Sex and Disability

At The CSPH, we want to affirm the sexualities (and provide resources for) those whose lives are impacted by any range of conditions that might be categorized as disabilities or potential handicaps when it comes to operating in the world, be they related to mental and/or neurological health, cognitive development, physical ability, injury, learning styles, etc.

We also want to acknowledge that most (if not all) definitions of disability also serve to reinforce ideas about “what is normal” (and assumptions that normal means good or healthy), and the reason why we have these resources up here is an attempt to address a wide variety of bodies, ability levels, and people. We want to assert that resources should be available for people along every life path, and that all people deserve good information about sexuality and health. It’s our belief that these should not just be reserved for those society deems “mainstream,” and that worthwhile, accurate information needs to address the multiplicity of people, conditions, and experiences (both physical and emotional) out there.

By including resources here, we are not necessarily endorsing all the information provided, so please check sources and make your own decisions about the content. Furthermore, not all of these necessarily have entirely friendly language, but might have important facts/good suggestions, so they are included. If you have any resources to add to this list, or have any concerns about the information listed here, please email aida@thecsph.org!

The CSPH would like to give thanks and credit to SIECUS for the resources found on their Sexuality & Disabilities Bibliography. We would also like to thank Robin Mandell and Dr. Ruth Neusifter for sharing their resources from the workshop “Ready, Sexy, Able.”

Web Resources

Gender/LGBT/Female-Friendly

Bent Voices

Bent was a web magazine by and for disabled gay men. No longer updated, there is a comprehensive archive of Bent features from 1999 to 2006.

Center for Research On Women with Disabilities

Associated with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, CROWD promotes, develops and disseminates information to improve the health and expand the life choices of women with disabilities. Results of their research into sexuality and other issues is available on their site.

Deaf Queer Resource Center

The Deaf Queer Resource Center (DQRC) is a national nonprofit resource and information center for, by and about the Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex and Questioning communities (the “Deaf Queer community”).

Disabled Feminists

Disabled Feminists is an archive of articles about disability from a feminist perspective. This link leads directly to their posts tagged with Sexuality.

Gender Equality in Athletics and Sports

This article at The Feminist Majority Foundation website discusses the unique discriminations and barriers to participation/encouragement/availability women with disabilities face with regards to sports.

Mobile Women: Sexuality and Relationships

Mobile Women is an online magazine for women in wheelchairs. Their Sexuality and Relationship section addresses romantic and sexual concern from the perspective of people with limited mobility.

Women with Disabilities on Anti Violence Issues

This page maintained at the Feminist International Radio Endeavor features podcasts relevant to women with disabilities combating sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Sexuality and Disability

Sexuality and Disability is a website that starts with the premise that women who are disabled are sexual beings – just like any other woman. The site is constructed as a bunch of questions a woman with a disability might have – about her body, about the mechanics and dynamics of having sex, about the complexities of being in an intimate relationship or having children, about unvoiced fears or experiences of encountering abuse in some form.

Disability and GLBT Issues Resources

Benchmark Institutes resource list includes web sites as well as physical publications on the topic of disability in GLBT communities. An educational institution which develops and delivers training to public interest lawyers, paralegals, clients and other service providers whose work requires legal knowledge, this list is maintained as part of the mission of empowerment.

GLBT Disability Support Services

Shameless: The ART of Disability (Trailer / Full Movie)

Art and activism are the starting point for a funny and intimate portrait of five surprising individuals with diverse disabilities. Packed with humour and raw energy, this film follows the gang of five from B.C. to Nova Scotia as they create and present their own images of their disabilities. Full movie is available for free.

Sex Ed for Youth

Outsiders – Sex Education for Physically Disabled Teenagers

Leaflet arguing for inclusion of issues facing physically disabled people in sexual education resources and courses aimed at adolescents. Details what is missing from current curriculums and includes guidelines for incorporating disability-specific information into courses. Aimed at sexuality educators and education policymakers.

Outsiders – Sex and Your Child with a Disability

Leaflet detailing the benefits of teaching children with disabilities about sex and sexuality. Aimed at parents of children with disabilities.

