14 votes

Inside the Fight for Developmentally Disabled People's Right to Sex

5 comments

  1. cfabbro (edited ) Link
    My cousin was born with a hole in her heart and is physically, intellectually and developmentally disabled as a result. She is in her 50s now and while we are fairly certain she has had sexual...

    My cousin was born with a hole in her heart and is physically, intellectually and developmentally disabled as a result. She is in her 50s now and while we are fairly certain she has had sexual relationships while she was living in various group homes over the years, it's always been a rather large elephant in the room and something nobody in our family really speaks about openly.

    I totally understand the desire to protect people with ID/DD from abuse and exploitation. IMO it's a valid concern, especially given their often diminished cognitive abilities, particularly when it comes to decision making and judgement. However, I think a lot of people trying to prevent those with ID/DD from ever having sex actually stems from them simply being uncomfortable with the idea that someone with ID/DD has sexual desires at all, since in a way those with ID/DD are often still viewed as children, regardless of their age... When the reality is that once they reach puberty, their instincts and desires are likely every bit as "mature" as everyone else's.

    I don't know what the ethical solution to this issue is, or where the boundaries should be set to best protect them from exploitation but also to enable them to have autonomy over their own bodies... but I am glad that this issue is being talked about and investigated. By the time it all gets figured out it may be too late for my cousin, but hopefully in the future people with ID/DD won't have to suffer the same seemingly rather lonely and probably incredibly frustrating existence as she has. :(

    9 votes
  2. [4]
    Somebody Link
    This is a really sticky topic. There are all sorts of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and this issue can't be neatly wrapped up as a minority rights issue. Some people with minor...

    This is a really sticky topic. There are all sorts of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and this issue can't be neatly wrapped up as a minority rights issue. Some people with minor intellectual disabilities are basically normal, and fine with sex. Others are profoundly disabled, and unable to consent to sexual activities. Sexual needs should be addressed individually, and it's inappropriate to try to make this issue into the next popular political cause.

    1. [3]
      alyaza Link Parent
      what you're arguing here with individual needs doesn't really contradict what the people in the article want. also, a lot of the people advocating for change are ID/DD people themselves, so the...

      Sexual needs should be addressed individually, and it's inappropriate to try to make this issue into the next popular political cause.

      what you're arguing here with individual needs doesn't really contradict what the people in the article want. also, a lot of the people advocating for change are ID/DD people themselves, so the "political cause" thing i find ridiculous, unless we're counting people who want to have the same rights as you and i without being infantilized by the false idea that they are not mentally or developmentally able to consent just because some other ID/DD people genuinely are not able to consent as pejoratively politicizing their cause now.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Somebody Link Parent
        Give it time. Movements like these start out by championing for individuals, but typically devolve into a cause célèbre social justice movement. Also, people with ID/DD already have the same legal...

        Give it time. Movements like these start out by championing for individuals, but typically devolve into a cause célèbre social justice movement.

        Also, people with ID/DD already have the same legal rights as everyone else. Having an ID/DD doesn't strip you of your rights. Only the courts can do that. They're born with all of the same rights as any other person. They can vote, own guns, walk down the street, and do everything else a "normal" person can do. If they're being prevented from going about their legal business then that's a criminal matter to be investigated by the police, not the next fad issue to bandwagon.

        Additionally, nobody has a "right" to sex or reproduction. That's a fantasy, and borders on justifying incel idiocy. If you aren't getting laid then that's because nobody wants to have sex with you. Tough luck.

        1. alyaza Link Parent
          or we could, you know, judge it on its merits and how it currently exists instead of trying to be clairvoyant about what it will become later on and trying to use that to weirdly discredit it as...

          Give it time. Movements like these start out by championing for individuals, but typically devolve into a cause célèbre social justice movement.

          or we could, you know, judge it on its merits and how it currently exists instead of trying to be clairvoyant about what it will become later on and trying to use that to weirdly discredit it as if it's not an actual issue...

          Also, people with ID/DD already have the same legal rights as everyone else. Having an ID/DD doesn't strip you of your rights. Only the courts can do that. They're born with all of the same rights as any other person. They can vote, own guns, walk down the street, and do everything else a "normal" person can do. If they're being prevented from going about their legal business then that's a criminal matter to be investigated by the police, not the next fad issue to bandwagon.

          ...except have sex, of course, because someone often legislates their ability to consent on their behalf. which is the point the article is making. many of these people do not have the right to make their own decisions with respect to sexuality because it is legislated by other people who are often more interested in coddling them and shielding them from sexuality than they are in facilitating expressions of sexuality for these people on the grounds that they're too emotionally or intellectually disabled to "consent" to such, even if there's literally no basis in reality for that assumption. which is also a point the article makes.

          Additionally, nobody has a "right" to sex or reproduction. That's a fantasy, and borders on justifying incel idiocy. If you aren't getting laid then that's because nobody wants to have sex with you. Tough luck.

          they do however generally have a right to bodily autonomy and making their own decisions, which in this case is being legislated from them on at best dubious and at worst actively regressive grounds that again, have really no basis in reality for many ID/DD people.

          2 votes