Did you know that most teens with disabilities are unaware of issues related to sexuality? This is due in large part to the fact that we live in a culture that is non-inclusive of individuals with disabilities. Lack of sexual education for and media representation of persons with disabilities is a testament to that non-inclusion. Disability Living is changing that by providing a fact sheet about sexuality for teens with disabilities.
If you are a teen with a disability, it’s understandable that you have questions about your sexuality.
While this fact sheet won’t cover every question you may have about sexuality, it will answer some of the major ones. Below are a few facts about sexuality as it relates to disability.
Facts about sexuality for teens with disabilities
– Individuals who have a disability are sexual beings; a disability does not take away that fact.
– About half of all people with a disability are not sexually active.
– Almost all people who have disabilities are able to have sex (http://www.abilities.ca/family_life/1999/03/01/growing_pains/).
– If someone is unable to function sexually, he or she is still a sexual person. Visit http://www.scisexualhealth.com/sandd.html to read more about this.
– “Having a disability does not make you less attractive or desirable.”
– Individuals with disabilities must guard against sexual abuse. This is because about “83 percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime.” Educate yourself about staying safe, be on your guard, and refuse to be a part of that percentage of women.
Many teens with certain restrictions worry that those they are attracted to will reject them based on their disabilities.
This is not necessarily true. Dr. Miriam Kaufmann, author of Easy for You to Say: Q & A’s for Teens Living with Chronic Illness or Disability, comments that all teenagers, disabled or not, have fears of rejection. But teens with disabilities have a tendency to worry that they will be rejected because they have a disability. Kaufmann reminds these individuals that “everyone else is feeling the same way – including those cheerleaders with the short skirts and flipped up hair.”
The teenage years can be difficult enough without adding to them the stress of not understanding one’s own sexuality.
As a teen, we know you understand just how difficult it is to live with a disability. One of the main reasons for this difficulty is the fact that society is not always welcoming of those with disabilities. It is easy for someone with a disability to feel like “the odd person out.” But the truth is, you’re not odd, you’re just you.
Make it your goal to take care of yourself; part of that includes understanding your sexuality. Continue to seek quality education about disability as it relates to sexuality. And remember, you are wonderful just as you are.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Why do you think it is such a common misconception that people with disabilities are not “very sexual”?
What other questions do you have about sexuality? How will you go about finding the answers?