Sexual Health Blogs

SexTech: The Future of Disability and Sexuality

Spark! Roundtable


The Southwest Sexual Health Alliance will be holding a groundbreaking Spark! Roundtable on much needed topic, Sex Tech and Disabilities. Dr. Mitchell Tepper will be on the panel contributing his wealth of experience on sexuality and disabilities. He is also our Sexceptional Lecturer for the day! 


Panelist Deanna Theis' company, The It Collection will be on the panel discussing her personal and professional experiences with this issue. Deanna seeks to create truly inclusive sexual wellness products that work for all. Her first product, a hands-free toy-mount called the Perfect Pleasure cushion, was designed to foster sexual fulfillment and pleasure enhancement for every body, regardless of their shape, preference, age, or physical limitations. This product is appropriate for all sexual lifestyle and helps to encourage a healthy and creative approach to sexuality for individuals and couples. 

Inspired by the strong women who surrounded her growing up, especially her mother, Deanna has always had an inventor's spirit. Despite creating useful gadgets throughout her life, this invention is the first with real potential to make a difference in people's lives. Sex is a human need, after all. She first came up with the idea for a hands-free masturbation alternative in 2012 when she temporarily lost mobility in one arm due to a pinched nerve. Having recently purchased the Magic Wand Original®, the concept began as a simple handle for a vibrator. Over the course of the next two years, she refined her goal to simply, this: create products that provide the highest level of pleasure to any and all who use them, regardless of their shape, age, or physical ability. 

Creating a lifestyle line that could meet the needs of every body became not only a challenge but a personal mission. From Deanna’s passion, The It Collection was born and the Perfect Pleasure cushion was created. The first of many real solutions for real people. This mission goes so far beyond the personal struggles of Deanna, however, as there are millions of people who suffer from sexual dysfunction due to different kinds of disabilities. The Perfect Pleasure cushion is a unique solution endorsed by conference speaker Dr. Tepper that allows hands-free use of toys and positionary support for sexual intercourse. You can view the Positions & Possibilities Guide in advance of the event demonstration, which will include a special hands-on game for attendees. For more information visit


Our next panelist is Kalie Kubes. Kalie is a hard of hearing University of Texas graduate with a BS in Youth and Community Studies. In addition to having a hearing loss, Kalie has battled multiple chronic illnesses and chronic pain her entire life. She currently works as a Medical Assistant at Planned Parenthood where she enjoys educating patients on safe sex, healthy relationships, birth control, and prevention of STDs. Kalie will contribute to the conversation through her thought provoking experiences with having multiple disabilities.


Panelist, Nick Winges-Yanez, MSW, PhD Candidate will be discussing intellectual disabilities and sexuality - After many years working in direct social services, Nick received her BSW and MSW from Portland State University and is currently completing her PhD. Her research uses the work of Foucault, proposing a genealogical framework to examine how sexuality has historically been used to define and oppress individuals labeled with intellectual disability.  Nick previously completed a qualitative study interviewing queer-identified youth about their experiences with sex education in schools. Currently the Education Coordinator at Q Toys in Austin, Nick approaches sex education with a background in queer and feminist theory and a focus on improved sexuality discourse and access to pleasure.

We are very excited for our final panelist, River of The Juicy Truth. River became a surrogate partner because her purpose in life is to promote the evolution of our species through healthy, authentic, sexual expression and intimate relationships. A surrogate partner works in partnership with a talk professional, such as a therapist, to support the client.  The surrogate partner is a substitute partner for clients who want to improve their sex and intimacy skills, but have no practice partner.  Clients have an opportunity to experience intimacy and develop new skills and capacities with a trained professional. River also founded and co-hosts the Surrogate Partner Salon, a free monthly gathering in Austin of therapists who work with surrogate partners or seek to work with surrogate partners, and two professionally certified surrogate partners.  The Salon is an opportunity for those of us within the field to hone our skills.  Find out more about the surrogate partner process, the Surrogate Partner Salon, and River at her site:

Bethany Geham explains challenges and barriers Deaf community experiences with receiving sexuality education and quality sexual health services.