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Search author name words: sofia

Enabling Sex for the Disabled.

category international | gender and sexuality | opinion/analysis author Sunday September 03, 2006 16:58author by sofia Report this post to the editors

Professional sexual services for the disabled are well established in several EU states including Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark & Sweden. Their development as part of a long-term full recovery strategy & therapy for adults who had lost mobility due to accidents soon expanded to addressing questions of "how do parents of disabled children be that disability mental or physical facilitate full sexual development & maturity?"
The UK first saw co-habitation of young adults with Downes Syndrome with minimal input by either parents or social services in the early 90's. And now the Swiss group "FABS" has started the ball rolling in the Alpine country to provide a "full service" which goes beyond "erotic touching" to full sexual intercourse.
Dr Steven Hawkings provoked consternation at the revealation of his married life & its problems. How could so great a man be so normal?
Dr Steven Hawkings provoked consternation at the revealation of his married life & its problems. How could so great a man be so normal?

Detractors of the two schemes outlined above claim that training social workers to engage in sexual activity is prostitution "plain & simple" whilst others think the idea of adults with downes syndrome being allowed & encouraged to form lasting & phsyically fulfilling relationships "dangerous".

Morally & socially. For the reason that at present in Germany, the UK and Sweden female mentally handicapped individuals engaging in these co-habitation options are sterilised before hand.

This is obviously a topic which demands debate. & one which has interested me for almost 20 years. I was lucky enough to work the Ashdown Eurythemy group, a group who tour the UK offering Steiner Eurythemic performance training and opportunities to young adults with serious mental disabilities. I was lastingly touched by the strength of friendships these performances enabled, and the romanticism I witnessed between young adults, a romanticism which is for the moment in Ireland

" a love that dare not speak it's name

Ireland's "disablity" campaigners such as the MEP Kathy Sinnott (as proponents of a far right contraceptive & abortion agenda) have never touched such issues & i suspect are on the "other side" of this "equality issue". But one thing is certain, all parents ought see their children grow to maturity & that includes sexual fulfillment. The notion of excluding disabled children from an area of vital importance as was usual in the past & in the present of Ireland is.... "anachronistic" & compounds the cruelty of marginalisation.

I apologise that most of these links are in German, but English ones & specific cases including one Irish instance will appear in the comments.

The swiss group:-
http://fabs-online.ch/
The home site of psychotherapist Aiha Zemp who has long championed such sexual equality issues
http://aiha-zemp.com/en/home

& here's a lot more links which Ms Zemp likes people to look @
which offer additional information on subjects important to her: self-determined life, living and disability, critical information about gene and reproduction technology, gender research, power/powerlessness and art.

Women and disability

avanti donne www.behindertefrauen.ch
Bundes organisationsstelle behinderte frauen www.behindertefrauen.org
HANDIFEM www.ortegalink.com/
Zentrum für Selbstbestimmtes Leben: www.zslschweiz.ch
Independentliving: http://www.independentliving.org
http://www.bifos.org
Agile, Behinderten-Selbsthilfe Schweiz: www.agile.ch
Bizeps- Zentrum für selbst bestimmtes Leben: www.auva.sozvers.at/themen/Linklistneu.htm
People first: http://www.peoplefirst.de
Nogerete: www.expage.com/page/nogerete
Basler Appell: www.baslerappell.ch
Blauen-Institut: www.blauen-institut.ch
Gen-ethisches Netzwerk e.V. www.gen-ethisches-netzwerk.de
Gender research
Genderlink: www.genderlink.com
Power/Powerlessness
Mariella Mehr: www.mariellamehr.com

author by sofia & wisdom of Hyram less the cruelty of Solomon.publication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are rights at stake. In the past many but not all disabilities were associated with celibacy. It was & is a condition of residency in many institutions in Ireland who cater for disabilities in all their forms. Yet, we have moved on to recognise the right to fulfillment that all adults must be allowed. We can go many ways.

* Ignore it. it's not as titilating as nuns & their g-spots.
* Allow the development of a specialised sex-worker such has received a Swiss Federal government start-up budget of sFr 175,000 two grants from Basel cantons of sFr50,000 & charitable donations reaching Fr 20,000.
* we realise the role to be played by both state & family members in fostering independent & equal life options.

Ah! but there lies polemic.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 21:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kathy Sinnott is not 'far right'. She is to the left of almost all of our mainstream politicians on economic issues, including Labour. She is conservative on 'moral issues' as is her prerogative. It may annoy you that she cannot see eye to eye with you about abortion, divorce etc but that does not give you the right to misrepresent her.

author by KS Watchpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 22:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

She is in the same Euro group as the League of Polish Families. This is a Homophobic, Anti-Semitic party. Why does she remain with them?

