For pretty much anyone, there are some excellent perks to using remote and app-controlled sex toys: they allow users to play in public, can enhance intimacy in long-distance relationships, and add excitement by letting people take control of each others’ pleasure. But for many people living with disabilities, the benefits of these toys go far beyond that.
Disabled partners often encounter difficulties when it comes to sex and these high tech toys provide opportunities to make partnered sex easier, or in some cases possible where it previously was not. Masturbation can present its own set of challenges, but using a remote or app can make it effortless or at least more accessible. From app-controlled vibrators like the We-Vibe Rave to remote-controlled hands-free masturbation sleeves like the Hot Octopuss Pulse III Duo, high-tech sex toys are providing a genuine benefit to the lives of people with disabilities.
Siren Vandoll, Kirsten Schultz, and the blogger behind Pillow Princess Reviews are sex bloggers with disabilities that all review sex toys. All three have used and benefited from remote and app-controlled products, and bring a rare perspective and insight into the positive effects such toys have for people with disabilities.
Vandoll, who writes at sensiren.blog, says she values the ability to play with partners using app-controlled toys like the We-Vibe 4 and We-Vibe Ditto. She explained that she struggles with maintaining intimacy in her relationships during flare ups of chronic pain, and the option of using long-distance controls helps. “[It] allows me to stay connected with partners when I can’t make it out of bed,” she said.
Schultz, creator of chronicsex.org, pointed out that she enjoys the prospect of having a partner control a toy so she doesn’t have to, saying that this feature is “super beneficial.” Having a partner who can literally press your buttons is practical when limited range of motion, joint pain, or other problems make it difficult to do so yourself.
All three bloggers find that using a remote or app to control a toy tends to be easier than having to press buttons directly during use, for various reasons related to their own abilities and needs.
The writer at Pillow Princess Reviews suffers from moderate sight loss and says it’s easier to see controls on apps – especially when utilizing a phone’s accessibility features – than to look for small buttons and symbols on a toy itself. She also noted how most apps feature a visualization of the toy’s vibration intensity which can be useful for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Vandoll said one of her partners has “very severe wrist issues that make it almost impossible to use regular sex toys most days.” She said using the We-Vibe Sync, a hands-free vibrator that can be controlled using an app or physical remote, makes a big difference for her partner.
Similarly, Schultz highlighted the usefulness of Fun Factory’s self-thrusting Stronic toys, noting that she has recently been experiencing limited hand dexterity and said it’s “incredibly helpful to not have to hold or move the toy.”
Not all smart sex toys are accessible for everyone, however. Specifically, some people, including Lilly from Dangerous Lilly, have had trouble with these kinds of products due to Bluetooth connectivity issues. About this, Lilly said “as a person with limited flexibility and range of motion these toys could be great, but due to the fact that the Bluetooth often doesn’t work for me, I’m left with an unusable product.”
As technology continues its relentless march, we’re hopeful that companies are paying attention to the ways in which their products are helping disabled consumers and being mindful of the ways they can continue making them more accessible.