This blog entry was motivated by a news story that reports on the situation of people who cannot masturbate due to some physical problem, and how they are being given aids to help them masturbate.
Those anecdotal stories corroborate the claims of Happeh Theory that state “masturbation will cause many different health problems and physical changes to the body”.
The individual referred to in the story did not develop a health problem that prevented her from masturbating without pain. She masturbated until she caused the health problem she is suffering from. The pain she feels is her body’s repair and self defense mechanism going into effect. Her body is trying to prevent further masturbation caused damage to itself by making it painful to masturbate.
The woman does not need an aid to masturbate. She needs to stop masturbating and engage in physical therapy to rehabilitate the masturbation caused health problems that give her pain.
The original news article is reprinted below.
I have tendonitis in both arms, a chronic condition that causes me quite a bit of pain if I’m not careful. I use various devices to help me work around it, including a wireless curved keyboard and an ergonomic mouse that I can use with either hand. If I have a bad flare-up, I stay off the keys for a day or two and hire my sister to type for me.
And I never masturbate by hand anymore.
Sex Drive columnist Regina Lynn
I can’t. It only takes about 30 seconds for the pain to shoot from my fingers to my elbow and sometimes to my shoulder. And while sex with my boyfriend is wonderful, sometimes a girl just wants to be alone, you know?
It makes me wonder what I would do if I lived in Alabama, one of the few remaining states whose obscenity law makes it illegal to “produce, distribute or otherwise sell sexual devices that are marketed primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.”
Sherri Williams, owner of upscale sexuality boutiques Pleasures I and Pleasures II and plaintiff in Williams v. Alabama, has been fighting the law since its inception in 1998. (The Supreme Court rejected her most recent appeal.)
However, even this law recognizes that sex toys are not inherently criminal. It exempts sexual devices used “for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose.” It just isn’t clear on what qualifies as “bona fide” — or who makes that decision.
“The reason they put that (exemption) in the law was so they didn’t violate the rights of people who needed (these devices),” she says. “But the witnesses in our case are stating in their depositions that they physically need sexual aids,” and it’s not making any difference.
Williams says she cannot orgasm without help from a vibrator. Another plaintiff testifies that sexual intercourse is painful for her. Two other plaintiffs state that marital aids saved their marriages, while another — a 50-year-old woman — uses sex toys so she is not at risk for STDs.
Very few sexual aids have been recognized by the FDA as medical devices. One is the Eros Therapy, a suction cup that is placed on the clitoris. Another is the Ferticare, a sleeve-style vibrator designed for men with spinal cord injuries.
Both are available by prescription, and may be covered by insurance. The problem is that even if this particular type of sex aid works for you — and I can tell you right now that a suction cup doesn’t do anything for me — not everyone can use them easily.
The Ferticare has to be held in place during use, while the Eros Therapy requires fine motor skills to apply. It seems an awfully limited selection for the estimated 807,000 Alabamans who have a disability.
Cory Silverberg, a sex educator and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, says that unfortunately, “sex is not considered an activity of daily living” when it comes to attendant care for people with disabilities.
“It is illegal for a caregiver to refuse to cook a meal,” he says, or to perform other intimate services such as help with toileting and bathing. “Yet (an attendant) can refuse to put a condom on someone who wants to have sex with his partner.”
Silverberg co-owns Come As You Are, a sex store in Toronto that caters to people with disabilities as well as to the non-disabled. In the course of his work, he fields a lot of questions about how technology can help someone overcome physical and emotional obstacles to sex.
“The trick is to match the tech to the need,” he says. It’s better to adapt the toy to the person than force the person to adapt to the toy.
Replacing a dial on a vibrator with a pressure switch or a slider bar makes it more accessible to folks who lack fine motor control. You can glue a stick onto a slider to help extend a person’s reach. For those who experience tremors or seizures, a butterfly vibrator — the kind held onto the body with straps — eliminates the need to hold the device in place.
A bullet vibrator on a long wand helps people who cannot reach their genitals. One woman who experiences hypersensitivity as a side effect of her medication uses a sleeve vibrator on her forearm.
Mechanics aren’t the only issue. “Part of what we end up doing is increasing someone’s privacy,” Silverberg says. This is especially important for people living in group homes or who have round-the-clock attendant care. “With the right toy, someone can put it on you and leave the room, and then come back later to take it away for cleaning.”
Dr. Mitch Tepper, founder of SexualHealth.com, has long been an advocate of sexual rights for people with disabilities. Now he’s spearheading a project to develop an interactive sexual health resource for people with mobility impairments like spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
The project, currently titled “Sexual Health Profiler for Disabled Individuals,” received almost $100,000 in a Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health and will launch toward the end of the year.
“People can come to a website to access the tool, enter personal information about their general health, their disability or condition if they have one, and their sexual health,” he says. “They also indicate the areas they want more information on, such as lubrication, orgasm, finding a partner, erections. As they go through the tool, the appropriate questions are delivered to them based on these branches. They get pertinent education and resources along the way, and a summary report at the end.”
Tepper has written extensively about how the internet helps people with disabilities gain access to sexual information, particularly in facilitating connections between health-care consumers and providers, and among people who would otherwise be sexually isolated.
He has high hopes for how the sexual-health profiler will affect the future for millions of people living with disability, including non-disabled partners and loved ones.
“It will be an incredible database of sexual information about groups of people with various disabilities,” he says. “The current literature, especially in areas like polio or cerebral palsy or stroke, is very sparse. As the tool is used, we’ll be collecting compelling information that will help us make arguments for inclusion of sexual health with the overall treatment of people with disabilities.”
The Alabama law does not prohibit possession or use of a sexual aid in the privacy of your own sex life. No, it merely forces you to drive across the border to buy the dang thing.
Let’s hope the adult stores in neighboring states are ADA-compliant.
See you next Friday,