Why Aren’t We Talking About Disability and Sex?

Most young people spend a lot of time talking about sex with their mates. All sorts of sex in fact – the other sex, our sex, how much sex, good sex and bad sex. We’re quite prepared to be upfront about the fact we think talking about sex (and thinking about it too) is totally normal and completely healthy.

Then something came along which made me realise that there was one aspect of sex we didn’t ever talk about. That something was an Oscar nominated film performance from an actress called Helen Hunt. The film is called ‘The Sessions’ and it’s all about disability and sex. I realised that we haven’t been talking about disability and sex. The issue is being brushed under the carpet and that’s not healthy. I reckon it’s time to get talking.

THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT DISABLED PEOPLE GETTING SEX AT SCHOOL EITHER

Sex education at most schools school is usually only really focused on relationships between people who don’t have a disability. This can mean young people with a disability are not informed about sex and relationships. Think it through and you start to realise this can add up to the idea that sex isn’t for disabled people. Reflected in the views of wider society it becomes a taboo subject.

You’ve probably seen or at least heard of the Channel 4 programme ‘The Undateables’. It’s basically a dating show for people with disabilities. The show challenges the view that having a disability somehow makes you asexual or non-sexual. It shows that disabled people, as much as anyone, want to find a partner for sex, love and all the other stuff boys and girls (or boys and boys, and girls and girls) do together.

Some people are concerned that the programme exploits people in the show. Actually, the name of the show give’s the wrong impression and is rather exploitative. ‘Undateable’ in who’s views – who is to judge. Jumping to conclusions about exploitation can result in sexual rights being compromised, leaving people feeling as if they can’t, or have no right, to sexually express themselves.

THE GLEE OF SEX

As mentioned above sex and disability is topical with the release of ‘The Sessions’. It tells the true story of a man with a man paralysed from the neck down who uses a sex surrogate to lose his virginity. The film challenges the view that people with disabilities do not want to have physical relationships. The idea that people with disabilities don’t possess sexual desires means that these desires are overlooked.

The film shows a man overcoming his own insecurities and fighting for a right that he feels he deserves. The film has done a great job at getting people talking and bringing issues into the spotlight.

Sex and disability aren’t addressed together much in films and TV. But remember when Artie from Glee lost his virginity to the hot cheerleader? One of the things that he said was that he wasn’t even sure he could have sex after his accident. This is a common worry and one that may make people cautious of entering into a relationship in the first place.

WHAT IS A SEX SURROGATE?

A sex surrogate is not the same as a prostitute. Sexual surrogacy is based around therapy and involves attending a number of sessions over some months. A surrogate addresses psychological as well as physical issues.

People with physical disabilities who rely on a carer find it particularly hard to have sexual relationships. Often people’s carers are their parents, who may be overprotective making it even more difficult to express sexual desires.

On one hand this can result in feelings of isolation and even shame. However some parents who are carers pay for sexual surrogates for their children when they are old enough. It isn’t part of life that a parent expects to be involved in so it can be difficult. But being open about desires can avoid resentment as it acknowledges the validity of sexual feelings.

There are some agencies that are especially for this who find sex workers for disabled people. They work within the law, have been vetted and are used to working with people with disabilities.

IN THE NEWS – SUS-SEX

Back in March sex and disability were in the news when it was revealed that sex workers were being used in care homes in Sussex. The revelations had a mixed response. Some people are concerned that this opens the door to the possibility of exploitation. Others defend it, saying that the sexual surrogates are doing something that care workers are unable to, both morally and by law.

For some, using a sex worker and knowing that they can be intimate, can give the confidence that they need to be in a relationship with a more long-term partner. Learning that they have some physical sexual capability to back up their sexual desires raises their self-esteem.

Others may not want to use a sex worker and would prefer to wait until they are in a relationship. Going back to Glee, Artie was upset that he lost his virginity through ‘meaningless’ sex – albeit as an expression by a caring friend. He was excited to lose his virginity as he wasn’t sure he could have sex. After the encounter he was left wishing he had waited.

You can make your own mind up about whether first sexual encounters are always meaningful. However this reaction in itself is a reflection that people with disabilities experience the same worries about sex and love as anyone else.

SO, LET’S GET TALKING

There’s a lot to consider. Some have concerns that the use of sex workers could lead to abuse of vulnerable people. While sexual desires are important, exploitation is a concern. Although if you follow the thought that sex workers are themselves being exploited the question becomes who is exploiting whom.

For this reason it is important for there to be open and honest conversations about the issues. By doing this, disabled people can feel that any sexual desires they have are normal.

Half of the battle is making society more aware of the issues; this is first step to combating stigma on the subject.

Why Pornography Should Be Introduced and Critiqued In Sex Education Programming At All School Levels

The phrase love that dare not speak it’s name was coined by Lord Alfred Douglas. It first appeared in his poem, “Two Loves,” printed (in the Chameleon) in 1896. It’s a reference to homosexual love, in Lord Alfred’s case, of Oscar Wilde, who was subsequently charged with gross indecency. Homosexuality was a criminal offense in England and just about everywhere else in the 19th century. Today, there is another sexual outlet not so much forbidden as not addressed in polite or other society – a new form of love the name of which sex educators dare not speak: pornography.

This is most unfortunate: a new study suggests that while parents may not be aware of the fact, pornography is the leading sex educator of the young. Alas, the porn industry has no interest in serving a sex education function and certainly does not do so, at least not in a positive, constructive or healthy fashion.

