Where There's A Will

Turns Out Grindr Is A Godsend If You’re Gay, Twentysomething, And Disabled


Grindr can all-too-easily become a time-sucking vacuum that snags you in endless convos with headless torsos, but for many gay men, it’s an essential tool in their dating arsenal.

That’s certainly the case with Josh Hepple, a twentysomething with cerebral palsy. He published an article in The Guardian about exactly how the dating app has revolutionized his romantic life.

“Sex and disability are rarely thought of in tandem,” he writes, going on to describe himself as having “a fairly stereotypical lifestyle for someone in his mid-20s in central London.”

Related: This Bathhouse-Loving Disabled Adult Film Star Hopes To Break Into The Gay-For-Pay Genre

But there are a few major differences:

” I use a wheelchair, I have jerky involuntary movements, I rely on assistants 24/7 and I have a speech impairment. At the same time I have a good sex life and really enjoy challenging men’s conceptions of disability.”

His assistants have now become accustomed to his many “walks,” the euphemism he uses to announce an imminent Grindr adventure:

My assistants are now entirely used to me sitting there on the hook-up while they feed me my dinner rather than feeling apprehensive around the infamous orange glow.

The assistants always disappear in one way or another before any encounter. I keep what I tell guys to a minimum.”

Related: What It’s Like To Date Someone Who Is Disabled (According To My Non-Disabled Exes)

When they arrive, Grindr dates are often “perplexed” by the situation. “It doesn’t help that I live in student accommodation and quite often the guys think my panic cord flushes the toilet,” he writes.

It’s not unusual for guys his age to initially respond with apprehension:

People walk towards me and then turn back. When I check my phone I see that I’ve been blocked (even though I do emphasize the extent of my impairment many times before meeting). I know plenty of my non-disabled comrades also get blocked, but it took some time to get used to. I remind myself that it’s just sex and nothing more.

On the other hand, men in their 40s and older tend to be more comfortable with the situation:

When it comes to Grindr I generally go for guys around 40 as they tend not to have any issues with my movements. I meet around three a week (if not more) and have rarely had a bad time.”

Since he’s unable to masturbate, he instead relies on the kindness of strangers, which he thinks “raises a few issues.”

Is this dignified? Luckily, I have had many, many great experiences. I acknowledge that not everyone who has issues with masturbation may feel comfortable asking men on Grindr (especially if they are straight) to help them perform the deed and possibly go further, yet it would automatically, by definition, turn into sex work if I relied on paid support. I am not sure of the best solution.”

Related: My Big Fat Disabled Relationship: Finding Love When You Have A Disability

Since joining Grindr 18 months ago, he’s met 60 or so men — and he’d never had any sexual encounters prior to that. Overall, he’s found the experience “unbelievably rewarding and liberating.”

It is a far cry from how I am often treated in public. I guess you could argue it’s a case of equality between the sheets rather than in the streets.

The whole article, worth reading in its entirety, can be found here.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #life #cerebralpalsy #grindr stories and more


  • markgtx11

    Surprised so many gay men on Grindr are so inclusive and non-judgemental when it comes to sex with physically challenged individuals. Sounds like this guy has them lining up. I wonder if he would have the same experience in a more social setting like a gay bar?

  • Baba Booey Fafa Fooey

    Good for him. Everybody deserves love. Glad he finds his. Often!

  • Kim K Kute Kuchie

    He must be hung given he’s got 60 guys in 18 months.

  • Heywood Jablowme

    @markgtx11: hmm… I bet in a bar, guys might be skittish about approaching him because everyone in the bar would be observing the interaction. Also they wouldn’t have any info about the disability, what it was, what he can do sexually & can’t do sexually, etc. In this case all that stuff would be easier to explain beforehand in writing.

  • Marquize88

    I definitely understand how he feel. I am deaf, but most guys seem go to their way to avoid me. Communication is not an issue because I have plenty of ways to communicate with them. Gays can be hypocritical as hell because they beg for unity, but never give those who is disabled an chance to show them that they are more than their disability.

  • ChrisK

    @Marquize88: Everyone has a disability when it comes to this. Age, race, weight, attractiveness, etc.

  • DMRX

    @ChrisK: How horribly rude of you to attempt to equate “age, race, weight, attractiveness, etc.” with Marquize88’s actual, real disability.

  • DMRX

    @markgtx11: If you bothered to actually read Josh’s last quote in this article, he answered your question.

  • Aromaeus

    The only way you can strike out on grindr is being non-white and not thin or well built.

  • ChrisK

    @DMRX: You’re right. That’s as bad as being old and say Asian on Grindr.

  • Nekobot917

    @ChrisK: lol the imaginary “hiearchary” in which white men pretend they are more attractive than anyone else and try to get others to believe so through opinions and propaganda… I don’t think thats true at all unless you’re stupid enough to believe this.

  • ChrisK

    @Nekobot917: Ok. I guess all this time me hearing the “I’m not into Asians. I’m not into blacks” was just my imagination. To this day I”m never heard “I’m not into whites”. So yeah, there is a hierarchy. It’s all BS but it is reality. Not propaganda.

  • Nekobot917

    @ChrisK: Exactly propaganda. Stop being generic, only other white men or people with low self esteem who’ve been brainwashed by the media will say this, I see people say they arent into white men all the time, I’m not into white men. If you would leav your small bubble you could see that too. The irony of a white man saying he isnt into asians when there isn’t much difference between one and himself…

  • markgtx11

    @DMRX: I did–was just wishing he had expanded on it for contrast. Thanks.

  • SonOfKings

    @Nekobot917: Nah…you’re being disingenuous. There is a racial hierarchy favoring White males that is very pervasive among gay men in their twenties and early-to-mid thirties. Once White men start getting close to forty years old, and gravity and weight starts setting in, they start to lose their advantage and men of color begin to steal the stage. So yeah, there are a lot of people “not into White men,” but I suspect they’re talking about White men past a certain age and body mass index. The gay world, in North America at least, still holds fit White men in their twenties and thirties as the top of the food chain. And the complacency that results is what causes White men to fall from grace later on.

  • ChrisK

    @SonOfKings: I followed your logic and mostly agreed with it. There is racism and a hierarchy for sure. I also agree that right behind racism is ageism and yes those same white gay men will eventually see the same discrimination applied to them. That’s the beauty and tragedy of it all. Time is the great equalizer of us all.

    The other factor is that men mature at say 40. Allot of things are happening along with giving up nonsense notions of superiority.

  • ChrisK

    @SonOfKings: I also agree that you guys have had to deal with this your whole life. We get older and it seems we lose that privilege overnight. Much harder to deal with being relegated to the outside when it seems like yesterday you were at the top of it all.

  • radiooutmike

    I’m coming into it after people here have described that privilege being lost. So, I never had a golden time of gayness, at least in regards to youth and virility.

    But, I get a lot more sex now that I am out, in any case.

  • Nekobot917

    @SonOfKings: I can guarantee you are a white male who thinks this because he’s white and simply glorifying his own image. No one believe this except the small circle jerk white men adhere too, you people are overly delusional while bearing no qualities better than anyone else by far.

    It’s like you wont admit this “hierarchy” is an entirely fictional thing created and promoted by the same group of people using deception and nothing else. Like you want people to believe what you think is true, simply “because”.

    And no, people aren’t simply talking about white men past a certain body index or age, many people don’t like different aspects of them, but this is a foreign thing to you, because you will continue to believe whatever you want is true, so long as it favors the delusional mindset you’ve created in your head.

Add your Comment

Please log in to add your comment
Need an account? Register *It's free and easy.