The meaning of sexual well-being to physically disabled people : implications for practice

Lee, S and Collins, B 2018, The meaning of sexual well-being to physically disabled people : implications for practice , in: RCOT 2018, 11th-13th June 2018, Belfast Waterfront, Northern Ireland.

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This research explored the meaning of sexual well-being to adults with physical disability. Sexual well-being is one of the most significant parts of life (Taylor, 2011), profoundly connected to human well-being, where pleasure, person-toperson connection and communication enhance self-worth and confidence (Myers and Milner, 2007; Dunk, 2007; Owens, 2015). Marginalised groups, including disabled people, are subject to sexual disenfranchisement, with narratives of asexuality leading to exclusion from opportunities for sexual expression. This has a profound impact on mental and physical well-being. This phenomenological study involved in-depth interviews with six adults with physical disabilities. These were transcribed verbatim and analysed using an interpretative theming process. Reflexivity was particularly important. Ethical approval was gained. Six themes emerged: 1. The meaning of sexual well-being; 2. The experience of sexual discontent; 3. Who am I and what does this body mean to me?; 4. Isolation: internal and external; 5. Asexuality: not us but ‘them’; and 6. How professionals can assist. Sexual well-being is complex and meant different things to participants. While sexual wellbeing is sensitive, personal and overlooked in social care, participants want and need the opportunity to explore their sexuality. Professionals need to consider this, as with any other aspect of well-being. However, therapists require the skills and confidence to enable clients to explore their sexual well-being as part of their occupational identity. This study highlights the necessity of hearing the voices of often marginalised members of society to implement the well-being principle underpinning the Care Act 2014.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: RCOT 2018 Book of Abstracts
Publisher: Royal College of Occupational Therapists
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Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 14:10
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:42

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