It took a long, awkward conversation with her family for Emily Yates to get her head around sex. Emily is a travel writer, presenter, businesswoman, and wheelchair user from Glasgow.
“If you’re disabled it’s very likely that many of the adults in your life might never consider you as a sexual being, so all the usual safety advice and strategies aren’t discussed.”
The struggle is real. According to the Leonard Cheshire charity, only 50% of surveyed disabled people received a sex education in school, despite sex being a huge benefit to general health.
“There are few subtitled and audio-described videos … and the bodies in these videos and photos rarely reflect disability of any kind.”
We at Dancing Giraffe think this is unacceptable. Everyone has the right to enjoy their sexuality, and the responsibility to do it safely. Fortunately, some groups have come forward to help, and we can help you find them.
Firstly, EnhancetheUK have the most comprehensive guides, split into two initiatives. Both feature a variety of articles and short videos which offer advice on things from flirting to penetrative intercourse. They are Undressing Disability and The Love Lounge.
Secondly, there is the SEAD project, which ended in 2015, but keeps it resources freely available online. They have plenty videos, guides, and other learning resources covering all aspects of relationships and sex.
Thirdly, MENCAP have loads of sex and relationships info geared towards people with learning disabilities.
“Some people think that disability isn’t sexy … having sex with someone who has a disability is seen as wrong.”
Emily encourages people to fight this misperception. She’s having great sex, she is proud to say, and she wants others to do the same. That is why you will find her featured on EnhancetheUKs website, fighting for the cause.
“I do think change is coming and I’m proud to be a part of that change.”
We are proud to be a part of the change too. Are you?