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The sex ball for people with disabilities

two people at a freedom ball
two people at a freedom ball Image credit: kentonline.co.uk

Up until 2018 the Sexual Freedom Ball was an annual event in London which provided sexual experiences and fetishes for disabled people before moving to Kent, but thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic this year’s event has had to be put on hold.

Organiser Val Clarke opened up to Kent Online saying: "This [the cancellation] is deeply sad. The ball allows both physically and mentally disabled people to feel normal and sample a fetish night like other people.

"It is a chance for them to dip their toe into the water to see if they like it. They can watch floor shows and dive in if they want, or just stay on the side-lines."

The ball dates back to 1979 when the first event took place in the apartment of sex therapist Rosalind ‘Tubby’ Owens who, at the time, was living in Mayfair, London.

Owens, now 75, is the author of Sex Maniac’s Diary and appeared in Lady Victoria’s Training amongst other top-shelf titles.

Speaking about the Balls Val said: "The venues we pick for the ball are totally accessible. Many clubs list themselves as being accessible but then limit wheelchair-users to one floor.

"We ensure everyone can move around the whole venue freely. But there is more to it than just installing ramps, stair-lifts or building special props like spanking benches low enough for wheelchair-users.

"Some guests may be blind or deaf. It is important that if they are indulging in, say, a bondage session they can still communicate their 'safe' word to their partner to signal them to stop. Special signs must be agreed. It may be dropping a hanky or a flower.

"And we never use strobe lights in case anyone has epilepsy.

"Our priority is to provide a safe environment. We have stewards to help. If people become over excited there is always a quiet place they can relax with a cup of tea. And if the bar is too high for them we have special runners to get drinks."

She added: "On those nights we use specially selected acts so our guests feel comfortable. It's all about inclusion."

The balls, which usually take place twice a year, include “tactile stripping” for people with vison loss who can enjoy the sensitive feeling of touching outfits made from bubble wrap, rope or silk worn by models and an “interactive strip show”

Val (pictured above) said: "By definition, many of our guests are the most vulnerable in society with immune issues. We couldn't afford to take the risk."

Tuppy is pleased how her small gathering over forty years ago has expanded over the past few decades.

She said: "This is the only country where disabled people have their own club where their personal development is respected."

Tuppy launched The Outsiders Club in 1981 for people with various forms of disability wanting to find love. In 2000 she started the TLC website for disabled sex workers, three years later she was behind the Sex and Disability Hotline and in 2005 began the Sexual Health and Disability Alliance.

Her latest venture was the School of Sex for Disabled People website which welcomed its first online visitor in 2017.

She said: "Everyone wants to find someone to love and most people want to find someone to have sex with. It's natural. But most disabled people find getting a partner the most difficult job of all. Many have been teased or bullied at school, rejected by adults and have lost confidence."

According to Tuppy Owens Britain leads the way in looking after the sexual needs of the disabled.