Sexuality and Visible, Physical Disabilities: A Scoping Review
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The historical and ongoing desexualization of people with disabilities (PWDs) along with the pervasive ableist narrative in Western societies have led to the equation of disability with asexuality. Although some members of the disability community may identify as asexual, labelling all PWDs as asexual serves to infantilize these individuals, deprive them of an appropriate sexuality education, and prevent them from accessing their sexual rights. In many Western countries, schools are required to provide their students with a sexuality education, which I believe could help dispel certain myths about the disability identity and promote a more unified society provided that it establishes disability awareness from a non-ableist perspective. Presently, this is not the case for Ontario’s sexuality education, and the discrimination continues to go unrecognized. In order to determine whether a disability-positive program already exists, a scoping review was conducted, focusing on sexuality and physical, visible disabilities. Out of 4,432 articles, only 13 met the inclusion criteria. The most common type of teaching interventions were didactic sessions/presentations, group discussions, roleplaying exercises, films, and independent learning modules. Seven of the programs were primarily designed for healthcare professionals, whereas six were designed for PWDs. The findings highlight a lack of research on individuals living with congenital disabilities, a focus on the rehabilitation setting, and the need for a more holistic definition of sexuality. Additionally, the lack of inclusion of disability perspectives illustrates the need for PWDs to be involved in the development, implementation and/or evaluation of a disability-positive sexuality curriculum.