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An interview on Rabble podcast about the sexuality and disability project I’m working on, ACSEXE+. Take a listen if you’re inclined!

ACSEXE+: Talking disability and sexuality in Montreal

acsexe:

Big, polka-dot, exciting Consent!

The Sexy Check-list.

What do you like? What are you not interested in doing? What helps you feel most comfortable when being intimate with someone? What are the ways that a partner interacts with you or talks about your body that makes you comfortable, or could make you feel uncomfortable? What are some ways you can be sure to respect your own and your partner’s boundaries?

You may have seen our last post all about the Sex-Talk. Check it out here if you haven’t.

So now you’re communicating with your partner(s) and you’re wondering where to go from there…

Let us start off by saying, lists can be sexy.

/ACSEXE+//ACSEXE+//ACSEXE+//ACSEXE+//ACSEXE+//ACSEXE+/

Before getting to the bedroom, couch, pool, car or wherever you do what it is you do, you could hash-out some of the details of what you’re into and comfortable with and find out what your partner(s) like. That means you’ll have a better idea how to please your partner and respect everyone’s boundaries. If you know what your lover likes and they know what you’re into, the sex is exponentially better. That’s a fact. 

Aside from simply having a conversation about our likes and dislikes, try using a sexy check-list. It can go more in-depth and can be a less stressful type of communicating when it comes to intimate topics!

Respecting each other’s boundaries is obviously hot and 100% necessary.

Check out this tool that helps us respect our and our partners’ boundaries… the sexy checklist!

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This chart is available for download here. Click here to see the Sexy Check-list!

Ok, there are two elements to a sexy check-list:

1. Possible sexual acts

2. Potential responses to possible sexual acts

This is what we mean by…

1. Possible sexual acts: things that you could do with a partner(s). It’s the proverbial smorgasboard of sexual acts. This list, adapted from the website Scarleteen, is a starting point.

-A partner touching me affectionately without asking first

-A partner touching me affectionately in public

-Having a partner’s shirt/top off

-Kissing

-Having my pants/bottoms off with a partner

-Being completely naked with a partner. Lights on/ off/ low

-Someone else putting a condom or glove on me

-Using lubricant with a partner

-Doing things which might cause a partner momentary or minor discomfort or pain

-Doing things which might cause me sustained or major discomfort or pain

-Ejaculating, with or in front of a partner

-Holding hands

-Tickling

-Manual sex (hands or fingers on penis or strap-on), receiving

-General massage, receiving

-Oral sex (to anus), doing to someone else

-Scratching

-A partner wearing something that covers their eyes

-Phone sex

-Cybersexe (chat)

-Viewing pornography, with a partner

-Snuggling

-Talking during sex

-Talking after sex

-And many others…

2. Possible responses: We can have a multitude of responses when discussing our boundaries. Here are 4 possible responses and their descriptions.

1. Yes = I like doing this and am usually open to it given the right circumstances

2. No = I’m not down now and for the future. Just not my thing.

3. Not sure = Not until I explicitly say yes. (Maybe I’ve never heard of it. Maybe I don’t know how I would do that. Maybe I’m not ready to do that with you… Or simply, I don’t know, so let’s not do it unless I’m sure.)

4. I’d be willing to try, if the right conditions were in place, such as_____

a. if I had my adaptive gear

b. if we had chemistry

c. if I was feeling well

d. if my pain levels weren’t too high

e. if I felt comfortable

f. if the side effects from medication weren’t bothering me

g. if I’ve showered before hand

h. if I’m not in a depression or psychosis – if I am please don’t suggest it

i. if I feel safe with you

j. if we’ve taken these steps first____,____,_____

k. think of the conditions that might suit you…

We’ve made you a chart, dear reader. Check it out here!

We can use many different types of codes or symbols to respond to the above questions, and pass far beyond this list to many other acts and questions. It is great to go through sexy lists like these with your lover(s) ideally before you’re overtaken by excitement!

Spend some time making your own list. It could be on paper, in a private doc on the computer or even in your head as you lie down before sleeping. Really ask yourself – what kinds of things do I like, what am I curious to try, and what is a solid no?

