Sex is an essential and healthy activity for almost everyone, and there are plenty of ways to have amazing sex in accessible positions. Whether you have limited mobility due to age, injury, or another condition, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about the top positions for disabled sex. Stay tuned at the end for additional tips for making sure things stay hot and heavy as well!
Because societal views of sex are predominantly normative, people without the full use of their legs and hips, such as those with disabilities and seniors, are often viewed as asexual or non-sexual beings. People having sex in different ways doesn’t fit into what we consider “normal,” so we instead assume that it doesn’t happen. This problematic assumption can create barriers and make it more difficult for people to form sexual partnerships due to internalized concepts of asexuality.
Researchers predict that this societal misconception could be addressed with more education and exposure to the idea of differently abled people having sex. Because most people have had little to no exposure to this, they have a narrow understanding of the topic. Providing more examples of sexuality, aging, and disability in the media and in education can also help to provide a more comprehensive sex education.
This is essential because not only is sex important for developing strong relationships, it can also have positive effects on your overall health as well. Below are just a few of the scientific findings researchers have uncovered in recent years on how having sex is good for your body as well as your mind.
Why Sex is Good for Your Health
1. Good Source of Exercise
This study reports that sexual activity can serve as moderate to significant exercise for healthy couples. Though probably not enough cardio activity on its own, the study found that couples engaging in sex in their natural environment burned an average of 3.6 calories per minute. Sex is a great addition to other physical exercises, which can strengthen muscles, reduce blood pressure, and increase heart health.
2. Faster Stress Recovery Time
A study from 2019 showed that spontaneous, nonverbal expressions of intimacy between partners may help regulate the biological response to stressors in the environment. Participants were put under stress either by themselves or in conjunction with their partners, then videotaped and evaluated afterward. Couples who displayed intimacy showed faster recovery times than less affectionate couples, based on the level of cortisol measured in their saliva (though these results were eliminated in women using oral contraceptives). This study didn’t refer to engaging in sex specifically, but nonverbal communication (post-sex snuggles!) is often a big part of sex. So if you’re having a bad day, you might want to consider getting your nonverbal communication on!
3. May Play a Role in Reducing Risk of Prostate Cancer
Spanning nearly 20 years, another study evaluated more than 30,000 men in the U.S. to see if their sexual habits had an effect on prostate cancer diagnoses. They were contacted in their teens, 20s, and 40s, and asked about their frequency of ejaculations. Researchers found that men who reported at least 21 ejaculations per month, whether partnered or alone, were less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in later years than men who reported 4–7 ejaculations per month.
Now that we know how beneficial sexual activity can be for your health, we can get into the good stuff and learn how to take advantage of these benefits. Below is our guide to the six best sex positions for people who don’t have full use of their legs and hips.
The 6 Best Disabled Sex Positions + Pro Tips
1. Adapted Missionary
The partner with limited mobility lays on the bed with their butt on the edge
The non-disabled partner stands between their legs, facing the bed
The standing partner lifts their partner’s legs so their ankles are resting on their shoulders
Couples in which one person has limited mobility and one person is non-disabled
People with lower back pain, as this position puts little pressure on either person’s back
Pro Tip: “The softness of a bed can make some positions difficult to maintain, because it absorbs a lot of your movements, “ says Kayla Broek, sex coach at Beyond Ages. “With one person off the bed, the solid floor provides a firmer foundation and can make controlling yourself and your partner substantially easier.”
2. Modified Doggy
The partner with a disability moves their wheelchair to the edge of the bed
The non-disabled partner lowers themselves on top of their partner, so their back faces their partner’s stomach
The partner on top rests their arms and upper body on the bed while thrusting
One male wheelchair user and one non-disabled partner
People with hip pain, as the sitting position is more comfortable
Pro Tip: “Pillows, pillows, pillows! Pillows are essential in making you more comfortable,” says Alan Snyder, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Breakaway Physical Therapy. “Use pillows under your back, between your legs, under your stomach, or wherever you need extra support.”
One partner lays on their side, slightly curled up
The other partner snuggles up right behind them and enters from behind
Both partners have their hands free to stimulate other areas
People with back pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, as this position is low-movement and the bed absorbs and relieves pressure on the joints
Pro Tip: “This is the number one most-recommended technique I give my patients,” says Dr. Snyder. “It’s a great position for people with lower back pain because they can receive in a comfortable position that limits movement.”
4. Sideways 69
One partner lays on their side in the spooning position
The other partner lays facing them with their head at the opposite end
Both people are free to stimulate their partner with fingers, tongue, or sex toys
People with weak or spastic hips
People with rheumatoid arthritis, as neither partner is burdened with the other’s weight
Pro Tip: “Fragile joints, muscles, and connective tissue increase the possibility of injury, which is why less bouncy positions are ideal for people with disabilities or decreased mobility,” says Alex Miller, a sexologist at Orchid.
5. Sitting Pretzel
The partner in a wheelchair moves to the edge of the bed, facing away
Their partner straddles them and wraps their arms around their partner
The partner on top braces their feet on the edge of the bed to thrust
One male wheelchair user and one non-disabled partner
People with chronic fatigue, as bracing on the bed makes movement much easier
Pro Tip: “This position is also known as the Time Bomb, and is great if you have lower back pain or decreased mobility in the legs,” says Lucy Jones, dating expert at Toy Boy Warehouse. “The bonus for this position is that it’s highly affectionate, and lets the couple go at their own pace.”
6. Upside-Down Turtle
One partner kneels, then lowers their chest forward so it is resting on the bed
The other partner kneels behind them and holds their hips
The partner behind can support their partner’s weight with their arms while thrusting
One non-disabled partner and one partner with disabilities
People with chronic pain, as the bottom position is comfortable with low movement
Pro Tip: “If you really want to spice up this position, you may want to consider purchasing a sex swing,” says Adina Mahalli, a sexual health expert at Maple Holistics. “A sex swing allows one partner to be suspended in the air, and they’re easily adjustable so any penetration height can be achieved.”
Don’t Forget About Foreplay
Though all of these disabled sex positions focused on penetrative sex, there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of everything our bodies have to offer. Our bodies are actually full of special areas called “erogenous zones” which can offer plenty of thrills and shivers when touched in just the right way. Some of the more popular erogenous zones include the ears, the neck, the fingers, and yes, the feet!
“Everyone should be incorporating more foreplay,” adds sex coach Kayla Broek. “It’s one of the easiest ways to spice things up, regardless of your physical limitations. Taking the time to appreciate each other’s bodies by touching, kissing, stroking, and massaging can really heat things up. This is one area of sex where going slow can be a huge benefit and athleticism isn’t even a factor.”
In addition to foreplay, oral sex is always a fantastic alternative to penetrative sex. We already covered the classic “69” position, but the awesome thing about oral sex is that it can happen pretty much anywhere. People in wheelchairs can give their partners oral sex by having them lay on the edge of the bed, kitchen table, couch, bathtub, or wherever the mood strikes.
Disabled Sex Resources
If you’re looking to learn more about disabled sex and its current context in society, below are some excellent resources we recommend taking a look at:
Download our visual guide to disabled sex below to take these instructions and expert tips with you, or to share them with others.
We hope these tips help you feel more confident in the bedroom and allow you to better connect with your partner on this essential activity. For additional tips on getting a more fulfilling sex life, visit Rory.