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Eddi Gell talks more about Sex, Intimacy and Disability

Our latest project is all about destigmatising the conversation around sex and relationships for disabled people. Our project lead, Eddi Gell, explores some statistics below which highlight why we want to open this conversation and make the voices of disabled people affected by this topic heard!

Please complete our survey and help us build the foundations of this campaign with your views at the heart of it.

“44% of Britons would not consider having sex with someone who had a physical disability” (Mann, 2014).

“Sexuality is a basic citizenship right” (UNCRPD, 2006).

“Lack of adequate sexual education can increase chances of sexual assault and victimisation” (Campbell, Löfgren-Mårtenson & Santinele Martino, 2020, p361).

3.7% of disabled adults reported experiencing sexual assault within the last year, compared with 1.9% of non-disabled adults (in three years ending March 2018) (Office for National Statistics, 2019).

With sexuality being a basic citizenship right, disabled people have a right to have intimate and sexual relationships with others, if this is something they would like to do. However, there is still stigma surrounding sex, intimacy and disability, shown in the statistic that 44% of Britons would not consider having sex with someone who had a physical disability. This stigma could lead to confidence and self-esteem issues, particularly for young people, who may believe they are undesirable and will be unable to find a relationship. This is where the podcast can help: by hearing experiences of other disabled people who have had healthy and fulfilling sex and relationships, it provides an alternative possibility to what is often portrayed in the media.

Furthermore, adequate and inclusive sex education is essential for safe and pleasurable sex and relationships. A 1.8% difference in reported sexual assaults in the space of a year between disabled and non-disabled adults is staggering, especially considering the disabled community is a minority group within society. These figures also do not account for cases of sexual assault which are unreported. By providing inclusive, accessible information about sex and relationships created specifically for disabled people, we hope to educate individuals on how to keep themselves safe and reduce the risks of sexual assault and victimisation.

This project will refer to lived experience and use terms utilised by podcast guests and members of our community, as well as using technical jargon to ensure everyone can understand what is being spoken about and learn from it. This “ignored curriculum” can make information regarding sex and relationships clearer and more relevant to people’s lives, which can lead to deeper levels of understanding and information retention.

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