Accessibility & Masturbation
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Pleasure and masturbation has long been left out of the conversation for folx with chronic illness, pain disorders, and/or a disability.  

I align my work with what adrienne maree brown has coined “Pleasure Activism”. Pleasure is a manifestation of liberation and freedom that all should have to access and right to. Brown recognizes our inherent right to pleasure and posits that “our social structures must reflect this” in the prioritization of those affected by oppression and marginalization.

Masturbation, while it can be empowering, soothing, and exciting, can also be quite difficult for individuals with mobility difficulties and other physical challenges. 

With chronic pain affecting around 20% of the US adult population (that’s 50 million Americans), and a population of Americans with disabilities as large as the population of California, this is a PREVALENT issue. Not to mention, sexual pain related disorders affect 12-15% of US adults! 

In good news, more and more companies are starting to recognize the importance of accessibility, and overall comfort and ease of use. In addition, the positive benefits of the internet (connection!) have offered us ways to connect with professionals who specialize in pleasure, sex and masturbation for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. 

Check out this brief, convenient product & services roundup and please leave recommendations in the comments and I will share! 

  1. @Ohnutco - the Oh Nut is a stackable silicone “buffers” for control over level of penile or dildo insertion, vaginally or anally)

  2. @dameproducts - the Pillo (large comfortable wedge designed to assist with accessibility and comfort) for & the Fin vibrator are both great for mobility and pain issues!

  3. @unboundbabes - the Bender is a handy vibrator that is quite long and powerful and bends conveniently allowing for various grips and positions, good for reach difficulties | They also sell a wonderful bondage tape which is extremely useful in strapping down sex toys, wheelchairs, etc and to allowing for more stable, hands-free enjoyment (without leaving a sticky residue)

  4. @SportsSheets offers a range of styles of swings and other assistive mobility products at a reasonable price range. 

  5. @CrippingUpSex Offers such a wealth of information for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities on sex and masturbation via Webinar classes and private consultations!

  6. For people with penises, the Pulse III Solo is an option that is @andrewgurza approved

  7. Wands are also often considered to be a more accessible option because of the size, most range from 1 ft to 1.5 ft long and are meant to stimulate the clit.

{Image Description: Across a gradient blue and pink background, underneath a pattern of diagonal lines reads “all bodies have not only a right to sexual pleasure, but they deserve equitable & accessible means to that right - @JamieJLeClaire” in white bold uppercase lettering, with a white border on the bottom}

Jamie J. LeClaire
Lube it up, babes!
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Regardless of what parts you (or your partner) are working with, sex tends to involve a lot of FRICTION BABY, making body parts naturally susceptible to dryness over time!!

Lube is great for any sexually active adults of any gender identity, and should be an essential part of your healthy sex toolkit! But hold up! You’ve got to know the when’s and why’s of the various types of lube on the market. Scroll through for a handy, elementary breakdown of the most popular and current types of lube! Silicone-based, water-based, aloe-based and oil-based!

I’ve gone ahead and done a brief roundup of some of my favorite natural, organic, hypoallergenic, vegan, and/or cruelty free lubricant products below!!

If you wanna get to know your way around the lube aisle even further, check out http://dangerouslilly.com/lube-guide/ to make sure you know all the ins and outs of lube purchasing and use!

Water-Based Lubricants

Sustain Natural – Organic Lubricant ($13)
* Water-based
* Glycerin free, paraben free!
* Fragrance-free!

Unbound Babes – Unbound Jelly ($16)
* Water-based
* Glycerin free, paraben free!
* 100% vegan

Sliquid – H2O Naturals (from $8)
* Water-based
* 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free
* Glycerin and paraben free
* Hypoallergenic

Silicone-based Lubricants

ÜberLube ($18)
* Silicone-based
* 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free
* Glycerin, paraben, gluten, and fragrance-free!

Maude – Silicone Shine ($25)
* Silicon-based
* Works under water, with condoms, and is hypoallergenic!
* Pareben-free!
* NOT for use with silicone toys

Aloe Lubricants 

GoodCleanLove – Almost Naked ($12)
* Aloe-based, organic
* Glycerin and paraben free!
* Latex and toy-friendly!