Talking About Sex and Relationships: the Views of Young People with Learning Disabilities (PDF)

This report talks about the Sex and Relationships project. This was a 3-year project that took place at CHANGE, a leading national organisation led by disabled people that is based in Leeds, in England, that fights for the rights of people with learning disabilities. Research was done by people with and without learning disabilities. The report is written in plain english so it is accessible to people with learning disabilities.

Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. provide sexuality education and an instruction manual for educators of individuals with developmental disabilities as well as a sexuality education instruction manual for parents of individuals with developmental disabilities. Both are in PDF form.

Sexuality and Persons with Disabilities

Article outlines some sexuality education topics for persons with disabilities in age appropriate categories.

Sexuality Meets Intellectual Disability: What Every Parent Should Know

Short article with guidelines for parents teaching sexuality issues to children with intellectual disabilities.

Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities

This page from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities includes resources and guidelines for teaching sexuality to people with a variety of disabilities.

University of Michigan Health System: Sexuality Education for Youth with Disability or Chronic Illness

YourChild is a website especially for parents about kids’ development and behavior. This resource list is dedicated to Sexuality Education for Youth with Disability or Chronic Illness and includes sexuality information as well as guidelines for teaching.

Advocates for Youth – Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth

Publication from Advocates for Youth on educating physically, emotionally and mentally challenged youth about their sexuality.

Elderly

The Surprising Erotic Life of Elderly, Disabled and Chronically Ill

A brief essay by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers describing ways couples have maintained loving sexual relationships when age, disability and illness have entered their lives.

Sexual Aids

Assistive Technologies Wiki: Sexual Positioning Devices

The Assistive Technology Wiki was created by Georgia Tech’s Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access and includes this page focused on sexual positioning devices for people with limited mobility.

Come As You Are: Guide to Sex and Disability

Come As You Are is a feminist-run online sex toy shop with a brick and mortar store in Toronto, ON.  Their site features a variety of articles on Sex and Disability and recommendations for toys and ways to adapt toys based on specific disabilities.  While a great resource for information on sexual aides, Come As You Are stocks some items that are made with unsafe materials (e.g. jelly rubber) and The CSPH encourages readers to independently research products before investing in specific toys.

Top 10 Ideas on Adapting Sex Toys

Here you’ll find suggestions on how to make sex toys more accessible, and some ways to think about choosing sex toys based both on your desires and your needs. First and foremost, adapting sex toys requires creativity and a sense of humor. In general, sex toys are poorly made and designed without much forethought. It’s all about figuring out how to make the thing do what you want it to do.

My Pleasure: Sex and Disability

My Pleasure is a sex toy store with a large sex education section, including a Sex and Disability section with specific toy recommendations as well as advice.

Porn For The Blind

Porn For The Blind provides narrated versions of porn clips culled from other websites. Narrations are provided by users, so quality/language can vary, and can involve quite a bit of giggling. There is no navigation to aid in finding specific sex acts and the focus seems to be mostly straight (clips from straightboysfucking.com, a site aimed at gay men with straight guy fetishes are included, for instance, are included.)

IntimateRider

The IntimateRider product is designed to help couples overcome physical mobility issues for a more satisfying sex life. The IntimateRider was created after realizing a need to address an issue that many couples experience in their personal relationships. Many couples live with a physical condition that prevent them from an enjoyable sex life. Arthritis, joint replacement and spinal cord injury are just a few physical issue that may hinder sexual relationships. The IntimateRider will help overcome these issues.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Brainline

Includes resources about intimacy and sexuality for people living with traumatic brain injury and their loved ones.

Better Health Channel – Traumatic Brain Injury and Sexuality

Basic information about sexual issues after traumatic brain injury.

Guide to Getting it on – TBI resource list

Lots of resources about TBI and sexuality from the folks behind the book the Guide To Getting It On.

Mobility Issues

New Mobility Message Board: Wheels, Relationship and Sexuality

New Mobility is a print magazine for wheelchair users. Their message boards include this section for discussing sexuality and relationships.

