1st Edition

Disability and Sexual Health A Critical Exploration of Key Issues

    The sexual lives of people with disabilities are rarely discussed. It is as if, because someone has a biological or psychological impairment, they do not exist as a sexual being. As such, many people with disabilities feel marginalised and powerless not only in their day-to-day lives, but also in their ability to form sexual relationships. A range of health issues are raised as a result.

    Illustrated by research drawn from a range of international contexts, Disability and Sexual Health: A Critical Exploration of Key Issues is the first to examine this important but seldom acknowledged issue. Beginning with an understanding of how both disability and sexuality are socially defined phenomena, the book discusses the implications for the sexual health of people with disabilities, from sexual health education and access to information to STDs and possible sexual exploitation. The book concludes with a chapter recommending inclusive practice in line with the aims of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

    Disability and Sexual Health will be important reading for researchers and students in health psychology, critical psychology and the psychology of sexuality, gender, disability and nursing. It will also be of interest to professionals working with people with disabilities in health care and social work.

    1. Introduction  2. Understanding disability  3. Disability, identity and ‘vulnerability’  4. Sexual health education  5. Sexual abuse and exploitation Chapter  6. HIV and sexually transmitted diseases  7. Disability and sexual reproductive health care  8. Inclusive practice


    Poul Rohleder is a clinical psychologist and reader at the University of East London, whose research interests cover psychosocial aspects of health, sexual health and disability studies.

    Stine Hellum Braathen is a research manager at SINTEF Technology and Society, Department of Health Research, in Norway. For more than a decade she has done research and published extensively in the area of disability and sexual health.

    Mark T. Carew is a Research Fellow at the Leonard Cheshire Research Centre, based at University College London. His experience and research interests lie in tackling problematic issues and barriers that affect people with disabilities globally, including exclusion from sexual health.

    "Over 1 billion people worldwide live with a disability—15% of the world’s population—yet issues relating to their sexual and reproductive health are rarely addressed. In this landmark publication leading researchers explore a range of cutting-edge topics of immediate and long term relevance to those working in the arena of public health, psychology, social justice and disability advocacy. Comprehensive, engaging, readable, and providing a global overview, this book should be on the bookshelf of anyone—and everyone—dealing with sexual and reproductive health." - Nora Ellen Groce, University College London, UK

    "This very helpful and progressive book discusses topics such as sex education, HIV, and barriers to receiving appropriate sexual and reproductive health care, from a global perspective. It will be of particular value to sexual health workers, advocates and campaigners, and to researchers. For a long time, I have been waiting for a book like this: it is a book which everyone should learn from, in order to take the next steps towards barrier removal." - Tom Shakespeare, University of East Anglia, UK

    "In Disability and Sexual Health, the oppression of stigma and taboo collides with the empowerment of rights, positive identities and actionable ideas. The result is an authoritative, engaging and globally resonant read, that is, quite simply, the best source on the topic." - Mac MacLachlan, Maynooth University, Ireland