This is a guest post by Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel’s Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.
Please keep in mind that this article is now over 15 years old and some of the language may show their age. I feel it still opens a line of communication of a lesser-understood part of our BDSM community. If you or your partner are disabled in some way, I’d love to hear from you! Perhaps you could write to me about how you adapt to your personal limitations and I can share them in this article!
The disabled in the BDSM community are often overlooked, and many assume they do not exist. They do.
Some Dominants are blind, deaf, paralyzed, or otherwise physically impaired. And there are many submissives with varying degrees of disability or other physical problems that, to some extent, leave them handicapped. It is quite possible to scene from both sides despite such impairments. However, some key things should be addressed.
From the Top
In many cases, a wheelchair-bound Dominant may seek out an assistant for intense scenes. This assistant can act as the hands, eyes, and ears of the Dominant. However, in lighter scenes (mostly those with only partial bondage), the Dominant often can easily scene alone.
He or she may bring the disability into the scene itself, which might be to utilize the submissive as a tow vehicle using harnesses attached to the wheelchair, and some even use the chair itself as something to easily tie the submissive up. In these lighter scenes the Dominant will often create an escape avenue for the submissive in case the Dominant should experience difficulty so that they will not accidentally leave their submissive in a bad situation.
One of the best Dominant males I have ever met in my life lost his legs in Vietnam. It made scening with his wife a creative challenge, but one he compensated for quite well.
Some Dominants are visually impaired who do an excellent job at scening by using alternative ways to communicate and can perform with spotters or close quarters so that touch and other sensations are easier to pick up.
The submissive who becomes involved with a disabled Dominant needs to expect to be challenged into unusual roles in the relationship. In many cases, the need for trust is even more significant, and for some submissives, their in-scene fear is something additional to be overcome.
Communication is crucial in all aspects of the relationship and has unique requirements in the scening arena. If your Dominant is somewhat deaf or blind, good reliable in-scene alternatives should be set up in advance. Generally, the Dominant can test out things out of the scene to see if they will work also requires a higher level of cooperation on the part of the submissive.
With those Dominants that have restricted usage of their hands and arms, they can still scene by adapting tools and toys into unique and exciting ways. A higher level of care is necessary if the Dominant finds it necessary to rely on electronic devices.
Many submissives are physically disabled and can range from Carpal Tunnel disease in their hand/wrist areas to full bed incapacitation. This creates levels of increased difficulty and risk. It is both Dominant and submissives responsibility to fully reveal the complete nature of all known body ailments before engaging in any scene. Numerous actions would be slightly risky to a completely healthy submissive that can kill an impaired submissive. The Dominant should ask for, and the submissive should volunteer good medical information. There is no mandate which says that a submissive needs to stand for a good scene.
In many cases, a prone person is easier to play with and with better control. Bondage risks can be minimized when you reduce the potentials of unconsciousness. A wheelchair-bound submissive can be bound into their chair and sensitive areas played with.
Remember that healing times are critical here. In many cases, the disabled do not heal at the rate that physically healthy people do. So it becomes even more imperative to scene in ways that in no way decreases the quality of the submissives life.
Do not bruise! I cannot emphasize that enough. It is seldom necessary, although many submissives parade bruises somewhat like badges of honor. Bruising is tissue damage. Healing from injury can be not only difficult but, in some persons, impossible.
I know of several submissives who were bruised and, after over a year, still carried damage. The idea is not to see what a person can handle but to challenge their 'personal' level into the realms where they can experience the intensity, and it's unique coupling to pleasure. This may be a light pinch. The expectations of what is a 'correct level' needs to be reexamined as each person is unique.
Many areas of the body never fully recover from damage. Breast tissue is an excellent example of an area that doesn't fully recover from damage. Many Dominants like to 'flog' the breasts. This can cause lifelong tissue damage.
Also, bondage which restricts blood flow can almost immediately cause some tissues to begin to die. They need to understand where blood vessels are, when, where, and how to use bondage effectively and safely is necessary. A new Dominant should seek out good BDSM texts on the topics and attend as many workshops and live demonstrations as possible before attempting things for themselves.
A bed-bound submissive can still be scened in a way to them that is enjoyable. Their bed can become a bondage tool. The Dominant who likes to stretch their submissive should have great supporting bondage lined cuffs and should remember to stay within the natural length to allow the 'sensation' of intense bondage. Joints are fragile and even more-so in someone disabled. Be creative and use multiple bondage points instead of stressing individual joints.
Many disabled submissives have to deal with increased anxieties about their worth and value. Some have extensive scarring, missing limbs, or other physical distortions, which make them even more vulnerable to negative commentary. The Dominant needs to be fully aware of these potentials as much as everything else.
Remember to 'do no harm.' Your interaction should improve both of your lives, not diminish it in any way. Be supportive and honest from the beginnings of the relationship. If you think you may have trouble or feel uncomfortable looking at someone with a disability, then do not impose yourself onto them. The human spirit is fragile and beautiful, be genuine, open, and supportive.
Written by F.R.R. Mallory – also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.