MYTH: Youth living with disabilities are childlike and sheltered.
Many youth with disabilities will go on to have fully consenting sexual relationships and some studies found that they were more sexually active than their non-disabled peers.3
MYTH: Sex is private.
There is a contradiction for people living with a disability and need help with personal care. On the one hand personal care involves allowing parents and caregivers to help with intimate care. On the other hand, youth are told that their sexuality is private (e.g., don’t talk about sex, don’t ask questions). Teach about private body parts, behaviours and places and help children understand that intimate care is part of hygiene, not sexual activity. Help them understand boundaries and when to ask for help or report a problem.
MYTH: People with disabilities can’t have real sex.
Definitions of sex are personal and include far more than the physical. Sex includes thoughts, feelings, attraction, sharing, being liked by others and how to give and receive affection.4
MYTH: People with disabilities don’t need sexuality education.
Sexuality may not be a priority for families who feel frustrated that they must focus on their child’s major health problem or issue.2 However, children and youth who do not receive sexuality education that is inclusive to their needs, are at risk for abuse, sexual exploitation, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, social isolation, and lower quality of life.5