Intellectual Disability and Sexuality
I've written before about the widespread (and completely erroneous) assumption that adults with intellectual disabilities don't have sex drives and therefore don't need education about sex, sexuality, and sexual safety. http://www.girlwiththecane.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=161&action=edit
It's not only erroneous, but completely unfair. People with intellectual disabilities have the right to be in relationships and, when the time is right for both, to express physical love for each other. They may need counseling for longer periods about the potential consequences of decisions of sexual activity...but then again, plenty of people go off and have sex, presumably having gone through sex education in high school, still believing things like "Women can't get pregnant the first time they have sex". *Everyone*, people with intellectual disabilities included, needs good, quality sexual education.
But, we already know that I have strong feelings on that. And I've certainly thought about sexuality issues for people with physical disabilities - but issues for people with intellectual disabilities have always dominated, because of the work that I do. Until recently, after some conversations with some women with physical disabilities. And then I saw the news about this book on Twitter, which made me think even more.
This blog is about how pleased I was to see that a book about sex has been written for people with all sorts of disabilities.
"The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability": For All of Us Who Live With Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness"
Because, like accessibility issues, most people just don't think about how a physical disability and/or illness and/or chronic pain would affect their sex life until it becomes an issue. And there simply aren't enough resources out there to help people navigate sex and disability, given that sex is such a difficult issue for so many people to talk about to begin with.
With so many professionals saying that sexuality is such an important part of our make-up, there's no way that this part of life should just be expected to end because of a disability or illness or chronic pain. Sex and disability should be able to co-exist. I'm happy to see that "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability" has been published. I hope that it helps people to discuss issues around disability and sexuality with partners, medical staff, and care providers, and that the people they talk with will be open to hearing the information that the book presents. Open, non-judgmental dialogue about this subject is very important.
I may even buy "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability" myself...learning is always a good thing, right?