Maude – Organic Shine ($25)
Aloe-based, organic
* Glycerin and paraben free!
* Latex and toy-friendly

Lola – Personal Lubricant ($14)
* Aloe-based, organic
* Hypoallergenic & Fragrance-free
* Glycerin and paraben free!

Specialty Lubricants! 

Foria – Awaken | CBD-Infused! ($45)
* Oil-based, 100% plant ingredients
* Safe for silicone toys
* Not for use with condoms

(no other oil based reccomendations, they are outdated, and have higher risk of irritability and infection)

Jamie J. LeClaire
“Diet and wellness (cult)ure are tools of oppression that cause physical and emotional trauma and marginalizes and discriminates against larger bodies"
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“Diet and wellness “cult”ure are tools of oppression that cause physical and emotional trauma and marginalizes and discriminates against larger bodies”

As esteemed anti-diet dietitian and intuitive eating counselor, Dr. Christy Harrison defines it so well, diet culture is a system of beliefs that:

1) worship thinness/fitness; equating it with morality and worth
2) promotes weight-loss and purposefully keeps the public in the dark and uninformed about the harmful and detrimental long term effects that intentional weight loss has on overall holistic health and well-being
3) emblematizing specific foods choices or eating behaviors, while demonizing others, equating certain foods or behaviors as “indulgent” and others as “safe”, especially dependent  on the size body in which the subject inhabits, and
4) results in the oppression, exclusion, mistreatment and violence of people in larger bodies

Here below, are some everyday examples of commonplace complicities in diet culture that show up often throughout our daily lives. These instances instances offer us a chance to (pardon me) SPEAK THE FUCK UP and inflect the conversation (or self reflect) with knowledge on the harm that it causes and the fatphobia it perpetuates.

  1. Considering and commenting on foods, ingredients, food groups, as “good”, “clean” versus “bad” “dirty”, having “guilty pleasure” foods,

  2. “We walked for so long today, we can indulge a bit!”

  3. “I went overboard during the holidays, so I’m going to pass on that slice of cake.”

  4. Workplaces, organizations, etc only offering “healthy choices”, “guilt-free” foods, and attempts to monitor employee diet and exercise (<- seriously fucking gross)

  5. Openly pointing out and discussing calorie counts of foods, unprompted

  6. Publicly discussing personal diet/weight loss pursuits

  7. Commenting on people’s size/”slimness”/perceived weight-loss “OMG look at you! You’re so tiny!”, “That dress looks so slimming on you!”

  8. Glorifying people for their “healthy choices”, commitment to a “healthy lifestyle”

  9. Striving to get one’s “body back” post-pregnancy

  10. As a thin/straight size person… complaining about your personal body size/shape dissatisfaction, also claiming to “feel fat”, or appropriating “fat” as a behavior (ie “I was so fat this weekend, I watched the Super Bowl and I ate so much bean dip”)

What these daily happenstances very blatantly communicate, is that “fat is bad”, that we should be actively trying to avoid it, and that expensive and exhaustive attempts to do so should be congratulated and celebrated. When diet culture comes under scrutiny, capitalism, with its sneaky opportunism, repackages it as “wellness culture”, slaps a bow on it, and attempts to convince us that it’s all about #self-care, as Harrison notes. You can read way more about this from her articles here:
https://christyharrison.com/blog/what-is-diet-culture
https://christyharrison.com/blog/the-wellness-diet

If you are a straight-size/thin person who claims co-conspirator/allyship, you MUST COMMIT to challenging the language and behaviors around us that fuel diet culture, and to helping others understand the inherent fatphobia of these narratives and the discomfort, harm, and trauma that they cause.


Alright, resources time!!

  1. @yrfatfriend on instagram has a poignant call to action for thin/straight size allies on their Instagram story highlights tab labeled “FAQs”

  2. This here article has wonderful insights from some of my favorite promiment fat activists: https://mic.com/articles/185380/5-fat-activists-sound-off-on-how-thin-people-can-become-real-allies#.ORWXf7Jie

  3. A very thoughtful and inciting blog post by DancesWithFat on thin/straight size allyship https://danceswithfat.org/2013/09/03/how-to-be-a-fat-activism-ally/

Jamie J. LeClaire
“you cannot claim to be body positive and deny the systemic and social advantages inherent in thin privilege”:
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I don’t care what kind of relationship you have/had with your gender or body or food/exercise, IF you are thin or straight sized, you move through the world systematically advantaged in relation to your weight.