If you’re in a relationship,

You could make your own list, your partner(s) could make their own list and then you could come together again over coffee or tea or smoothies and go through them together. <3<3 It helps you to better know yourself and to better please your partner(s)

Lists like this are not finish lines but starting points: for evaluating
your own sexuality and/or for deeper conversations with someone else.

Fact: the more you communicate and share about sex beforehand, the better it will be!!

See? Lists can be sexy.

acsexe:

Ok, let’s face it: it can be awkward communicating about sex.

Sometimes we’re in the heat of the moment and we want to say something, and the words don’t come. Or we’re not in the mood and don’t or can’t explain why. It could be said that sex is a topic to be discussed in the bedroom. However, that’s not the whole picture. Sex is all around us: on TV, in magazines, in music, in porn and other media. But we’re not the ones defining the terms.

With representations of sex all around us, where are the real people in all of this?

Representations of sexualities and bodies are everywhere but there are so many taboos around our real, messy sexual experiences. Not everyone fits those representations, in fact, hardly anyone does.

Talking about sex helps us define what we want, what we don’t want and what we’re not sure about, instead of relying on pre-existing ideas that are prevalent in our society. For example, that sex is between a man and woman, there’s no build-up, there’s penetration, everyone knows what to do, and there’s a mutual orgasm and then its over.  What about oral, the use of toys, giving pleasure with our hands, pleasurable sensations on other parts of our bodies?

We believe sex should be discussed everywhere!

Given the ac-sex-ability considerations that some of us might have such as assistive gear, varying levels of privacy depending on our living situations, communication tools, cathedars, fluctuating pain levels, side-effects from medication, mood swings, and many others, it makes sense to discuss our desires and needs before we hit the bedroom. We can be leaders in pre-sex communication! It can take some of the pressure off and sensitize both or all people involved to the needs each person has. A little ‘heads-up after sex I don’t talk because I’m overwhelmed and that’s ok’ goes a long way to mutual understanding. Likewise, a discussion of sexual positions that are comfortable and pleasurable prior to simply trying them bedtime rolls around can do a lot for our sex lives.

Try communicating about sex, safer sex methods, bowel and bladder routines, desires, fantasies, fears outside of the naked bed sexy time! (P142, The Guide)

To be clear, when we refer to communication, we mean in anyway that you communicate, in all it’s diverse forms: written, drawn, verbally, through body language, with assistive technologies, through symbols, in what ever ways work for you.

It may not cross your mind to share your desires or ask what your partner(s) likes before you hit the bedroom, but it may not be the most calm, fruitful discussion as you’re undressing either. By then your hormones are already racing and you’re not as patient and levelheaded as you might be at a less charged moment.

Has anyone ever told you not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry?

You end up buying things you don’t want, things that are way over your budget, or instantly gratifying snacks that end up making you feel bad. (No junk food judgement intended. We love chips;) The same goes for sex: if we save communicating about it until we’re really hungry for it, we might not respect all our boundaries, or do things we otherwise not want to do.

What if you were to discuss sexual positions, over coffee for example, or talk about some of your fantasies while snuggling on the couch? Anyone for a discussion of condoms and diaphragms over trail mix on the couch on a Sunday afternoon?

Whatever it is you need to talk about such as protection methods, your personal desires and needs in the bedroom, or navigating personal care schedules, discuss it when you’re feeling calm and comfortable; in those intimate but not overly vulnerable moments. So that you can be close with your partner or crush but not feel completely exposed.

Think of it this way: Ice cream.

Say you really wanted it double chocolate chunky flavoured. Your friend offers to treat you to a cup but you’re too shy to tell them exactly what kind you want. They bring back vanilla. Vanilla tastes good anyway, and sure, you’ll eat it, but… you didn’t get exactly what you wanted.

If the person you’re going to get down with knows how to make you feel good (aka knows your fave ice cream flaver) and enters the bedroom with that knowledge, things will only be that much better!

If looking for a few tips to starting that sex-talk, here are a few suggestions:

1. Beforehand, think of some of the main points you would like to share and imagine yourself expressing them in the way that you communicate. You could jot down a few notes for yourself or practice what you’d like to say in private. Whatever you do to organize your thoughts. Imagine the conversation going well!

