It is easy to think that it is all too much and all too scary to try and advocate for disabled people and their sexuality. It is also scary to talk about it, and in some cases, want to experience sex, whatever that may be for the individual.
Look at society, it is more sexually orientated than ever before, sex is mainstream and it is available at our very fingertips. Anyone tried Tinder?
The disability sector is seriously lacking in this area, but not for the lack of trying. However, the trying is not happening on a regular basis.
It isn’t about putting disability and sex in a bubble, but sooner or later, young people living with a disability will need to accept that, yes, you will require very frank and open discussions to achieve this.
Organisations have tried, to open up these discussions by running workshops and having information days. These attempts by the disability sector to have conversation are not a free ticket to getting laid however.
The reason why workshops and information days haven’t been well attended isn’t an easy question to try and answer. They have a danger of bringing on more frustration, but it is a start at least.
However, there is no doubting that disability organisations in New Zealand could be doing more, but those who have tried to broach the subject of sex have been met with disappointment.
This is not down to disabled people having no desire for sex.
Would it be fair to say that a lot of disabled people, especially those with very high-care needs, have adopted a thinking that doesn’t help the cause?
That thinking is that sexual experience is in the too hard basket, and this is where organisations and advocates need to sit down together and have very open conversations.
How do you remove the mindset of sex being in that too hard basket?
The bigger picture is key. It is more than just the act of sex, many physically disabled people cannot have penetrative sex and instead will rely on experimentation in the bedroom. The use of sex toys to reach pleasure is one thing, but out of all the discussions that have been had about the “ins and outs” of sex for disabled people, it hasn’t been stated enough that each disabled person is different and will have certain requirements and assistance in order to achieve something close to a normal sex life.
It isn’t a question of resources or interest by the people, it is a question of if those people really want to put themselves out there and try to broach the subject.
Sex shouldn’t be so taboo for the disability community, but at the same time, it is up to that same community to help those who are trying to make a difference.
This is done by speaking out.