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Houston, Texas

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Sexuality and Reproductive Health--Information

Sexuality and Reproductive Health Table of Contents

Women with disabilities may not receive the same amount of sexuality and reproductive health information, from the same sources, as non-disabled women, and they obtain less of their education through sexual experience.

  • A study compared the sexual knowledge, feelings, and needs of mostly women, but also some men, with physical disability and mild intellectual disability, with those of the general population:
    • People with physical disability had less sexual knowledge;
    • People with physical disability had less sexual experience;
    • People with physical disability had more negative attitudes toward sex;
    • Half of people with disabilities had never had any sex education;
    • People with disabilities were less likely to get sexual information from their family and friends;
    • People with disabilities were more likely to get sexual information from media, such as TV and magazines, or formal classes.
  • A national study that focused only on how women with physical disabilities learn about sexuality also found that they were more likely to learn about sexual intercourse from college courses. However, they found that overall, women with disabilities got sexual information from the same sources, and at the same age, as women without disabilities.
  • Overprotective parents and caregivers may prevent teens with disabilities from learning about and experiencing sexuality.
  • Studies indicate that women with disabilities have strong, often unmet needs to experience dating, intimacy, and sexual interaction, but they lack opportunity for sexual expression and lag behind their peers in sexual experience.
  • Health care providers, assuming that women with visible or disfiguring disabilities are not interested in sex or not sexually active, are less likely to offer information on birth control, safe sex practices, sexually transmitted disease, and possible effects of their disabilities on sexual response than they are to women without disabilities.

Reproductive Health Information for Women with Disabilities, an educational module

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