Mental Illness/Developmental Disabilities

Neurodivergent Sexuality

Neurodivergent Sexuality is a blog about sex, (a/)sexuality, and consent among people with mental illnesses and/or developmental disabilities. Reader submissions and new resources are posted infrequently but permanent features of the site include a variety of Sexual Inventory Checklist that can help neurodivergent individuals negotiate consent.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – Sexuality and Intellectual Disabilities

Answers to some common questions about sexuality and intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Multiple Sclerosis

Sex and Multiple Sclerosis – Outsiders

The vast majority of people with MS experience changes in their sex life. The reasons for these changes are not just physical – you may feel worried about yourself, your MS or your relationship, which may be spoiling your pleasure. This leaflet outlines some of the problems people with MS tend to encounter, and some strategies to get around them.

Top 10 Sex Tips for Men With MS

Sex tips for men with MS from about.com.

Top 10 Sex Tips for Women With MS

Sex tips for women with MS from about.com.

Sexual Problems and MS

Intimacy with your partner is part of a fulfilling life. Sometimes, though, the physical changes people experience and the psychological impact of these symptoms can make it difficult for people with MS to feel enthusiastic about their sex lives. The good news is that there are quite a few strategies that can help you manage these difficulties and get your relationship back on track.

Spinal Cord Injury

Scarleteen – Intercourse & Pleasure With a Spinal Cord Injury

Information about pleasure after spinal cord injury by Cory Silverberg.

SexSCI

SexSCI.me is for consumers and health professionals, to discuss concerns and issues regarding sex, intimacy and spinal cord injury and to also share tips and advice on topics relating to gender, sexual preference, parenting and fertility with each other, in a community forum.

LifeCenter: Spinal Cord Injury & Sexuality

Information about sexuality and spinal cord injury from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Wheelchair Sex – Love & Intimacy After Spinal Cord Injury

Information about many topics of interest to those with a spinal cord injury including catheters, fertility and wheelchair sex positions.

General Resources

CREGS

A collection of articles from the Center for Research & Education on Gender and Sexuality. CREGS believes that moving society closer to understanding the sexual realities of people with disabilities will result in greater freedom and expanded sexual literacy for all of us.  

Sexuality and Disability at Disaboom

The sex and disability pages on Disaboom cover a variety of disabilities as well as topics and issues common to living and loving with disabilities in a culture that is not always disability- or sex-positive. As well as issues of sexuality for all genders, they maintain a section listing topics specific to Women’s Health.

Disabled, Sexy, Proud

Facebook page with disability resources. Also gives people the opportunity to connect with others with disabilities.

Disabled World – Disability Sexuality and Dating

A nice collection of articles from Disability World, a site dedicated to providing any information and news that may be helpful to disabled folks.

Family Planning New South Wales Booklist

Located in Australia, Family Planning New South Wales advocates for and provides contraceptive, reproductive and sexual health information. Some of the books listed in their disability section are Australia specific, but most are available for mailorder or can be found from US retailers.

Fuck The Disabled

Fuck The Disabled is a Tumblr Blog about sexuality and disability. Frequent updates with news, opinions, reader submissions and links to further resources.  Their resource list specifically for spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries can be found here.

HealthyPlace – Sex and Disability

Articles about sexuality and disability from the largest consumer mental health site on the net.

Incurable Hippie: Disability and Sexuality Resources

An extensive list of resources, separated by topics.

Loree Erickson… Porn Star Academic

Of herself and her work, Loree writes, “I am a poly queer femmegimp porn star academic doing a PhD at York University. My work is a synthesis of theoretical engagement and critical artistic creation, both of which are motivated and shaped by personal experience and activist ideals. I want to replace the gawking, gazing, and glaring people with disabilities encounter on a daily basis with beholding, recognizing, and reacting when people with disabilities are red fucking hot.”  Her site includes academic writing, explicit visual materials and information about Erickson’s workshops and talks.

Loveology University’s Disabilities & Intimacy Course

The course on Sex and Disability is for everyone who is interested in sexual empowerment. It is a fact that everyone will find themselves disabled in or out of the bedroom during their lifetime and this course is a celebration of sexual expression that proves there on no barriers of the human spirit when it comes to love, romance, intimacy and sex. Included in the course are photographs of real couples making love by renowned photographer David Steinberg from his book: EROTIC BY NATURE: A CELEBRATION OF LIFE, OF LOVE AND OUR WONDERFUL BODIES.