If not, there wouldn’t be a huge chunk of society so hell bent on pursuing a dangerously narrow view of  “health and wellness” thinly veiled cover for the diet industry that continues to push body dissatisfaction and starvation diets created by white cisgender men. There wouldn’t be famous and semi famous celebrities selling “tummy tea” and inundating their followers with blatant #dietculture.

I sometimes come across claims against the existence of thin privilege often among eating disorder survivors on Instagram in the #BodyPositive movement. They either claim that thin privilege does not exist, or they go as far as to use “thin stigma” or “skinny shaming” as a “whataboutism”.

Generally I find they are following & engaging with mostly white cisgender women who have popularized themselves through a political involvement with #bodypositivity through eating disorder recovery. These women, often no larger than a size 14, making a living off of their online e-course in “self love and body trust!” advertising on IG with posts of heart hands atop a lightly stretch marked stomach. This in and of itself is thin privilege (& super problematic white feminism) at work people! Rarely do actual fat activists, writers, and/or fat eating disorder recovery professionals end up making anywhere near the money these white women make.

Thin privilege is upheld systemically through diet culture and fatphobia, and the narrow view of diet and exercise as the only determinants of health. It is upheld in the Modern Western society that pretty blatantly values bodies on their appearance, productivity, and ability, and this is manifested in the treatment and displacement of fat people in the United States. 

Thin privilege doesn’t care if you have an eating disorder, it doesn’t care if you are dissatisfied with your body, it doesn’t care if you don’t “feel thin.”

  • Thin privilege is not being able to engage in discourse online and know that you won’t be subjected to direct threats, violent language, and other harassment based on your body size.

  • Thin privilege is not experiencing completely unsolicited advice on weight loss, dieting and exercise.

  • Thin privilege is having your eating disorder taken seriously when seeking treatment, and receiving immediate care.

  • Thin privilege is not having to be subjected to nonconsensual medically unsafe diets (lol all of them) diets as a child by your parents or caregivers.

  • Thin privilege is not seeing your size be constantly turned into a joke in film and television and through stigmatizing characters.

  • Thin privilege is going out to eat and not having your food choices and perceived health openly judged and/or criticized.

  • Thin privilege is being able to get gender affirming top-surgery, without being told you must first lose weight.

  • Thin privilege is going to the doctor, and having your symptoms taken seriously and be properly diagnosed and treatment, not have your symptoms explained by your weight and told to lose weight, diet and exercise.

  • Thin privilege is knowing that, if you need to wear a costume, uniform, or say a a matching outfit for a wedding party, you will be able to easily find one in your size and not have to ask for “accommodations”.

  • Thin privilege is not having to pay for extra seats on the airplane because of discriminatory airline policies, or go through hoops to get reimbursed by the ones who do.

Thin privilege is so many more things, but for now if you are looking to dig deeper into more of the meat of fat activism, body positivity, body politics and social justice, check out the resources below. 

I also recently wrote a somewhat brief overview of the history of fat activism for a class assignment, that introduces some of the key events, key activists and scholars throughout the decades, as well as highlights current fat activists calling out the co-opting of the body positivity movement of which will probably post here on the blog once the course ends.

Instagrams
https://www.instagram.com/yrfatfriend/
https://www.instagram.com/fiercefatfemme/
https://www.instagram.com/ragenchastain/
https://www.instagram.com/chairbreaker
https://www.instagram.com/thefatsextherapist
https://www.instagram.com/fyeahmfabello
https://www.instagram.com/fatvegfemme
https://www.instagram.com/freeblackgirl
https://www.instagram.com/resilientfatgoddex/

Websites
http://www.wearyourvoicemag.com
http://www.thebodyisnotanapology.com
http://www.obesitytimebomb.blogspot.com (Charlotte Coopers former blog)

Articles & Videos with Transcripts
https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/fragility-body-positivity
https://wearyourvoicemag.com/body-politics/white-supremacy-colonialism-fatphobia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_OoS_hgXfQ

Books
Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement — by Dr. Charlotte Cooper PhD
Queering Fat Embodiment — edited by Cat Pause
The Politics of Size — edited by Ragen Chastain

Podcasts
https://www.womanofsize.com/
https://shesallfatpod.com/