People Describe Sex to Me

December 31, 2020 6 min read

Some years back, I was invited to a play party at a house dungeon I had never been to before. I generally knew what to expect and had read the rules; this was not my first experience at a new space, but I could not say the same for the people who were expecting me. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that I am totally blind, from birth. 

When I entered the house dungeon the first thing I noticed was the thudding techno music. The hostess of the house quickly offered me a tour - something all guests were partaking in because the space was new but the people there weren’t quite sure of how to work with someone who couldn’t see.

"Can you climb stairs?" asked the young man assigned to accompany me on this journey. The entrance to the house had four stairs … and nobody carried me in. But I get that question a lot despite being able-bodied. 

We explored the various toy rooms and gear on display. This was the first time many people had been in contact with a blind person, no matter the setting. I explained to them that I would have to touch the implements hanging on the walls, stroke my hand along the leather bindings of large floggers and paddles to get acquainted with them. Habitually, I say, "can I see that?" to signal the need to reach out and visualize something, which sometimes results in the rejoinder, "no, you can't."  … thanks, I know I can’t. But when I  say goodbye to someone, I’m not going to say, “well, I’ll feel you later …” I grew up in a sighted world made for and by sighted people. So I use the same vocabulary.


Some people catch on, some don’t.

After the tour, I made my way down to the dungeons to check out some scenes. I can usually deduce most of what's going on in these scenes - it's not that difficult to pick up the sound of a paddle or a  flogger - they sound different on the skin. But what interests me are the facial expressions, precisely how or if the person is restrained and what they are wearing. I have to ask somebody to describe that to me. 

It can be awkward. 

Firstly, I don't want to intrude on the headspace of the scene and when there’s music blaring, it's hard not to shout a description of the people involved when they’re mere feet in front of you. Imagine standing back and hearing someone say, in a fairly loud voice over the 4/4 pounding of techno beats, “ok, so there’s a woman restrained on a cross! She’s wearing leather! The man is checking the restraints and has a paddle in one hand!” This is rather simple dialogue and probably sounds very scripted when read aloud on a blog, but you get the idea. 

At one point,  a participant turned around to say, "you know, it is a bit weird to have your actions being described behind you as you are doing them." We laughed, and I apologized. I don’t think they realized I was blind. Because of how my eyes look (one is fake, not made of glass), most people think I have at least some vision. Trust me it was strange for all parties involved. Most of the time, people are ok with the description, it’s an energy shift and might make those in the scene self-conscious of their actions. My guide and I backed up a little and the scene continued.

Another scene involved a woman restrained on a table with a few people working her over with vibrators. I asked her dom if I could participate. The answer was yes. I was guided over to the table by the hand. This is not my favourite way to be guided, usually, I put my hand on a person’s elbow, but being guided this way lead me, literally, to some interesting observations. By manipulating where my hand was going, the person leads me towards the soft skin of a naked breast. I smiled appreciatively and said, "thank you, actually, would you mind if I played with her feet?” There was a pause before the dom said that would be ok, there may have been an exchange of looks between my guide and him, I don’t know. The woman on the table enjoyed the added stimulation, I could tell by the noises and reactions. I found out later she had a blindfold on.

I’m not shy about my foot fetish: I want to be known as the guy that gives the most magical foot rubs. My guide made the assumption that this is the part of the woman I wanted to touch first because I guess that's how it is for a lot of straight guys. However, I was unable to visually communicate that I wanted to play with her feet because I couldn't stare at them or otherwise point them out ahead of time. 

I realized that even in the diverse and open-minded kink scene, I will always stand out a little bit more. Maybe even a lot more. It's not about what I enjoy sexually (I always go by the maxim, My Kink Is Not Necessarily Your Kink). It's about how I have to express myself as somebody who is unable to see the things that are going on around him. There is the constant duality between wanting to "fit in" but also knowing that, even in a place where difference is encouraged, your minority still stands out and might make people uncomfortable. Even in the kink/BDSM world that increasingly recognizes the likes of gender fluidity, disability remains unexplored and misunderstood. There is a common misconception that people with disabilities are not sexual or do not want sexual pleasure. The reasons for this are many but the short answer is that we (people with disabilities) can be just as sexual as those without, but have to adapt situations to meet our needs and desires. 

In closing, I want to acknowledge the overall vulnerability that is present at most of these types of events. Even if you enjoy being the exhibitionist, it still takes courage. I don't know if I am more or less vulnerable in these situations than the next person. What I do know is that there is a lot more body language communication that needs to be verbalized both for myself and other participants. That’s not a bad thing, I’ve been told by people I’ve known in the scene for a long time that they didn’t realize how much they communicated nonverbally until they met me. This is something I learned by going to numerous events and generally being assertive, open, and honest. 

I hope that sharing my experiences will encourage others with disabilities to feel that they can go to these types of events in a safe space and feel accepted, desired, and have fun!

Dave Bahr
« Dave Bahr is an author, speaker, and comedian focused on demystifying the public's perception of how to interact with people with disabilities. As the founder of In-Sightful Living, Dave works as an accessibility consultant, aiding organizations to enhance their systems, environments, events, and cultures to be supportive of people with disabilities. Blind from birth, he teaches that having a disability is not a hindrance, but an asset. » All posts →