New View Campaign

The New View Campaign was formed in 2000 as a grassroots network to challenge the distorted and oversimplified messages about sexuality that the pharmaceutical industry relies on to sell its new drugs. The goal of the New View Campaign is to expose biased research and promotional methods that serve corporate profit rather than people’s pleasure and satisfaction. The Campaign challenges all views that reduce sexual experience to genital biology and thereby ignore the many dimensions of real life.

Outsiders UK: Sexual Health

Outsiders UK is a club for people in the United Kingdom living with disabilities. They feature several articles about sexuality and sexual health.

Sexual Health: Ask an expert about disabilities and chronic conditions

Sexualhealth.com posts answers to reader questions by licensed medical professionals.

Sexuality and Disability Webliography

The purpose of this webliography is to help meet the sex education needs of individuals with disabilities, their carers, and professionals with an interest in the topic and to provide readers with easily accessible information, in a variety of formats, including plain language.

Susan’s Sex Support Site

The mission of Susan’s Sex Support Site is to provide education and support about sexuality, including information about anatomy, behavior, civil rights, abuse prevention, gender identity, disability, and relationships in easy to understand, sex positive language with extensive links to other resources and to be accessible & usable to everyone.

This is What Disability Looks Like Facebook Page

This is What Disability Looks Like seeks to counter messages that disability is a tragedy or inspirational. Their goal is to explore the rich representations of people with disabilies.

What? Disability!

What?Dis! is a tumblr dedicated to bringing together resources and creative means to bring awareness to Disability Rights Issues.

Organizations

LGBT/Gender/Female-Friendly

Breast Health Access for Women With Disabilities

This organization provides and advocates for access to breast health resources for people with limited mobility and/or vision impairment. They also publish downloadable pamphlets, including Adaptive Technique for Breast Self-Examination and, for gynecologists hoping to be more accessable to persons with disabilities, Table Manners and Beyond The Gynecological Exam for Women with Developmental Disabilities and Other Functional Limitations.

Rainbow Coalition for The Deaf

The Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1977. The purpose of this Alliance is to establish and maintain a society of Deaf GLBT to encourage and promote the educational, economical, and social welfare; to foster fellowship; to defend our rights; and advance our interests as Deaf GLBT citizens concerning social justice; to build up an organization in which all worthy members may participate in the discussion of practical problems and solutions related to their social welfare. RAD has over fifteen chapters in the United States and Canada.

Mobility Issues

MyHandicap

MyHandicap is an organization that provides information and community for people with disabilities. They have resources about being LGBT and handicapped, prostitution and sexual assistance, sexual education and dealing with acrotomophilia (attraction to disabled folks). There are German, Swiss and international branches of MyHandicap.

General Resources

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Answers common questions about sexuality and developmental disabilities.

Acsexxxable

Acexxxable is a canadian organization that advocates for and organizes disability accessible sex-positive spaces and events.  They facilitate workshops and organize sex parties and advocate aim to develop communities that operate with an anti-oppression framework that are also disability- and sex-positive.

International Deaf Leather

Organization for deaf members of the leather subculture.

Sex And Epilepsy

This page from the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance addresses sexuality issues and concerns related to living with epilepsy.

Sexual Health and Disability Alliance

The UK-based Sexual Health and Disability Alliance supports and facilitates the sex and relationship needs of all people with disabilities and campaigns to remove the stigma disabled persons experience.  Aimed at professionals who work with people with disabilities, the site features pamphlets outlining their suggestions on certain issues facing the relationship between them and their patients/clients.

TLC Trust

UK based TLC Trust advocates for access to sex workers for people with disabilities. They maintain a list of professional sex workers who are skilled with working with disabled populations.

