Disability and Sexuality Forum 2010 - Dr George Taleporos


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Presentation by Dr George Taleporos from field - Disability and Sexuality Forum held on Thursday 18 March at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, Preston.

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Disability and Sexuality Forum 2010 - Dr George Taleporos

  1. 1. SEXUALITY & DISABILITY Presenter: Dr George Taleporos Overview PhD Themes – PWDs talking about sexuality Sexuality – A Rights Framework
  2. 2. By Benjamin Seaman
  3. 3. “ Pete and I met on Intro Line. I called him to me and the Universe brought us together. He is the one true love of my life. Pregnant with our second child, I feel complete. I’m happy in a way that I’ve never been before. This body has finally done something right. My disability is irrelevant where it really counts. I’m all woman. I can give and receive sexual pleasure. I have the ability to create and to nurture human life. I can love. That’s what matters in the end …    
  4. 4. … People with disabilities love just like anyone else. We have the right to a sex life. But we also have the right to relationships and family… We are often denied the right to such fulfilment. Ableist attitudes make it hard for us to form intimate relationships. Our society has a long way to go. But we must not allow that to stop us from finding happiness. Katie Ball (1966-2004) – Intimate Encounters
  5. 5. Social Attitudes Toward Physical Disability and Sexuality <ul><li>Rodocker and Bullard (1981, p.278) argued that the problems people with disabilities face in sexuality “… more often reflect attitudinal barriers set up by our culture and accepted by both disabled and non-disabled persons rather than actual physical limitations on sexual functioning”. </li></ul>
  6. 6. PhD - Key Themes … <ul><li>Sexual Frustration </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty Establishing Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of Relationships </li></ul>
  7. 7. Qualitative Data – Sexual Frustration <ul><li>“ Yeah, it’s really hard because guys expect you to be able to get into 101 different positions and I’m lucky if I can get into three!” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>“ I cannot lie comfortably and my movements are limited because of the types of disabilities that I have, so you can’t enjoy that part of life – I am really angry and frustrated about it.” </li></ul><ul><li>   </li></ul><ul><li>“ I try to be 'positive' about my MS but sexual inadequacy is a constant reminder.” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dealing with the practical aspects of the disability can be really frustrating, like bowel and bladder regimes.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Qualitative Data – Sexual Frustration <ul><li>“ The disability is affecting my sexual enjoyment very much because I can no longer do sexually what I used to be able to do when I was able bodied.” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>“ My sexual expression is greatly reduced on the physical side. I mean, I know that there are many other modes of sexual expression, but I still crave and grieve those physical expressions that I no longer have.” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>“ I feel so frustrated that I’m unable to do what I could before my injury. The inability to have sexual pleasure and to find sexual partners because of the disability is very frustrating.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Qualitative Data - Difficulty establishing relationships “ A lot of people have difficulty seeing past the disability and they no longer see you as a sexual person. Of course there are exceptions, but they are very few.” “ No guy wants you if you’re disabled. I can’t compete with able-bodied girls.” “ Some girls get very uncomfortable when the conversation turns to sex. I think they don’t know how to deal with the idea that a disabled guy is interested in them sexually.”
  10. 10. Qualitative Data – Difficulty establishing relationships “ Having an acquired disability, you really notice how people treat you differently after the accident. It’s very obvious. You can see how easily some people can become conditioned to feel negatively about their disability.” “ There's no question in my mind, some people don't think of me as a potential partner - or reject me outright, there’s a subtle difference - because of my disability. I've spoken to many other people with disabilities about sex and relationships, and most say the same thing. People may accept you as a friend but they won’t even consider a sexual relationship with you.”
  11. 11. Qualitative Data – The importance of relationships “ I used to think that no-one wanted me but now I’ve realised that it comes back to my self-esteem. I’ve realised, since I met my current partner, that I reject potential partners rather than the other way around.” “ My disability isn’t really a problem sexually because I’ve got a caring partner who is willing and able to work with me.” “ Since my injury I get a lot of my enjoyment from pleasuring my partner, like when I give her oral sex, which I’m really good at. I love watching her squirm, that makes me feel really good.”
  12. 12. Sexuality – A Rights Framework … <ul><ul><li>The right to be treated as an adult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right to knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right to be sexual and take risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right not to be at the mercy of the individual sexual attitudes of different care-givers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right not to be sexually abused   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right to humane and dignified environments </li></ul></ul>