2. If you’re wondering how to start the conversation, you could mention you read a blog post on ACSEXE+ blog about sex-talks, and go from there…

3. During the conversation(s) you could mention how you feel about it as it’s happening. It’s cute and endearing to let the other person/s know if you’re ‘feeling awkward’ or ‘have never talked about this stuff outside of friend circles’ or are ‘nervous because I really like you’. Personally, those kinds of statements put me us at the ACSEXE+ headquarters at ease when someone says them because chances are I’m feeling nervous and awkward too! Saying how you feel allows for a few chuckles and lifts some of the pressure. Don’t worry, you’re cute!

No pressure:)

These are examples of how things could go, its not a recipe that works for everyone. Ask yourself what are the ways you’d like to talk about sex, what are the most comfortable places? Try it out, don’t expect things to be perfect. Practice with your friends or cat – the more experience you have talking about sex the easier it’ll go.

Take this couple for example:

[See video above or click here]

One of them has paralysis in his legs. They are a heterosexual couple, and these positions could also be used with a strap-on dildo. They try sexual positions together in their clothes to find out what will work for them, and what will be fun, before the naked fun begins! This too, can be more fun than you think, and can bring you closer together as you work toward the same objective. Yay teamwork ❤

The video is in English but for those of you who don’t understand English, the images are useful on their own. Sorry there are no sub titles or closed captioning. It would be great to access videos like this in French. If you know of any, please post below!

This video is an example of two people who are committed to finding ways to pleasure each other comfortably. I love that they experiment together with their clothes on in a low pressure environment, to get an idea what will work before they’re in the heat of the moment. That way if it’s awkward or someone falls or it takes multiple attempts to get to a good spot they can laugh about it and be prepared when the hot, naked version rolls around.

Remember lovers, if things don’t go well its ok! It takes practice to communicate about sex and we learn as we go. Let us know how things go!

<3<3

UWC updates! Readings, bookfairs, film launches, oh my!

Well, between getting by, eating food, singing in my undies, lying down and writing, sitting up and writing, swimming, and hanging out with the people I love, I’ve found myself involved in some exciting events that I would love to share with you. In order:

May 23, Montreal’s Anarchist Bookfair. I’ll be tabling all day. Some by, say hi, get your hands on a copy of the Underwater City Zine I.. got a fresh batch coming out of the oven, they’re professionally bound and everything! Also, will have a few hand made puzzles up for grabs:)

May 29, ACSEXE+ Film series launch and cocktail. 5 à 7, Maison du développement durable (50 Sainte Catherine west). This fabulous event will be the culmination of a lot of the work I’ve been doing lately. Three short videos featuring three people talking about sex-positivity and sharing tips for the crip community will be screened and a short discussion will follow. Then snacks, smoozing and social time. Yes yes yes! **L’evènement sera en français. Event will be in French, whisper translation into English will be available. Films sous-titré. Films closed-captioned in French at screening – will be posted online with closed captioning in French and English. Interpretation LSQ sera en place:)

June 10, Underwater City Launch, Edmonton! I’m excited about this, I’m going to do a reading and feature some local music at Cha Island Tea Shop, from 7 pm onward. Edmonton, let’s do adult story-time, I’d love to see you there!

September…. surprise Halifax zine launch and reading. Location and details to follow!!

Share your experiences of dating and ableism on ACSEXE+

I just finished an amazing conversation with a good friend about ableism in dating, and the subtle ways that family expectation and judgement can infiltrate our intimate relationships. Our conversation will be posted on http://acsexe.tumblr.com/ in the next week or two! I’ve invited other people to share their experiences and thoughts on ableism and dating for the ACSEXE+ blog…

Want to contribute?

Message me or post below anything from a word that comes to mind, to an experience you had on a date, or reflections on ableism in and around relationships. Looking forward to compiling!

ACSEXE+ is a blog and video series all about sexuality and disability/ access. My main goal with this project is to share the perspectives and experiences of people in Quebec and elsewhere, in a bilingual form, to share our experiences and talk about sex and disability in a sex-positive way:) Cause sex is amazing, and disability can add layers of awesomeness to the equation! New ways of doing things, relating, communicating… I am collaborating with a feminist organization here in Montreal called the FQPN and the Accessibilize Montreal crew! Get in touch!

❤ Aimee

alouw@fqpn.qc.ca