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New blog for new times

I’ve created a new blog for posts about disability and sex that don’t really feel like they fit here. I might well continue to post things here, but for the moment, my primary focus is Chronically Sexy. Please follow the new feed, and share it with those who will find it interesting or useful. See you there!

Chronically Sexy

I’ve been blogging at fearlessknits.wordpress.com for 7 years, and have changed a lot in that time. Reading my earlier posts from my current perspective has become an exercise in personal archeology.

This isn’t to say that I want to forget or renounce the person I used to be, but it no longer feels like we belong under the same banner.

There’s also the fact that over the last year, I’ve been moving towards doing more disability and sexuality activism. Politics with a small p. I don’t know exactly what shape this will end up being, but I do know I have a lot to write about.

I’ve transferred over some posts from my fearlessknits blog that feel like they fit here, and I’m going to leave everything up there.

Being ill, disabled, and sexy is not always easy. And we face challenges in our sex lives and intimate relationships which…

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Pre-sorted meds by post to my door. What’s the catch? A PillTime review

As part of my continuing series of posts on How To Be A Disabled Badass, I decided to write something that isn’t even tangentially related to my sex life!

A while back, I saw an ad on Facebook for an alternative to a traditional pharmacy, that would not only home deliver my medications, but also pre-sort them into pouches printed with the date and time they’re to be taken. This is, for someone who typically spent 90 minutes a month mininum on organising medications, a hugely attractive prospect.

I’m always up for trying something out if it looks like it’ll make a positive change, and give me more time do things that aren’t just physical maintenance. The process of signing up was okay, and the team at PillTime held my hand through it. My GP surgery has an online system for requesting repeat prescriptions, and at first I was told that I would be able to continue to request my meds in this way. I also checked out about controlled drugs, as I have one prescription, my ADHD medication, which is controlled. I was told that it would be included in the pouches along with my other medications, and although the prescription would have to be posted, PillTime would send envelopes to my GP surgery and coordinate with them and it would all be fine.

At this point, I was pretty excited. I take some non-prescription stuff, vitamins and cod liver oil, and a couple of other things I heard might be good and thus far seem to have helped. If I could cut my meds organising down to just these, it would simplify things hugely. I can take these non-prescription items all in the evening, making organising them far less complex. In addition, only one of them comes in those hated blister packs! If I only have to pop 28 blisters once every 4 weeks, that is a significant reduction. It makes my meds organising something I can actually do for myself too. If all my important meds are measured out and checked by a pharmacist, and have the date and time printed on them, then even if I fuck up some of my supplements, the worst that’ll happen is a mild change to my toilet schedule.

All in all, this service sounded like a godsend.

Unfortunately, their claims pretty quickly fell apart. For starters, my first box ended up having to start several days after the date we first agreed on. I had thought this might happen, so I’d given an initial date which left me a week of medication in hand. I really didn’t appreciate having to go three days into that buffer, but I figured it was just a switch-over problem. Wouldn’t happen again, right?

The second issue, however, was that despite my checking, my controlled drug was NOT in the pouches with the rest of my meds. Apparently this is standard, and part of the rules on controlled drugs, but it made my mornings significantly more complicated than they could have been. In fact, because my previous system meant I could just empty a section of a pill organiser into my mouth, this actually made my mornings more work, not less.

The next thing which didn’t match the sales pitch was the process of ordering more medications. I got a notification when there were 10 days left of the month saying that it was time to request repeat prescriptions. I dutifully logged onto my surgery’s online system and requested my prescriptions. I knew that my surgery had prepaid envelopes from the previous month and the numerous phone calls back and forth which had been required to set me up with PillTime. I am, by the way, not supposed to make lots of phone calls, and had to take at least 30 minutes rest between each conversation.

When I got down to three days left and hadn’t heard anything about delivery, I called PillTime, and discovered they didn’t have my prescriptions, and that they hadn’t even been printed yet. I spent a lot of the next three days playing go-between for PillTime, my GP surgery, and the delivery company. I got my meds on time, but it took two weeks’ worth of energy, and I only just recovered back to baseline by the time I got my next text message that it was time to request prescriptions, and the process started all over again.

