10 responses to “Give Teens With Disabilities Access to Sexual Education”

  1. Heather Corinna


    Just a P.S. to this, we are always in need of more people with disability to help actively help support our users with disabilities at Scarleteen, so anyone who is on board with this blog post and wants to get proactive? Please drop me a line, we could use your help!

  2. Heather Corinna

    I’m so flattered!

    I agree, continued outreach is key, though we do get a lot of users with disability who do find us. Some of the major barriers we hit with those users is a) not having enough of us around who also have disabilities to talk with them from a place of having been there, and b) so little research and information to draw on outside Scarleteen with certain issues and disabilities, and so few other resources to get those users to for more information. :(

    But I so agree with you, that inclusion is such an issue, and that a big part of disability inclusion is also inclusion re: orientation, gender, non-binary thinking about sexuality, the works. And EVERYONE benefits from that, because simplistic, binary approaches don’t tend to serve anyone well.

    I also agree that addressing sexual abuse in and among the disabled population is so, so freaking important, and that some of that IS giving sex ed. Lord knows the world should have learned this just by how women’s sexuality was presented by now, but if we treat a group of people like they are not sexual, or less than human, we not only keep them from their sexuality, we put them at greater risk of being sexually abused and exploited.

    Just so in love with everything you have said here today.

  3. Isabel

    This was a really informative post, and super right no, thank you.

  4. KJ

    I work for at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. The number of clients who have experienced sexual abuse is shocking. I have to say though, the agency I work for does make an effort to educate clients. However, parents/families of clients sometimes are the biggest problem, as some object to sex education and reject the idea that their adult children might want to have sex. Some also withhold permission for their adult children to go on birth control. If the parents/family are the client’s legal guardian, we can’t educate without their permission.

  5. Keenan Wellar

    What can I say you are not the first to draw attention to this issue but it is very well written and the message never seems to get through so let’s all keep after it. Sex education needs to be a right not something parents or agencies can deny. I have tweeted your blog from @getbuzzed and others are as well.

  6. Marge

    FPA did a big campaign on this a couple of years ago: http://www.fpa.org.uk/News/Campaigns/Itsmyright/posters (heteronormative?)

    I’m with KJ – the problem with sex ed often isn’t with professionals (though it sometimes is), but with parents/carers. Especially people with learning disabilities – I’ve heard parents say “She’s not interested, she doesn’t need to know”. If you start talking about the protective role of sex education they basically go “lalalalala I can’t hear you”. Their kids are not sexual beings to them and that’s the end of it.

    I once found, in a big box of ‘things we should have sorted out a long time ago’, some sex education stuff for people with Spina Bifida from the 70s proving that people have been trying to put this on the agenda for a long time. Though the advice that if you have a colostomy/urostomy bag then you can put a multicoloured patchwork bag over it for sex is awesomely 70s!

  7. Corina Becker

    I think this issue should be addressed very much.

    once, when I worked for a satellite TV provider, a father insisted that the adult content he was being billed for was incorrect, as his disabled daughter was the only one home at the time, and there was no way that she would be interested in it.


  8. Bonnie Sayers (autismfamily)

    I have utilized these visuals for my teens on the spectrum

    .-= Bonnie Sayers (autismfamily)┬┤s last blog ..In My Mind Book Review =-.

  9. Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone

    Thank you for this article. Too often the fact that there are sexual adults with disabilities- or that we would want sex, particularly for those of us with developmental Disabilities- is ignored or even out right denied.

    I have read some horrible discussions on parent lists debating birth control for young women with Developmental Disabilities. The camps usually break down to these: “I won’t put her on BC because she’s not ever going to need it” (Denial of sexuality) or “I am putting her on BC because I know that there’s a good chance someone will take advantage of her” [sometimes coupled with the old “and she will never be able to handle having/raising a child with or without a partner”] (Paternalism). Rarely do the parents who are considering BC for their daughters “Because I recognize that she is physically and sexually maturing and may choose at some point to be sexually involved” speak up in these discussions, and the parents who also happen to be disabled themselves become more and more frustrated.

    :-/ Additionally, finding sex ed stuff that is accessible is not always an easy task. Thank You, Bonnie, for the link you provided in your comment BTW, I will have to share it!
    .-= Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone┬┤s last blog ..Charities =-.