Disability and getting ready to have sex

Sex is an important part of life, and it can be great. Sex should be an equal, positive and happy experience for you. You have the right to be seen and accepted as a person with sexual wants, wishes and desires!

No two people’s sex lives are the same.

Getting ready to have sex also means becoming more independent. You have the right to privacy in your sex life. This is true, even if you may need support from your parents in other parts of your life.

You have the right to be included in sex education, and to learn information that is useful to you.

Sex education in school and college

You may not get the information at school that you need. Asking the right questions may help.

As a young adult, you have the right to learn about sex, and for those lessons to include people with your condition or impairment.

You may have to ask for the specific information you need. You should learn about:

Asking for adjustments

You have the right to be included. Ask for any adjustments that you need.

The information must:

  • apply to you
  • be presented in a way that you understand

For example, if your condition means that you find it difficult to open a condom packet, the person teaching you will need to find another way to make this work for you.

Teachers should not say “I don’t know”. If they cannot help you, ask them to find someone who can. They should also respect your privacy. You can ask for a private session on your own if that is what you want.

If you’re not getting the information you need

If you have questions about sex and you do not want to ask them in a lesson, ask someone you trust. For example, a school counsellor, a teacher or anyone you know who can help you. Tell them what you want to know about and why. You can ask them not to tell your parents.

Getting support

You can ask questions about sex and relationships in Scope’s online community.

Outsiders is a social, peer support and dating club, run by and for disabled people. You can email them for advice and support. They also provide people who can give you advice and support called ‘sexual advocates’. They can:

  • explore what sex means to you
  • help you to make appointments to get sex advice from people like doctors and counsellors

Sexual advocates can also help you to have difficult conversations with other people. For example, talking to your parents about having some time on your own. This could give you the chance to masturbate if you want to.

Disability Horizons has resources for online dating and a forum.

You can look for people with similar interests or who are in a similar situation to you can also help. Search for local groups on sites like meetup.com.

Why you want to have sex

Thinking about why you want to have sex may make it easier to talk. If you can both say ‘yes’ to all of these points, you might be ready for sex:

  • you could say ‘no’ if you wanted to
  • nobody’s forcing you, pressuring you or making you
  • you have made a connection with someone, and you both feel ready
  • you do not want to have sex to keep a partner or to make you popular
  • you’ve talked about using contraception, such as condoms
  • you’ve agreed what happens afterwards including if you will tell your friends and what might happen if you get pregnant or catch an sexually transmitted infection

Learning what feels good

Touching your body and finding out what feels good will help you become more confident about sex. This usually means learning to masturbate.

If you cannot touch your genitals or touching them is painful, there are other techniques you can try.

Making a new erogenous zone by Mik Scarlet, (explicit, Vimeo)

Find out what positions work for you. Try using props to make yourself comfortable if you need them. Chairs and other props designed to help disabled people have sex are also available.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 14/02/2019

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