a combination of three different things wrong, in one rather small area of the lower lumbar portion of my back. These three conditions are as follows. Permanent nerve damage to the sciatic nerve root at L4-5. A degenerated disk at L4-5, and sacroiliac joint dysfuntion on both sides of my sacrum. The joint had undergone a fusion in 1997, which as of the date I am writing this, the fusion is broken and may need to be redone. 

   These problems combined, create some rather difficult phsyical situations that must be dealt with carefully. My back can give me pain without warning, my legs can give out beneath me without warning, and some activities can not be done without some excess risk to my health.  

   When this problem first started becoming a major factor in my life, I thought i would have to forgo my BDSM activities. This saddened me to no end because I enjoy BDSM and did not want to give up such a piece of myself. So I started thinking, looking at the things I enjoy doing, the ways I was taught to do them, and tried to find ways to improve these activities so they would be safer for me and I could still enjoy them. 

   First, I am always allowed a safeword. With the nature of these conditions, I must be able to stop a scene (even a punishment) if needed. This requirement of course, means my partner must trust me that I will not abuse the safeword and I must not use the safeword when I do not need to. This presents a problem for many people, but with my phsyical health being what it is, this is an absolute neccesity for me. In the case of a scene where I am gagged, an alternate safe action must be given to me if it has not already been negotiated. 

   Problems with the lower back and the nerves there can radiate to the limbs. Numbness, tingling, shooting pains, muscle spasms and more can all affect the arms and legs of someone with nerve damage, depending on where the damage is. For me, this affects my lower limbs and back. Because of this so many activities are affected that I did consider leaving BDSM for a time. But I learned a few ways to overcome these obstacles. Below is a list of the activities and the changes made so that I may still enjoy them. 

   Kneeling: Instead of kneeling up, I am allowed to rest my buttocks on my ankles or heels..or if neccessary, sit on the floor rather than kneel. A pillow is allowed for me to kneel upon if it is to be for an extended period of time. In lieu of kneeling, in some situations, sitting Indian style is allowed. 

   Bondage: any standing bondage must leave my feet flat on the floor, and not stretch my arms too far over my head. (this prevents muscle spasm from over stretching the muscles in my back) If more height for my body is required, then a small sturdy step stool is used for me to stand on. 

   laying down: on my stomach..pillows must be placed beneath my hips and belly to keep my back straight. 

   Positions: hands and knees, provided I keep my back from arching. Bent over positions can not be done very often, nor for long periods of time. Any position that bends me over something, must be done where I can bend from the hip/thigh joint and not the waist. This keeps the back striaght and prevents nerve impingement. 

   OTK spankings are done with me on a bed or couch, which provides support for my legs and upper body, preventing me from bending at the waist. 

   Other items are used for pain play besides those which strike the body. As well, being more creative with where one hits can also provide the pain/pleasure mix without further injury to my back. 

   I make it a point to always inform my partner before a session what condition my back is in. This goes a long way towards preventing accidental injury or real pain.  

   As you can see, many things can be altered to allow one with disabilities to still enjoy most of the acitivities they did before they were disabled. Or even, to try out new ones they've always wanted to. 

   Communcation, imagination, creativity and effort will bring great results. Remember, play safe and have fun!

June 23, 2005:

Today while surfing the net I came accross a site that is devoted to people with disabilities who also engage in BDSM. I checked the site over. Mostly it is posting boards where people can post about many different topics, including an area where one can vent their feelings and pain in a supportive environment. Some of the sections of the posting board include essays and articles about BDSM. I think it is a wonderful thing to have a web site devoted solely to bdsm for those with disabilities and have joined the site myself. Registration is free, at least as of today's date. So if you'd like to check it out here is the URL: and it is run by ShadeDiva. I hope you find this site of value to you!

Raven Shadowborne



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