Ouch talks sex for 100th edition

Presenters Kate Monaghan and Rob Crossan with panellists Daryl Beeton and Asta Philpot Presenters Kate Monaghan and Rob Crossan with panellists Daryl Beeton and Asta Philpot

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The BBC's long-running podcast on disability, Ouch, has reached its 100th edition. Producer and journalist Damon Rose talks about the programme and what the Ouch team do differently.

Rather than doing a self-indulgent retrospective of our show for this milestone, we decided we'd tackle the one thing disabled people always seem to want to talk more about, that's sex and relationships.

Asta Philpot can't use his arms or legs and appeared in one of those programmes where disabled people get taken to a brothel in Europe to have their first sexual experience.

Start Quote

Another issue we discussed... was what to do if you fall in love with your careworker and the feelings are not reciprocated”

End Quote Damon Rose Ouch producer

It seems the general public are very interested in this subject, too, because there have been quite a few of these now.

'Solo sex'

But what interested us about Asta was something we didn't see him talk about - the fact that he was 24 and hadn't even had what I'm going to call a 'solo sexual experience'.

Finding someone who can 'see past your disability', as they say, and have sex with you, almost becomes a secondary issue to the main issue I'm cleverly skirting around - the near explosive need to get some kind, any kind, of relief. How do you do that if you can't move or touch yourself? One of Asta's friends had suggested his parents could 'help' - a thought which, unsurprisingly, he rejected.

We'll be very interested to hear what our listeners think, and have responsibly given warnings about the content, giving two opportunities for people to turn off before we start.

Radio is a lovely, intimate medium on which to have an in-depth discussion about this. If the BBC doesn't do this, we asked ourselves, then who's going to do it?

Sack the careworker

Another issue we discussed at length on the programme was what to do if you fall in love with your careworker and the feelings are not reciprocated.

If I recall correctly, the studio consensus was that you would have to sack them, which feels harsh and potentially on the wrong side of employment law.

All this slightly uncomfortable talk just serves to highlight the immense complexity that can occur in a disabled life and how there are many subjects that haven't yet been explored.

Damon Rose Damon Rose: If the BBC doesn't do it, who will?

The one thing we love at Ouch is the minutiae of disability. Myself and Emma Tracey make up our small team. We're both blind, not a prerequisite for the job, more of an accident really, and perhaps because we understand the many different ways we have to juggle our own access needs - mobility, pre-planning, guide dog care, difficult conversations, misunderstandings and subsequent blind person neuroses - we have a good inkling about how others in similar positions might feel.

High heels

With the podcast we do a blog and bits of radio here and there, and we jointly collected the journalist of the year gong at the Diversity Awards this time last year.

The monthly show is usually made up of interviews with people we find fascinating, and we've been trying to grow our own disabled stars for a number of years now.

We like to take disability seriously by not taking it too seriously. Like with an article we once ran about disabled girls who want to wear high heels.

Oftentimes it takes a trivial feature or interview to make your disabled audience members sit up and realise you know who they are.

  • Listen to the Ouch sex special by going to their website

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