Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 7: Sexuality

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 7: Sexuality


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Sexuality is a natural part of life. For many women, sex is a way to feel pleasure, to express love and desire for their partners, or to become pregnant with the children they hope for. But sexuality is more than having a sexual relation with someone. The way a woman is intimate with her partner, the way she relates to her own body and the way she thinks about herself as a woman are all part of her sexuality.

Women with disabilities can have, want to have, and have the right to have and enjoy close, loving, sexual relationships. Sometimes community attitudes influence or limit how women with disabilities experience their sexuality. If people in a community understand and agree that women with disabilities have the same needs for love, sex, and family as everyone else, then a disabled woman is able to:

a woman speaking.
We have the right to be loved for who we are, not for what we cannot do or what we look like.
  • express sexuality in a way that gives her pleasure.
  • choose her sexual partner.
  • negotiate when and how to have sex.
  • choose if and when she becomes pregnant.
  • prevent sexually transmitted infections.
  • be free from sexual violence, including forced sex.