Many people with a learning disability want to have loving relationships, and sex – just like everyone else.
In the UK, the age of consent for any form of sexual activity is 16, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Just like everyone else, people with a learning disability have the right to a physical relationship, as long as they have the capacity to consent to one.
Personal and sexual relationships can bring happiness, fulfilment, companionship and a greater sense of choice and control to the lives of people with a learning disability, and as such, should be supported.
Accessible information about relationships and sex
Sex and relationships education is really important when supporting people with a learning disability. People who receive effective sex and relationships education usually have better sexual knowledge, better sexual health, and reduced vulnerability to sexual abuse.
Sex and relationships education for people with a learning disability should provide support and guidance on a range of topics, including:
- consent and communication
- the physical and emotional aspects of sex and relationships
- safe sex and contraception.
- It should also acknowledge and support the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with a learning disability.
CHANGE has produced a series of easy-read booklets on sex and relationships, designed to teach people with a learning disability about these topics.
Love doesn't discriminate
"I love him the way he is."
We dream of a world where people with a learning disability have the same opportunities in life as everyone else – and that includes the right to a loving relationship.
Watch our #CelebrateTheLove video.
How to get the support you need
Phone or email our Mencap Direct Team for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at FamilyHub? This is our online community for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability, and is a place for sharing experiences, advice and support.