As a result of either poorly adapted education or ill-informed parents and teachers, disabled people are often sidelined or excluded entirely when it comes to sex education.
Perhaps assumed to be nonexistent, the community's sexuality is taboo, and representation is typically limited to appearing in pornography as an objectifying fetish. A lack of inclusive sex education leaves disabled people vulnerable to exploitation as they grow into adults without information on sexual health, consent and pleasure.
"Like other demographics, a lack of sex education means individuals cannot make informed decisions about sex or their sexual health, and not talking about topics around sexuality can create or perpetuate the shame a lot of people feel around these subjects," said Rachael Rose, a Philadelphia-based sex and relationship coach and educator. "In addition, disabled people are often desexualized, and excluding disabled folks from sex education is one of the ways this happens."
While sex education standards fluctuate globally and impact everyone, the effects on disabled people have