Hi Sex and the River City,
I am living in Sacramento again after moving away, and I’m looking for a sex-positive community for a sex-positive guy with cerebral palsy. Is there anything here at all?
Sex positivity starts with you, and it sounds like you’ve figured that part out! Now, when it comes to finding accessible, sex-positive spaces in Sacramento, that can be tricky. Most sex and pleasure shops in Sacramento have limited wheelchair accessibility. And while the sex-positive community is aware that living with a disability doesn’t make you sexless, a lot of the sexuality industry is not.
I would suggest visiting Autonomous Love, which has an extremely knowledgeable and sex-positive punk artist shop owner, Paul Imagine–but his shop is built in a historic building in Midtown and doesn’t have wheelchair access. However, he is a gem to this town and will happily work around accessibility issues to help you find your perfect pleasure product. Reach out to him whenever on Facebook!
Kiss N Tell on Arden Way has handicapped parking and double doors, but a small and potentially inaccessible space where the quality sex toys are kept. Goldie’s on North 12th Avenue is a Sacramento landmark, taking up a large corner lot down the street from Sacramento Loaves & Fishes for the last few decades. While the building is larger than most of the sex shops around town, the selection isn’t high quality. As with anything you choose to put in your body, you get what you pay for, and you should spend good money for good sex toys.
If you haven’t explored it, BDSM and kink can be the great sex equalizer. Much of the pleasure derived from BDSM has nothing to do with “normative sex”–that is, able-bodied and penis-in-vagina focused. To find out about our local BDSM community, start on FetLife.com, aka kinky Facebook. There you can meet like-minded people and perverts online, join groups sharing your common interests–both sexual and mundane–and attend monthly community events. The Sacramento Monthly Mixer is held at a sports bar in Orangevale that has wheelchair access, and there is a monthly coffee meetup called Kinksters Incaffeinated at Old Soul at the Weatherstone on 21st Street.
Disability activist and sex educator Robin Wilson-Beattie has been vocal about the need for disability inclusion in the sex-positive and BDSM communities. VICE magazine recently interviewed her, and she offered up some sage advice about navigating sex while disabled:
Able-bodied people don’t always grasp how people with disabilities have sex. The world of sex for disabled people, however, is much broader by necessity. People with disabilities are used to adapting because the world isn’t built to fit us.
How do I determine healthy sexual ideals?
First, ask yourself what are your sexual wants and what are your sexual needs. You might be saying, “But Kenna, I know my wants and needs–and they are both to have the sex!” But your wants and needs are actually very different and deserve deep thought.
Needs are things you can’t do without–also referred to as “non-negotiables.” What those look like for me personally are: the need for my partners and me to practice safe sex and get tested regularly, the need for my partners to be comfortable with sex toys and not shame me for the role they play in my sex life, and a need for kissing, cuddling and hand-holding to be part of our intimate connection. Without these things, I will not be a happy or fulfilled person sexually.
My wants are things that I can be more flexible with as long as my needs are being met. For me, I might want my partner to wear the black tattoo gloves during hand sex because they are a turn-on for me. Or I might want to be able to spend the night at my partner’s house once a week. Neither of these things are total deal-breakers for me if they don’t happen. They are just the extra sprinkles on the sundae that makes up my healthy sexual appetite.
When we come into the bedroom, we also bring all our baggage with us–and I’m not talking about a backpack full of sex toys (which I may also sometimes bring with me). You should try to identify what things you have sexual shame around so you can know how to communicate those issues to your sexual partner. You can use resources like this “Yes, No, Maybe So” checklist to help you determine what things could send you into that shame space, and then share it with potential partners before you ever get intimate. Avoiding stepping on sexual triggers will require practicing affirmative consent and checking in with your partner before, during and after anything sexual to see how your mind and body are responding.
To have healthy sexual ideals, you need to balance your mind and your body. Orgasm isn’t always the goal during sex–but feeling safe, secure and confident in the choices you are making in your own personal sex life should be.
Have a burning desire, a burning sensation or an issue that’s about to burn all of your relationship bridges? Send them to Kenna at email@example.com.