Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Sexuality and the physically handicapped *

BENJAMIN SCHLESINGER

The general approach of our society towards handicapped people is to deny their existence. When that is not possible we fund institutions and agencies to house and care for them, to keep them out of sight and out of mind.

Although the only differences between handicapped and 'normal' people are the specific disabilities of the handicapped and the adjustments these disabilities necessitate, the majority of the physically handicapped are hindered from becoming fulfilled human beings by the fears, guilts and misconceptions of a society that denies them two basic needs - a realistic and positive identity as sexual beings and the opportunity for sexual expression and fulfilling sexual relationships.


SEX EDUCATION

At a time when efforts are being made to normalize or humanize the handicapped, sex education for these people is particularly important. The trend away from institutions and toward community living in group homes, hostels and halfway houses is strong. Socialization programs offer greater opportunity than before for heterosexual contacts and for developing loving relationships. Our 'sex- oriented society' and permissive policies place greater temptations before the young of this generation than before those of previous generations.

Bass1 views sex education as particularly important to the handicapped because of the following points:

____________________
*
Reprinted from Canadian Medical Association Journal, 114 ( May 8, 1976), 772-773, 809.

-109-

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