chapter  10
Sexuality and people w ith intellectual disabilities
ByMeera Roy
Pages 12

Introduction Sexuality relates to how people express themselves as m en and wom en. This is culturally defined and influenced by family, peers, religion, the law, customs, knowledge and economics. Development of sexual m aturity is a biological process w hich happens to almost everyone, including people w ith a learning disability (the exceptions include people w ith syndromes that affect sexual m aturation). Heshusius (1987) reviewed the literature on perceptions of sexuality by people w ith learning disabilities and found that 'a t least for the most part, sex is desirable, an essential part of life, pleasurable and adding w arm th and excitem ent to living - not unlike the m eaning it carries for most people'. In this chapter we shall exam ine how society has responded to people w ith learning disabilities expres­ sing their sexuality, and the particular issues w hich face them in the areas of sex education, abuse, contraception and parenthood.