Sex and disability
Most disabled people and their partners have more pressing matters to discuss with their GP, other medical professional or social worker, and many don't know who to turn to with their questions. In addition, society seems to have an inability to consider sex and disability in the same context. This results in a negative impact on the lives of millions of disabled people and their partners.
Myths about sex and disability
The emotional impact of having a long-term illness or disability is often overshadowed by a focus on physical and/or cognitive impairments, this adds to the invisible shroud that feeds the myths and misunderstanding surrounding this subject:
- Disabled people donít want or need sex
- Disabled people canít have sex
- Disabled people would only want to have sex with each other
- Disabled people arenít sexy
- Isnít it wrong for disabled people to have children as they will pass on their disability to their kids
For many people this can have a devastating effect on their existing relationships or their ability to develop a new relationship.
Areas to explore
Understanding your impairment and its effects on oneself is a good place to start. Things to consider include:
- Medication and side effects
- Pain and discomfort
- Continence and continence aids
- Body image
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Manual dexterity
- Erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness
- Time and planning.
Get more information about sex
Our Sex and Disability Matters service at WDP includes a display of sex aids at the Centre for Independent living in Beaufort Street, and information about access to shop that sell sex aids. We have a unique Sex and Disability Matters Information File which is full of leaflets, fact sheets and other useful resources relating to sex and disability that have been produced from the leading national charities including Multiple Sclerosis Society, Arthritis Research, Spinal Injuries Association and Parkinsonís, etc. In addition we have collated a variety of learning materials including books and videos.
Check out our Sex and Disability Matters training sessions that are available to staff from health and social care providers, personal assistants and support staff. Although our staff are not professionally qualified in the field of sexual health matters, a small team have attended training, and/or can use their own lived experiences to help you.