University of Illinois-Chicago Sexuality & Disability Consortium

The SDC is a group of people working together to support people with disabilities. Their goal is for people with disabilities to have healthy sexuality and relationships that they choose. There are many ways to do this, through research and education. They provide training for people with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them. They pay extra attention to the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities because there is so little information that is accessible to this community. Their mission is to provide research, advocacy, training and education to support people with disabilities to enhance healthy sexuality and relationships. Their goal is to promote best practice approaches for people with disabilities, families, professionals, and policy makers, with a focus on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 

Articles/Publications
For Professionals
For Consumers

Books
For Professionals

For Consumers

 

 Curricula/Teaching Materials

Breast Health for Women with Intellectual Disabilities

When it comes to breast health, every woman, including those with special learning needs, should have access to the best available information. Using the included manual, slides, worksheets and laminated flashcards, this curriculum provides caregivers with everything they need to teach the practical steps to breast health, including self-examination, clinical exams and mammograms for women of all ages and different abilities. This curriculum enables care providers to educate women within their own family or agency on the importance of breast health. Breast Health for Women with Intellectual Disabilities is a complete curriculum designed by the founder of the Oak Hill Center for Relationship & Sexuality, with the support of The Connecticut Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Aetna Foundation.

Circles Curriculum – Intimacy and Relationships

Using a simple multi-layer circle diagram to demonstrate different relationship levels students will encounter in daily life, the Circles Video Modeling Curriculum teaches relationship boundaries to students with mild to moderate cognitive impairment.

Lesson Plans for Students of Differing Abilities

Provided by Alberta Health Services, this is a collection of resources for teachers whose students are of differing abilities. These lesson plans are of a general nature and can be adapted for students of different functioning levels.

Sexuality Education for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

This curriculum includes an instructor manual, 20-lesson curriculum and pre/post test kit. The curriculum is cognitively accessible for a variety of learners and comes with scripts, handouts, detailed pictures and teaching tools.

F.L.A.S.H. Special Education: A Curriculum in Family Life and Sexual Health for Middle & High School Students With Special Needs

A Curriculum designed by the Seattle Public Health Department’s Family Planning Program. Consists of twenty-eight lesson plans for ages 11-21. Topics include public and private relationships, communication, exploitation, understanding the body, reproduction, HIV and AIDS and other STDs.

Intimate Relationships and Sexual Health: A Curriculum for Teaching Adolescents/Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Social Challenges

This comprehensive and well-researched curriculum fills a long-felt need in the autism community – a frank, up-to-date resource on sexuality tailored to the unique characteristics of high-functioning adolescents and adults on the spectrum. Based on years of experience teaching sexual health and extensive familiarity with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, the authors present “all you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask/teach”, taking into the consideration the learning styles inherent in autism.

Introduction to Sexuality Education for Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind and Significantly Developmentally Delayed

This book is designed for parents, professionals, and other caregivers working with school-aged children who have combined vision and hearing loss or deaf-blindness coupled with significant developmental delays.  Each chapter takes an in-depth look at a particular aspect of developing sexuality for these children.  Information is included on (a) developing sexuality education programs in a school system; (b) teaching appropriate touch and modesty; and (c) instruction about menstruation, masturbation, coupling, sexual health, and sexual abuse.  The last chapter includes readings and resources. (The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness is located at the Teaching Research Institute in Monmouth, Oregon.  It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.)

Learn About Life Curriculum: Sexuality and Social Skills

Learn About Life is an illustrated sexual education and social skills program for secondary students with low or no reading skills. With candid graphics and simple text, it helps low level readers understand important sexual issues.

Positive Choices: A Program on Healthy Relationships, Sexuality, and Safe Boundaries for Secondary Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Positive Choices is an innovative program designed to increase critical judgment about relationships and sexuality. It was piloted in the Greater Hartford area with guidance from an advisory board of self-advocates, parents, educators, clinicians, and administrators.

Other

(Sex)abled: Disability Uncensored

(Sex)abled celebrates people with disabilities as sexual beings. This 14-minute film made by San Francisco State University students features the bright and lively participants of the discussion panel sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Disabled Students Union called “Are Cripples Screwed?”

Sins Invalid

Sins Invalid is a performance project on disability and sexuality that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized from social discourse.