It has been said before, but society in 2016 is highly sexualised.
Young people in particular are often focused on their image and what that means to others. With so many avenues providing instant gratification, including sexual gratification, the disability sector has a long way to go in order to address the general public in a way that will help youth.
There are a lot of assumptions that are made about disability out in public, and like anything, the mainstream idea of disability is either to pity or to portray as inspirational. In terms of sexuality, a lot of people think one or two common things:
- Physically disabled people are paralysed, so they can’t feel their intimate areas.
- It hurts the physically disabled to have sex, so they don’t.
The assumptions aren’t limited to that however. Perhaps not to the fault of their own, another idea people have is that those living with a disability have far bigger problems in their day-to-day life, so therefore, there is no room for sex.
Everybody has problems, disabled or not, and the question then becomes do people realise the positive therapeutic effects that sex can have for somebody?
If therapeutic, is it time that disability organisations started taking a harder look at the entire area of sex, intimacy, and how that can be worked for someone living with a disability. Or, is it not up to these organisations to tackle such an area?
Many organisations in the disability sector cringe at the idea of lobbying the government to take a more serious look into how the sex lives for disabled people can be addressed.
One organisation The Real Michael Pulman spoke to said that sex is a personal responsibility, but what happens when a disabled person is so limited that this is not possible? Should it just be forgotten about?
With that said, many organisations do offer help to the people they support in the area of sex.
Advocates have tackled nearly every other aspect of disability and often they’ve done this directly speaking to the community.
Why not sex?
The problem facing anybody trying to advocate for the sexual expression of disabled people is that sex, by its nature, is such a dividing subject. Another problem these advocates face is the disabled people themselves, because research shows, a lot of disabled youth and young adults have a very negative view of themselves and their ability to engage in sex.
Being sexy, in many ways, is being confident in ones self.
What also must be kept in mind that many in the community are parents of disabled children and youth, and often, they won’t go near the subject either.
Yes, disabled people are very vulnerable, but is it not their right to make a decision on how to discover sexual pleasure?
That brings the conversation, very often at least, onto the subject of sex workers.
The sex industry in New Zealand is alive and well, but a lot of people still think that prostitution is still illegal.
For a disabled person, as bad as it may sound to some people, seeing a sex worker is often the only way a sexual experience is possible.
That in itself opens the door to another lot of assumptions.
Depending on where you look, some sex services that are on offer are actually of very high class, are clean and professional, and aren’t riddled with dodgy drug dealings behind the scenes. It would be fair to say that no one wants to lose their virginity to an escort/sex worker, disabled or not, but that doesn’t mean that a person utilising that service should be condemned for doing so.