Ready Sexy Able Resources
Talking About Sex and Relationships: The Views of Young People with Learning Disabilities The best example I’ve seen of accessible research. The study was designed to meet the accessibility needs of young people (ages 16 to 25 years old) with learning disabilities. The researchers used unusual research methods – acting out fictional scenarios about sex and relationships – which helped participants communicate thoughts and ideas they had trouble communicating. This report is written in plain language – simple, clear wording and an easy-to-follow layout – and includes a summary written in even plainer language and pictures. Though parents and teachers of young people with learning disabilities were interviewed for this study, the report prioritizes the data gathered from young people themselves. This is such an important study both for how it was done and what the researchers learned. Important concerns the participants brought up included:
- Professionals not listening to them or taking them seriously
- Not knowing where to go to meet with friends and pursue relationships.
- Not getting clear, accurate sex and relationships information in accessible formats.
Disability After Dark A podcast on all things sex and disability – from porn to consent laws, from negotiating threesomes to navigating attendant care – self-titled “queer cripple” Andrew Gurza tackles all the tricky issues. As of November 2017, there are sixty episodes. You can listen to and download them here.
The too hard basket: A Radio Documentary. A journalist with physical disabilities explores the importance of human touch. He shares his own experience of disability and sexual/intimate loneliness, and speaks with other people who have physical disabilities, and to sex workers about the work they’ve done with disabled people. Listen to this hour-long radio documentary
Dementia and Sexuality A person’s sexuality is with them for their entire life. It might change, dramatically, but it doesn’t go away with age or illness. Watch this nursing researcher talk about the issues that come up with sexuality and dementia. Note: This video doesn’t appear to have subtitles, or a transcript, which would usually disqualify it from the Ready, Sexy, Able resources. Because this topic is so important, and isn’t talked about often enough, I’ve chosen to include this video for people who are able to access audio information. Click here to find this presentation on Youtube.
Facilitated Sexual Expression in the Independent Living Movement in Ireland Bonnie Selina’s 2002 Master’s Thesis explores facilitated sexual expression for people with physical disabilities in Ireland. her research focuses on the ethical and legal implications of disabled people using personal attendants to assist with sexual needs they’re physically unable to fill without assistance. Selina presents the results of her interviews with several disabled people, as well as legal experts, and makes recommendations that can be used in Ireland and elsewhere to protect personal care attendants’ employment rights and meet the sexuality-related daily living needs of disabled people. Click here to read this paper
Sexuality and Access Project This 2009 project investigated how sexual health and sexual expression affect working relationships between disabled people who use attendant care services and the people who provide those services. The project looked at the conflicts between disabled people’s right to sexual expression and need for sexual healthcare and attendants’ right to a workplace that isn’t sexualized. Read a summary of the research and download a full report
On Seeing a Sex Surrogate Most people know about Mark O’Brien, if they know about him at all, as the disabled man receiving services from a sex surrogate in the 2012 movie The Sessions. His own words are more powerful than any movie in explaining his sexual confusions, desires, and experiences. [Read Mark O’Brien’s essay
Queer Disability ListServ learn more here
Queer Disability Conference (2002) Several of the papers given at this conference can be read here, tackling topics such as invisibility, navigating both queer and disability communities, and understanding queer disability theory and how that plays out in practice. Visit the conference archives here.
A Witness To Courage: Dave Hingsburger From Robin: A Witness to Courage is my touchstone, the piece I reach for when I need to validate that talking about people with all disabilities and validating our sexualities is important. Read this short essay and keep tissues handy.
SexAbled: Disability Uncensored Students at UC Berkley chat candidly about their desires and experiences with sexuality and relationships. click to watch the video, or use the player below
Undressing Disability Campaign. Promotes sexual health awareness and sex ed for people with disabilities. Visit their Web site to learn more.
Making Sex Toys Accessible (and other resources from Come As You Are) Tips and tricks, written for consumers with disabilities. Includes suggesting toys and modifications to accommodate both reduced and heightened sensation, reach problems, and other physical considerations when using sex toys. [learn more here]
Mitchell Tepper, Sexologist Dr. Tepper is a pioneer in the sex and disability fields. He is a researcher, writer, coach and consultant specializing in people’s experience of spinal cord injury. [learn more here]
Robin Wilson-Beattie Robin believes “that everyone should be able to experience giving and receiving pleasure, regardless of ability.” She offers workshops and one-on-one consultations. [learn more here]
Sexability Written by and for people with disabilities, Sexability promotes education and empowerment around sex and intimate relationships. Rafe Bigs, PhD shares his personal experiences with disability, sex and sexuality, and relationships. Click here to visit the site.