Disabled people’s access to sex hindered by ideological barriers

Whether we choose to admit it or not, people with disabilities are not seen as being capable of having a “normal” sex life.

Disability is so often looked at in a negative light, especially by the outsiders looking in. When it comes to sex and intimacy; it’s a discussion that’s been brushed under the carpet for decades.

The biggest question is why? Why has this been a discussion too difficult to be had?

Sex education, as it pertains to those with disabilities of all kinds, needs to be on the agenda more. The access issues that disabled people face to sexual expression and experience are also very real. Those issues are misunderstood by the non-disabled community.

Funding Sex Workers For People With Disabilities

The Government pours billions of dollars into health budgets and social investment plans each year in New Zealand – and it’s time that investment helped people with very high needs disabilities toward a better accessible sex life.

Legislation in the Netherlands and Denmark supports Government investment for disabled people using sex services. In Britain, a programme called ‘Putting People First’ funded a young man to fly to Amsterdam and visit a sex worker, with all expenses paid.

In other areas of the UK, some local councils revealed they had used ratepayers money towards similar schemes in situations where it was deemed that the disabled person “couldn’t achieve sexual expression and release in any other way”.

No such funding models exist in New Zealand.

“Doing Things For People With Disabilities”

Perceptions and decisions have been made about “what’s right” or “in the best interests” of people with high needs disabilities, including those with intellectual impairments. The notion of someone with an intellectual disability choosing to see a sex worker is immediately seen as unsafe, or inappropriate.

This gets back to the discussion about consent and informed choices. But there is a fine line between informed choice and being talked out of doing something. Can we really deny that this doesn’t happen?

Like other areas of a persons life; sex and intimacy is another example of many people with disabilities (as well as their families) being afraid to have a discussion. There are so many reasons for that, and it will vary from situation to situation.

Let’s just stop and look at what’s happening in our society today.

Sex matters, for the good and the bad, because it is a normal part of the human culture. Let’s not put up yet another barrier for people with disabilities because we can’t look past our own definition of “what’s right”.