A word here about delivery. The default delivery option for PillTime is DX. They only tell you the day that they will deliver, not a time on that day. Which is astonishing for a service specifically for people who struggle to get to a pharmacy and who benefit from having their medications organised for them to avoid mistakes. With Boots pharmacy, they ask me when would be good for delivery, give me a 3-hour window, and if I’m having a really bad week, I can ask them to give me a call when they’re about half an hour out, to give me time to put on PJs and crawl downstairs, knowing I won’t have to wait around for hours. Getting any more precise delivery information out of DX was impossible, or only available for a fee. I don’t even reliably wake up before 11am, so this delivery set up was completely inadequate.

I was really hoping that these issues I was having would be just a bedding in problem, and that after a couple of months to get established, things would then run smoothly. I used the service in total for four months, to give them a chance to settle things down, and prove that the issues I was having were just teething problems. Unfortunately they never did, and I ended up going back to Boots after an awful weekend spent digging through drawers and bags and borrowing meds from my husband who has one prescription the same as mine. It was terrible.

The impression I get is of an organisation built around the innovation of the pouches, and the technology that makes them possible, but one that hasn’t managed to get the rest of the work of a pharmacy right. Medication isn’t something you can get wrong like this. I can’t just go without my medication and wait for them to get their delivery sorted. If they’ve requested a prescription, I shouldn’t be the one who has to figure out it hasn’t been posted. And it really is inexcusable for a company whose major selling point is the correct date printed on a disposable product to be delivering that product after the start date.

Every month I was with PillTime, the last week of the month, when I was expecting my next box, was filled with anxiety, and that got worse with time. Two of my prescriptions are medications to reduce anxiety. So I’m back with my local Boots pharmacy and their delivery service. It means I have more blister packs in my life again, and when I’m not feeling good, I once again need help to organise my medications. But at least I can trust they’re going to show up on time.

I’m in love – with a lipstick

Warning, I am about to talk a lot about sex and giving head, and also some of the less pleasant things about being disabled.

What do any of those have to do with a lipstick? Let me tell you!

One of the things that has happened to me since becoming disabled is that I sweat. A lot. It might be the meds I’m on. It might be the weight they’ve caused me to gain. It might just be one of those annoying little symptoms of CFS/ME that no one really understands, but still seems to happen to a whole lot of us. Anyway, it means that a lot of make up just slides off my face. And I really like make up, so this is annoying!

It’s meant that while obviously I spend too much time looking at and trying out make up, I also spend a lot of time figuring out how to make it stay where I put it. The Joker is definitely a Look, but it’s not what I’m going for on the regular, you know?

I don’t think I’ve ever said this on the blog, but almost everyone who knows me in real life knows – I LOVE SUCKING COCK. Like, so much. It’s one of my favourite things to do. Hands down. Or up. Or behind my back. Or joining in and making sure the balls don’t feel neglected. Just love it.

The combination of these things means that putting on make up for an orgy becomes an exercise in finding waterproof, longwear, transfer-proof items, and dousing the whole lot in fixing spray. I’ve tried a lot of different lip ideas, and recently managed to get fairly good time out of a lip stain with a tinted lip balm over to top.

But then, this baby entered my life. Rimmel Provocalips. I have 310 Little Minx, but I’m going to be getting more, because this shit is the shit.

I was at a sex party on Saturday. I put on my make up at 6pm. The lipstick was fully opaque in One Swipe, and so comfy I forgot I was wearing it. I had a busy night, including but not limited to giving a full half hour of sloppy head. At 2am, all but a tiny patch in the centre of my lips was still there. It hadn’t settled into the cracks or smeared around my lips at all. I had not reapplied the colour or the gloss at any point.

