Harmful beliefs about disabled women’s sexuality 141
Harmful belief: Disabled women cannot have sexual feelings
Like other women, women with disabilities have sexual feelings. But
members of her family or community may think she should not or
cannot have sexual feelings.
Sometimes, a woman with a
disability comes to believe she does
not have sexual feelings and no one
My deafness does not prevent
me from having sexual feelings,
just as wearing glasses does
not prevent you being thirsty or
will be sexually attracted to her or
want to have babies with her. If a
woman is born with a disability, or if she became disabled as a young child, she may
have a hard time believing she is sexually attractive as she grows and develops. If a young
woman becomes disabled when she is starting to explore her sexuality, her self-image
may be hurt and she may not believe she will ever have a sexual relationship.
Even an older woman who has developed and experienced her sexuality may
change how she feels about her body after becoming disabled. She may think she is
not sexually attractive anymore or feel sad that sex would be different now. She may
not realize she can continue to enjoy sex.
Harmful belief: Disabled women always want sex
Some people think women with disabilities—especially women who have difficulty
learning or understanding—always want sex. But this is not true.
Just like any group of women, disabled women have a variety of preferences.
Some like to have sex often, and some do not like to have much sex at all.
Like any woman, a woman with a disability should be able to choose when she
wants to have sex. And every woman must be able to say no to sex she does not want.
Prevent sexual abuse of girls and women who have trouble
learning or understanding
Many girls and women with disabilities do not get enough attention or
chances to develop the close relations they need.
If you are left at home or ignored by your family, you may be lonely
and look for a friend or someone else who will pay attention to you. Other
people can mistake this need for attention with a desire for sex. Or they may
try to take advantage of you, because you are alone or because they believe
no one will care if they hurt you.
It can also be hard to express what you really want, especially if you have
not been taught about sex. It is very important to learn about your body and
about sexuality. Someone you trust can help you protect yourself and make
good decisions about sex.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007