Porn is pervasive, particularly where it is most highly censored. China, for example, is the world’s leading consumer of porn. Jerry Ropelato, author of “Internet Pornography Statistics” at the research website Top Ten Reviews, notes that $3,075.64 is spent on pornography every second of every day. In this one-second period, 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography and 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Two of the top twenty search terms are teen sex and teen porn. The pornography industry has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. Data from 2006 reported worldwide pornography revenues at $97.06 billion.

Australian researchers David Corlett and Maree Crabbe filmed 140 interviews with young people in what was called “The Reality and Risk Research Project.” They discovered that teens are increasingly turning to the net for sex education. (Source: Denise Ryan, “Teachers urged to address porn factor,” The Australian Age, February 13, 2012.) Porn sex education exerts a destructive influence in the lives of the young. One of the investigators said, “Every young person we interviewed told us that pornography is a significant part of youth culture and particularly of young men’s lives.” She added, “Pornography has become harder, rougher, more hardcore.”

Porn, as you might expect, does not commonly offer instruction in matters relevant to conventional sex education (e.g., the nature of contraception, the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, the value of intimacy, principles of effective relationships). On the contrary, what it inadvertently communicates to young men, according to “The Project” research group, is reckless, coercive and abusive treatment of women. There is an absence of realistic perspectives and a dearth of respectful treatment of sexual partners. In addition, sexual practices of an unsafe nature are commonplace. While informed adults may have the maturity to manage such depictions, teens with little or, more often, no sexual experience clearly do not.

Since parents usually cannot keep porn from being accessed one way or another or one time or other by their children, the more likely best strategy is to include porn awareness in sex ed instruction. This is the focus of efforts by “The Project” team. Several grants have provided the resources to prepare and test programs for use in training sex education teachers for varied school grade levels. While teachers need skills to address this issue, teens need exposure to effective critiques of pornography’s representations of gender and sex. Among the objectives of the Project team is to develop teaching materials that present diverse scenarios for classroom discussions that will enable young adults to distinguish between what they see depicted in porn and reality.

The overwhelming majority of parents believe their child has never seen pornography. However, a 2003 Australia Institute investigation citied in the Australian Age article cited above reported that 84 per cent of boys and 60 per cent of girls had access to sex sites on the internet. A 2006 Australian study of youths aged 13 to 16 found that 92 per cent of boys and 61 per cent of girls had been exposed to pornography online.

Of course, Republicans in this country might favor a simpler solution: Pass new laws banning pornography or otherwise make it nearly impossible for young people to gain access to it. Given the widespread availability of social media of all kinds in the wired culture of our age, a reliance on censorship does not seem promising (not to dwell on the consistency of such a Draconian tactic with that troublesome First Amendment in America). Good luck cutting off porn – shy of creating a police state. Better sex education is cheaper and quicker, more likely and better suited to personal liberties and sound education.

Everyone, including the young, needs a broad set of knowledge and critical thinking skills to reject a sexuality that eroticises degradation and violence, glorifies unrealistic body types (particularly large breasts and out-sized penises) and undermines relationship elements founded on respect, courtesy and the common decencies.

It is hard enough in the current climate of Right Wing evangelical Republican culture war wedge politics to gain acceptance for sex ed of any kind, let alone adding porn assessment to the mix. If a school board or individual educator in this country tried to address pornography, he or she would be cited by Santorum, Romney or Gingrich as an example of what’s wrong with Obamacare. Try dealing with this crisis only if willing to deal with a firestorm of controversy from the Right.

Yet, all evidence and the lessons from Prohibition and the Comstock era suggest that ignoring or trying to repress the pervasiveness of pornography as it affects youthful sexual expectations and behavior is pernicious and irresponsible.

In my view, we need to make clear as part of sex ed that porn has nothing to do with love. We dare not NOT speak its name – and dare NOT ignore the reality of pornography’s dreadful influence on the sexual miseducation of the young. If this upsets Republicans, well, that’s just too bad. If they had enjoyed better sex education, they might be more sensible about such things – and probably less interested in porn, as well.

Be weller than well, give ’em hell and try always to look on the bright side of life.

What Are The Normal Sex Positions During Pregnancy

In every woman’s life, sexual needs and desires change as the body changes during pregnancy. As the abdomen swells and the breast grows bigger, you find out that sex positions which are once comfortable and exciting becomes painful and unpleasant. The only thing to do is to try other sex positions with your partner so as to keep the comfort in your sex life.

Lots of women lose their sex desire late in pregnancy; it is not only because of their size but also they are preoccupied with the future delivery and the anticipation and excitement of becoming a new parent.

Thus, sex position like the woman on top is a great position as it takes the pressure off your abdomen and allows you as the woman to control the depth and frequency of push and power. This is sex position is enjoyed by both partners as it also gives the man great view opportunity.

Also, sideways sex position is also good during pregnancy in the sense that it keeps weight off your abdomen and supports your uterus at the same time since both of you lies on your sides facing each other. Also it helps both of you to be very intimate since you are facing each other.

Woman on back is also good thou not recommended after the fourth month of pregnancy whereby you should stop lying with your back as the weight of your uterus could block blood vessels that supply your leg and uterus. It is just like the missionary position only that there is no added pressure to your uterus or abdomen. You as the woman lie on your back and raise your knees up towards your chest. Your partner will then kneel between your legs and enters from the front. You can even add a pillow to your buttocks for more comforts and rest your feet on your partner’s chest for support.