People with a disability can have a full range of sexuality and relationship experiences, as discussed by a panel at a recent Disability and Sexuality Forum in Melbourne. Each panel member spoke openly about their disability, their sexual experiences, and what social and emotional barriers they have faced.
They echoed what was recently written by a young woman in The Guardian: “I am learning that disability and sex are not mutually exclusive, and I love the journey that comes with it.”
Wellways attended the forum to learn about sexuality issues facing people with disabilities. The main message is that sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human and brings many physical and mental health benefits, whether a person has a disability or not.
The subject of sex and disability has cast off its once-taboo status and is now in the spotlight, driven by disability advocates, people with disabilities, therapists, educators…and now ongoing questions about what the NDIS will and won’t fund. The latter could include professional sex therapy, to provide sex education and guidance, and sexual services for people with disabilities.
As noted in The Conversation, “…disabled Australians should be entitled to assistance for everyday tasks, whether that means going to the shops to buy some bread, visiting friends, or hiring a sex worker to satisfy their needs. It should be up to their own discretion to choose how to use their allocated services.”
Among some Scandinavian countries, people living with a disability are able to access government-funded sex therapy as part of their rehabilitation and community living re-integration programs. In Denmark, public funds can be used for a person with a disability to access a sex worker at least once a month.