Sex and Disability


In an article on the Huffington Post entitled Sex and Disability: How Would it Change Your Life?, Richard C. Senelick, M.D. examines how healthcare professionals and the general public often experience discomfort when discussing sexuality and disability as well as sexuality among the elderly population.

This article begins with a nice discussion of sexuality that transcends the purely physical components of sex. Dr. Senelick offers a broader definition, articulating that "Sex is not just the ability to perform the motor aspects of sexual activity, but includes the behavioral and cognitive components as well: what we say, see, smell and hear. It is a combination of communication, feelings, interests and desires."

He concludes with a framework for examining how disability may impact one's sexuality using three categories: maladaptive cognitive factors, interpersonal relationships, and psychological state. He raises helpful questions around sexual identity, fear, self-esteem, and prior relationship dynamics that may be helpful for anyone who wishes to know more about sexuality and disability.