Sexual Health Awareness Week 2019
We’re proud to be supporting Sexual Health Week 2019, a national awareness raising campaign.
The theme this year is sex, relationships and disability and we’re helping to break down the stigma around sexual relationships and disabilities.
Society has many myths and the ones surrounding disability and sexuality can be frustrating and dismissive. There’s a perception that many able-bodied people tend to regard sex for people with a disability as a taboo subject and rarely discuss it openly. Or assumptions are made that people with additional needs don’t have relationships, yet everybody has the same emotional needs and natural feelings like attraction, desire and love.
We want to encourage positive relationships and support people with physical disabilities and additional needs (and their carers) with their sexual health and wellbeing.
The aim of the national campaign is to normalise the conversations around sex and disability.
Did you know?
• People with additional needs face multiple barriers when it comes to developing intimate or sexual relationships, often as a result of reduced sexual health education and awareness.
• Only 3% of people with additional needs live as a couple, compared to 70% of the general adult population (Mencap UK).
• People with a disability say meeting people is more difficult and social isolation is common (Mencap UK).
Sexual Health Wirral is helping to break down some of the barriers people with disabilities face:
A positive approach to relationships, sexual health and contraception is important for everyone and knowing about risks and how to keep yourself safe is a big part of this.
We always advise people to come into clinic for a chat if they want to explore contraption or talk about sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, but we understand that some people may need additional support when accessing our services.
If you, a family member or someone you care for has additional needs our Link Team can provide support.
Carers and health professionals are welcome to talk to us about their patients, clients and their family members as well as discussing the possibility of arranging a consultation with the Link Team.
To speak to the Link Team please call 0151 514 6471.
Explaining about contraption and sexual health can be difficult - it can be sensitive and confusing for some people.
Coming into clinic for a chat is always a great first step and we also provide leaflets in an easy read format to help people understand their bodies and why sexual health important.
The following leaflets are available in easy read format:
The information we provide can also be made available in Braille upon request (with advanced notice).
We can also provide translation services for people with hearing loss or impairment. We use British Sign Language (BSL) approved services and this support can be booked in advance.
Having a smear test can sometimes make women nervous, but having time to discuss the procedure and know exactly what to expect can often help anxieties.
It's so important for all women to attend their routine test when they receive their invite and accessing the right support can be challenging for people with disabilities, and their carers.
At Sexual Health Wirral we have introduced a ‘specialised smear clinic’, to support women with disabilities.
Appointment slots are slightly longer and there is additional support on hand. We also have a bespoke examination couch to make taking a smear test a little easier for people with physical disabilities.
If you or someone you know has a disability and would like to book an appointment at our specialist smear clinic please ask the GP for a referral.
Our clinics support women who have:
• physical disabilities
• mobility issues
• wellbeing and cognitive issues
Take a look at the informative resources from Jo’s Cancer Trust:
• Watch the Smear Test video - it tells you what a smear test is and why it is important.
• Read the easy read leaflet - Having a smear test. What’s it all about?
- Having a physical or intellectual disability doesn’t change your sexuality and your desire to express it.
- Your disability may affect your ability to have a regular sex life - you may have to approach sexual activity differently, and you may have questions and concerns relating to your physical or emotional health. There’s lots of support available from our own Link Team to support from your GP or organisations such Enhance the UK and Mencap.
- We encourage people to make their own informed choices about the method of contraception they use or talk this through with family, friends or carers, but a disability may narrow the range of contraception options available . Our Link Team will be able to discuss these options with you.
- Talk to your doctor, carer or family member about your concerns about your disability and sexuality. It’s important to communicate openly - discussing your feelings and concerns is the best way to solve problems together. State your needs clearly, not only around intimacy but everyday life too.
- It’s important to seek help. If the problem seems bigger than you and your partner, consider counselling. Sometimes it helps to get an outside perspective.
- See friends - staying socially connected may help you to feel more positive about life.
Watch this roundtable discussion facilitated by Brook Ambassador, Hannah Witton - view it here.
Mencap - Sexuality and relationships advice and support
Mencap – Sexuality and relationships FAQs
Mencap – Sexuality and relationships resources
Enhance The UK – The Love Lounge (Free advice on all things sex, love and disability)