Last reviewed: July 2016 | Next review: Currently being reviewed
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.
Our vision is 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.
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.
Many people with a learning disability would like to pursue intimate or sexual relationships, but they face multiple barriers to developing such relationships, including the following:
Meeting people is more difficult and social isolation is common.
People are not receiving adequate relationships and sex education to give them the skills and knowledge to have healthy and fulfilling friendships and relationships, and to understand and explore their own sexuality.
There is often a lack of privacy which restricts opportunities to explore and understand sexuality.
The balance between risk and rights for people with a learning disability engaging in intimate or sexual relationships is often biased towards restricting their choices, both within family settings and other living arrangements.
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