Advertisement

Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 599–612 | Cite as

Parental Perceptions of the Sexuality of Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities

  • Iris Manor-BinyaminiEmail author
  • Michal Schreiber-Divon
Original Paper
  • 100 Downloads

Abstract

The sexuality of people with disabilities is often conceptualized as asexual. Furthermore, public discourse regards people with disabilities as highly prone to sexual abuse. The few studies that contemplate on parents’ of people with intellectual disability (ID) point of view uncover the parents’ perceptions towards their offspring’s sexuality. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the sexuality of adolescents with ID from their parents perceptions. The study was conducted using a phenomenological approach and included 21 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with parents of adolescents with ID. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Parents’ perceptions of their children’s sexuality and their involvement concerning sexuality reveal dilemmas and tensions that remain unresolved. Although some parents did tend to treat their children’s sexuality as non-normative and as a source of problems and thus ignored, prevented, and limited their children’s sexual expressions, other parents presented different perspectives, acknowledging the sexuality of adolescents with ID and their right to express it. The findings also reveal a new and exciting insight related to the conceptual space of physical contact between parents and children, which moves between physical expressions of love and care and feelings of prohibited sexuality. Professionals working with people with ID and their families should be allowed to create a professional dialogue that would enable the discussion and clarification of the dilemmas and challenges related to the subject.

Keywords

Parents Sexuality Adolescents Intellectual disabilities Israel 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author Iris Manor-Binyamini and Michal Schreiber-Divon declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Haifa University’s Ethics Committee (reference number 284/17).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. 1.
    Berg, B.: Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Pearson Education. Bourdieu, P, Boston (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brown, R.D., Pirtle, T.: Beliefs of professional and family caregivers about the sexuality of individuals with intellectual disabilities: examining beliefs using a Q-methodology approach. Sex Educ. 8, 59–75 (2008).  https://doi.org/10.1080/14681810701811829 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Burnard, P.: A method of analyzing interview transcripts in qualitative research. Nurse Educ. Today 11, 461–466 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Creswell, J.: Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Sage Publishing House, Thousand Oaks (2007)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dickson-Swift, V., James, E.L., Liamputtong, P.: Undertaking Sensitive Research in the Health and Social Sciences: Managing Boundaries, Emotions, and Risks. Cambridge University Press, New York (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Evans, D.S., McGuire, B.E., Healy, E., Carley, S.N.: Sexuality and personal relationships for people with an intellectual disability. Part II: staff and family carer perspectives. J. Intell. Disabil. Res. 53, 913–921 (2009).  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2009.01202.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Frawley, P., Wilson, N.J.: Young people with intellectual disability talking about sexuality education and information. Sex. Disabil. 4(34), 469–484 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fucault, M.: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Pantheon Books, New York (1979)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gougeaon, N.A.: Sexuality education for students with intellectual disabilities, acritical pedagogical approach: outlining the ignored curriculum. Sex Educ. 9(3), 277–291 (2009).  https://doi.org/10.1080/14681810903059094 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jones, L., Beilis, M.A., Wood, S., Highes, K., McCoy, E., Eckley, L., Officer, A.: Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Lancet 380, 899–907 (2012).  https://doi.org/10.1016/SO140-6736(12)60692-8 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Karellou, J.: Parents’ attitudes towards the sexuality of people with learning disabilities in Greece. J. Dev. Disabil. 13(3), 55–72 (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Löfgren-Mårtenson, L.: ”May I?” About sexuality and love in the new generation with intellectual disabilities. Sex. Disabil. 22(3), 197–207 (2004).  https://doi.org/10.1023/b:sedi.0000039062.73691.cb CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    McDaniels, B., Fleming, A.: Sexual health education: a missing piece in transition services for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities? J. Rehabil. 84(3), 28–38 (2018)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Morales, G.E., Lopez, E.O., Mullet, E.: Acceptability of sexual relationships among people with learning disabilities: family and professional caregivers’ views in Mexico. Sex. Disabil. 29(2), 165–174 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pownall, J.D., Jahoda, A., Hastings, R., Kerr, L.: Sexual understanding and development of young people with intellectual disabilities: mothers’ perspectives of within-family context. Am. J. Intell. Dev. Disabil. 116(3), 205–219 (2011).  https://doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-116.3.205 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Robinson, K., Smith, E., Davies, C.: Responsibilities, tensions and ways forward: parents’ perspectives on children’s sexuality education. Sex Educ. 17(3), 333–347 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rohleder, P.: Educators’ ambivalence and managing anxiety in providing sex education for people with learning disabilities. Psychodyn. Pract. 16(2), 165–182 (2010).  https://doi.org/10.1080/14753631003688100 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Saxe, A., Flanagan, T.: Unprepared: an appeal for sex education training for support workers of adults with developmental disabilities. Sex. Disabil. 4(34), 443–454 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shildrick, M.: Contested pleasures: the sociopolitical economy of disability and sexuality. Sex. Res. Soc. Policy 4(1), 53–66 (2007).  https://doi.org/10.1525/srsp.2007.4.1.53 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Swain, J., Thirlaway, C.: ‘Just when you think you got it all sorted …’: parental dilemmas in relation to the developing sexuality of young profoundly disabled people. Br. J. Learn. Disabil. 24, 58–64 (1996).  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3156.1996.tb00203.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tamas, D., Jovanovic, N., Rajic, M., Ignjatovic, V., Prkosovacki, P.: Professionals, parents and the general public: attitudes towards the sexuality of persons with intellectual disability. Sex. Disabil. (2019).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-018-09555-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wissink, I., Moonen, X., Stams, J.: Sexual abuse involving children with an intellectual disability (ID): a narrative review. Res. Dev. Disabil. 36, 20–35 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Talpiot College of EducationHolonIsrael

Personalised recommendations