I don’t know who at Rimmel sold their soul for this formula, but it was a good trade, and in their place, I would have done the same. And if you are anticipating giving lots of oral sex, and you want your lipstick to look just as amazing afterwards as they do before, then get this stuff.

It doesn’t even smell bad!

Review : Quest in Leeds for wheelchair users

At the encouragement of a friend, I’m going to try blogging about my experiences as a very slutty disabled person, and how I make that work. I’ll be talking about online dating, sorting out dirty weekends when the wheelchair and the meds bag need to come along. But today I’m going to talk about the fetish event I went to at a swingers club last weekend.

The venue was Quest in Leeds. I went with three friends, two of whom were quite familiar with my disabilities and access needs, so I knew that even if the access was awful, I’d have back up and help.

But it was awesome! This club have really obviously thought about how to navigate the venue on wheels, and how to help people with less than awesome mobility have an amazing sexy time.

The car park outside isn’t massive, but it’s big enough, and is well hidden from the road, so you don’t feel overlooked while getting from cars into the venue. I got a lift, but it’s not too far from the train station, and easy to find on maps for taxis. I can’t comment on public transport, but if I use it in future, I’ll update this.

There’s a small lip from the car park into the building, but I took it backwards in my electric wheelchair without any problems. The doors are all a pretty standard width, but I didn’t notice any particularly awful things on the walls making things difficult. The staff let me know as soon as they saw my chair that they have an accessible loo. I actually didn’t end up using it, because I can walk for short distances, so I just left my chair outside the standard toilets and used them.

The changing rooms are spacious enough to change in a chair, and they have benches and stools in front of mirrors. There’s also enough space under the vanity bar that you can sit and use your own chair if you want. Lockers and towels are each available for a £5 deposit, and staff give newbies a tour of everything whenever you’re ready, and gave me absolutely no ableist bullshit at any point in the afternoon.

You will probably want a towel because THIS PLACE HAS A GODDAMNED MINI SPA IN THE BACK! For real, the wet area on it’s own would be enough to justify the entry cost for me. There’s a hot tub, hot and cold showers, a sauna, and although it wasn’t in use the day we were there, a steam room. The hot tub holds 8 and is not a sex pond, as no sex is allowed in it. (I’d like to try hot tub sex at some point, but definitely not in a communal tub that I can’t clean immediately afterwards, because, eww.)

Our party started out in the hot tub, chilling and getting affectionate. There may have been kisses. Kisses are awesome. I’m such a fan of kisses. There’s a bit of a step to get in and out the tub, and no hoist, so you do have to be able to stand and move a bit to get in and out. Also there’s nothing to sit on in the showers, which I might ask them about next time I visit, as it’d be really useful. There is, however, ample space around the tub, so I didn’t feel like my chair was in anyone’s way while I was soaking.

We then went into a private room to turn all that spa water into sweat. Which we did. Copiously. It was awesome, and I technically achieved a first I’ve been wanting for a while. Getting in and out of the rooms required a bit of help from my companions, and space was tight. But there was space, and the corridors were wide enough that turning around wasn’t difficult. It’s possible that there were other rooms that would have had more space, but there was only one private room free by the time we were looking, and fortunately, we were able to make it work.

We used the cleaning supplies provided to clean down the room. In retrospect, we should probably have done this before playing too, as I’ve been battling a rather nasty throat infection this week. I wouldn’t take this as a sign of poor hygiene on the part of Quest though – I get every infection going, and usually quite badly. But if you’ve got a crap immune system like me, it’s worth taking the time to wipe down before as well as after. Which is definitely something I will be doing next time I go (*coughs in a decidedly un-sexy manner*).

A quick shower to rinse off, and another soak in the hot tub. Got talking to a couple of the other people at the event. Everyone I ended up talking to was lovely. I made several trips through the bar area, and noticed that the surfaces and bar stools were far enough apart that people didn’t have to struggle to get out of my way, so I didn’t have to worry about rolling over toes, which was lovely. Apparently one of the staff, maybe one of the owners, is a wheelchair user, and in these little but essential details, it shows.

