“We don’t really need to talk about that” was the response of some support personnel, and parents said things like, “My son/daughter doesn’t need to be exposed to that!” Generations X and Y have grown up with the cliché, “Knowledge is power! Having sessions about sex and relationships at a conference for youth leaders with disabilities caused a stir among everyone the youth.
Tuppy Owens is the founder of Outsiders, a group providing peer support and dating opportunities for physically and socially disabled people.She also set up the Sexual Health and Disability Alliance (SHADA) for health and social care professionals.Failing to recognise service users as sexual beings confirms to them that their bodies are simply a part of them which experiences pain and causes them inconvenience and embarrassment. They may need support to gain body confidence, acceptance and pride.Once a little sexual confidence is achieved, they may be ready for sex: perhaps first with a professional to learn what their bodies are capable of and how to please a partner.As you can imagine, when disabled people start to enjoy sexual pleasure, they become much happier and will be far easier and more delightful to work with.
You will see the looks of joy on their faces as they find sexual happiness and perhaps fall in love.One of our patrons gave this advice to disabled men who feel nervous about approaching a woman: “Finding a lover/partner is all about maximising circumstance: make them laugh; be very polite, and figure out what they want and give it to them. Few say they want someone to climb Everest with them.Usually, they want respect, appreciation, someone to listen, but overall the best aphrodisiac is laughter.Some common myths about people with disabilities and sex (Kaufmann, Silverberg & Odette, 2003) say that people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses: These myths are why students with disabilities are kept out of sex education classes and why they are not taught self-defense, and these myths perpetuate the idea that youth with disabilities are less than or different than other youth.Parents and family members can support healthy sexual development of youth with disabilities by taking the POWER Approach, developed by the National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth.Online Dating Experts provides a good guide and there are clubs and special interest groups and online forums.