People With Intellectual Disabilities About Sexuality: Important Implications for the Development of sex Education
D. Schaafsma1,3, G. Kok1,3, J.M.T. Stoffelen1,3, L.M.G. Curfs2,3
1Maastricht University, Work and Social Psychology, The Netherlands
2Maastricht University, Clinical Genetics, The Netherlands
3Gouverneur Kremers Centrum, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Existing sex education programs have failed in involving people with intellectual disabilities (ID) in the development of these programs, which decreases the likelihood that the sex education program will be effective. This study was conducted to assess the perspectives of people with ID on several sexuality-related topics. Semi-structured interviews were held with 20 people with an ID. The reported frequency of sex education the participants receive is low. Their knowledge regarding sex education is mainly limited to topics such as safe sex, contraception and STI’s and tends to be superficial. Additionally, knowledge on safe sex does not always translate to safe sex behavior. Finally, relationships are important for most participants; mainly because they don’t want to be alone. There is a need for high quality sex education. Sex education should be lengthier and taught more frequently, focusing on a variety of sexuality-related topics. Furthermore, sex education should include the improvement of sexuality-related skills as well. To increase the likelihood of a program to be effective it is advisable that a theory- and evidence-based framework is used for its development.