Our sexuality and relationships vision for people with a learning disability

Personal and sexual relationships can bring happiness, fulfilment, companionship, love and a greater sense of freedom to the lives of people with a learning disability .  

We want a future where the sexual identity, and personal and sexual relationships of people with a learning disability, are recognised, accepted and respected.

We want individuals to be empowered to have positive, healthy, informed and safe relationships.  


What Mencap think - Easy Read

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Relationship statistics for people with a learning disability

Many people with a learning disability say that relationships are important to them. But only 3% of people with a learning disability live as a couple, compared to 70% of the general adult population.   

A photograph of two young men sitting smiling at the camera. One of the men has his arm around the other.

Challenges to overcome

Many people with a learning disability would like to pursue intimate or sexual relationships, but they face multiple barriers to developing such relationships. Including barriers like:

  • Meeting people is more difficult and social isolation is common.  
  • People not receiving adequate relationships and sex education to give them the knowledge to have healthy friendships and relationships, and to understand their own sexuality.   
  • A common lack of privacy which restricts opportunities to explore and understand sexuality.  
  • The balance between the risk and rights to engage in intimate relationships often restricts their choices within family settings and other living arrangements.  

Where to get support

You can always phone or email our Learning Disability Helpline for more guidance and information.

There is also our online community where parents and family carers of people with a learning disability share their own experiences, offering advice and support.

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