Two of our party then went to take advantage of the dungeon equipment, and R and I, who were all sexed out, found a sofa to curl up on. There were some snacks out in the middle of the room, and drinks were reasonably priced, although I don’t know how reasonably, because no one let me go to the bar, and I kinda like being waited on a little bit!

All in all, it was a really good experience and I will be going back! If you’ve got any questions about the club, put them in the comments, and I’ll try my best to answer them. I hope this is useful in helping you to plan debauchery. A healthy sex life is so important, no matter what form that sex life takes, or how much or how little your body is capable of doing.

Wishing you a wonderful and satisfying intimate life! Smooches (if you want them), Charlie xx

The wet wipes issue from my disabled perspective

The latest culprit in the environment war is wet wipes, and specifically scapegoating people who just Aren’t Trying Hard Enough to be sustainable. This article from The Pool goes into a lot of the issues around why people need to use disposable cleaning and hygiene products. And they’ve got a point. Wet wipes are really easy to carry, and don’t need you to have access to a washing machine. If you’re homeless or housed in overcrowded accommodation, that’s not nothing

But there are some of us who can switch to more sustainable methods, if we know what to switch to

This is a thing that I’ve figured out in the past couple of months for myself. I am a very disabled person. I don’t manage to brush my teeth every day. We had to move rooms in our house so that I could be closer to the loo, to avoid having to get me a commode

Given this, it’s not a surprise that my first thought for facial skin care was wet wipes. They don’t need any preparation. They don’t need a sink. I can clean my face (and pits and bits) in bed, without needing to ask for help from anyone else, which would be frankly embarrassing

And over the last few months, I’ve managed to switch to a more sustainable method! Yay!

It started with catching an ad for a no rinse cleanser on a YouTube make up video. I didn’t even know that was a thing, so I was really excited, and just straight up gave them my money

I started by using the cleanser with disposable cotton pads, but that’s also not the best. I’ve seen tutorials around for how to make yourself reusable cotton rounds, but although I do have a sewing machine, I would rather use the very rare occasions when I have enough energy to use it for making fun things, rather than a whole lot of identical daily necessities

Which is why when I heard the idea of using those pads you put in your bra when you’re nursing as reusable cotton rounds, I was, again, All Over That. I ordered two packs of 12 cheaply from Wish.com, and a couple of mesh laundry bags to wash them in, just sticking them in with a normal load of clothes. I just keep a stack of cotton rounds and the cleanser on my bedside table, and voila! More sustainable, and I still have clean skin!

They’ve been through the washing machine a couple times now, and are still working just as well. Some of them have picked up a bit of colour from mascara, but they’re comfortable to use and just as easy as a wet wipe. In fact, they’re a bit softer than the L’Oreal wipes I was using before I switched

Being disabled is hard, and there are many ways in which I lead a waste heavy life, and just can’t change that. So when there are things that I can do and change, it feels a little bit like being able to be more of a person. Someone with agency, a stake in the future, and the ability to make a difference, however small

Disabled Person Self Driving Car Wish List

  • Call up a car like you call a cab, but also suitable for long distance journeys
  • Seats that face each other, not all facing forward, so everyone can hear each other when talking
  • Automatic ramps. Actually automatic ramps. Like the ones on London buses. And space between the seats to put wheelchairs
  • Able to navigate drive thru fast food. I don’t think I need to explain this one
  • Able to record if you have a blue badge so you can have pick up / drop off in disabled spaces
  • Windows with adjustable opacity so you can sleep while travelling
  • Also reclining comfy seats
  • A wake up alarm based on how many minutes to your destination
  • Button for ‘I need the next disabled loo we go past’
  • Cup holders
  • Power outlets
  • And I know this seems obvious, but, actually fully autonomous. I’m not allowed to drive cos of my disabilities. I don’t need a hybrid. Public transport doesn’t go everywhere. I need it to do every damn maneuver itself

“So if I’m polyamorous, and one of my partners is married, am I going to hell for adultery?”

A friend of mine has just come out as polyamorous to her Christian mother, who was immediately concerned that she would be helping married people to break their marriage vows

This is a thing I had occasion to consider 11 years ago when I was a polyamorous Christian person preparing for marriage. So here is the product of that thinking, for me, for my friend, and for anyone else wanting to make sure they’re not going into an eternal fire for the sake of a hot evening

I grew up in a very bible based church, and in a family where I was taught theology and Christian apologetics along with how to bleed a radiator and turn hospital corners. What this taught me was that, above all, the message you get from a particular part of the bible depends far more on the way you interpret it than on the text itself

For example, in the gospel of Matthew, there’s a famous part of one of Jesus’ sermons

You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

At first glance, to a modern eye, and after generations of people in power wanting to have the prevailing interpretation of the bible being the one that’s most useful to them, this looks like a call to passivity. To letting things slide in this life, because we’ll get justice in the next, so never you worry, just let the asshole go on his way, he’ll get his comeuppance later on, now just go back to making useful profit for your lord / owner / employer

In fact, when you know the context, this is Jesus advocating for non-violent resistance. Because at the time, slapping someone on the right cheek was something you did to servants and slaves. Because most people are right handed, slapping the right cheek happens with the back of the hand. The only way for them to slap your other cheek would be for them to use the palm of their hand, which is only ever done between people of the same status. By offering your other cheek you are effectively asking them to insult you as an equal, rather than as a subordinate. They are then left with the choice of not hitting you when invited to do so, or of tacitly acknowledging you as an equal with a right to reply and dispute their initial insult

So yeah. Context is everything

Which means that we can’t really try to read too much into biblical readings without knowing their contexts. Across the bible, there are many different relationships represented. In Genesis, Jacob marries sisters Leah and Rachel, and in fact, when Leah becomes infertile, she arranges for her servant Zilpah to become a third wife for Jacob, and celebrates when the marriage produces a son. In modern polyamory, this joy in the relationship between someone you love and another person is called compersion

At the other extreme, the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said that marriage should be only for men (let’s not even get started on Paul’s misogyny) who can’t keep it in their pants, which in my opinion is the worst of all possible reasons to decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone

Anyway, my personal beef with Paul the Prude aside, there are a very wide range of relationships shown in the bible

In fact, the one time that multiple relationships are censured, that I can think of, is Solomon and his many wives. But even there, it’s not the fact of his multiple relationships that earns him disapproval, but that he adopts the religious faiths and practices of some of his non-Israelite wives. This breaks the first commandment about worshipping only the God of the Jews, and not any others. Even then, God gives him a pass while he’s still on Earth, presumably because Solomon was responsible for building him that nice house in Jerusalem

So that leaves us with what married people actually promise one another, and how we interpret that in the present day. The relevant words under the law in the UK are the promise to be faithful to one’s spouse. That’s commonly interpreted to mean romantic and sexual exclusivity, but does it have to?

Keeping faith with someone doesn’t have to be interpreted in this narrow a way.

For me, as a person who was a Christian when I entered a legal polyamorous marriage, I look at this a different way. I keep faith with my spouse by always telling them the truth. By telling them about important things in my life. By putting them and their needs above the needs of my other partners, and equal with myself and my own life ambitions. For me, the promise to be faithful goes above and beyond romantic and sexual obligations, and to the whole of our life together

By deciding to keep faith with one another in a way that can change at any time, we allow one another growth and change, and trust in our partners to use their judgement to ensure that we’re not hurt by their actions. Equally, having that trust placed in us allows us to be more fully ourselves, knowing that our needs and desires, honestly expressed and pursued, will be respected

In the new testament, Jesus says that the old covenant is ended, and that our responsibility to one another is to love each other. How better to express our love for our partners than by responding independently and sensitively to their own unique selves, and keeping faith with them using our free will and intelligent, trusting love. Doing this in accordance with the new covenant

I doubt anyone would go to hell for that