Sinnott isnt just opposed to abortion , she is also opposed to contraception. She has tried to stop EU funds going to sex education programmes which include contraception. She wants abstinence only programmes. She even opposes the use of condoms.

author by aaahpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

cos, believe me when it comes to sex and communication they are very open.
and good in bed.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 22:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As I have said, KS is conservative on sexual and family issues, but to the left of all mainstream parties on economic issues. KS is personally responsible for challenging the League of Polish Families about their affiliations and as a consequence of that, a number of them have resigned from the group because of Sinnotts insistence that they had to conform to the non oppressive rules of the group. She is not a member of the Polish League of Families and has nothing to do with the way they operate. Again, anyone who opposes the basic EU concept and wants independent voting is in this group. She has responded publically and privately to contributors to Indymedia. Some people here just want to hate her no matter what is true and are out to do her damage.

author by KS Watchpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 22:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

KS is still in the samr group as the LPF. They are as Homophobic a, Racist and Anti-Semitic as ever. You are not fooling anyone. Even the EU Commission are worried about them.

author by aaahpublication date Sun Sep 03, 2006 22:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Co from where I am standing, KS as no right to mandate herself towards deciding on what
anyones morality is?

only her own, which is questionable-

author by Ianpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

cos its sex, drugs n rock and roll- its not about mainstreaming or enabling
its about caring enough to go out and get dope, smoking it with your lover
and watching the spasms stop or the Ms.

or whatever -the big globalised pharmaceutical trade is preventing people from
accquiring, be it homeopathy or john's worth or any other proscribed substance.

guess what you might have to some day-and be called a criminal.

I am disabled.

author by sofiapublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had a 4 month relationship with a woman who had had a car crash at 19 years of age which resulted in lower lumbar spine damage. Though effectively paralysed from the waist down her own physical and psychological experience of her sexuality was typical. She could not tell her legs or toes what to do, but she still had orgasms & lots of them. Both US feminists (& doctors & authors of womens' health guides ) Northwood & Ogden have written at length on this phenomona using it as just one example of the myth of the G spot arguing that based on such evidence female orgasms happen in the brain if not mind. In fact I'm thinking about "A" now, I was with her 5 years ago & it was her uncle who phoned & woke us up to tell us that 911 was happening. We both moved on happily and through her I met many dealers of dope & contacts in film. I had met her first on set of a movie I made (& was about me) in 2000. She joined with several other physically disabled people of her generation to create quite a stir on the EU sponsored arts short film circuit. Indeed more than one of the extended group of friends saw and still see "Ms A" as an inspiration to her fellow spaniard's Almodovar with whom she "was lucky enough to work", & point to the honest & interesting reflection of coma and physical disability in his obviously much more succesful (& award winning) career.

She taught me a lot about exercise - the will power that tells those little toes to move but can't move them and must be content to see legs in spasm instead. She taught me a lot about discipline facing such odds - to spend 2 hours every day attempting to walk between bars hoping the damaged nerves would repair themselves. She taught me a lot about international funding for spinal damage. An opponent of Bush, top of her list was always his cutting of federal US funding to spinal damage research projects - to put more money into the army. A loss of funding so great that Christopher Reeve (the main private sponsor) could not make up the shortfall. & he is no longer with us. She now lives in Venezuela & I'm told has found the man of her dreams who can lift her up and carry her the length of a beach without falling over drunk or stoned. I could never do that.

But Ian!

I wasn't just talking about physical disablity. Be it sex for the blind, deaf, wheelchair user etc. I was more specifically talking about sex between the mentally disabled. That's a taboo still no?

author by Ianpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I choose not to answer this- BUT, it depends entirely on the person who is mentally disabled?

Some 'responsible' people of mental 'fitness' shouldn't reproduce. whats the criteria for judging
this issue -a ruler, thermometer?

do you get a 'fit' certificate if you pass an MOT.
cos I am really curious as to how you define disability.

author by sofiapublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 21:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the article I mentioned progress made in EU states on enabling sexual relationships both as part of normal adult behaviour & as a target for independence & autonomy allowing people to enjoy their lives.
On one side is the idea of breaking down social taboos and prejudice which still affects those with physical disability. A prejudice which "presumes" people with physical disabilities are celibate, sexually incapable or at in its worst manifestations "sexually undesirable". I'm sure as a disabled person (& judging my your name guessing you're a male) you will agree that sexuality and ability to achieve and enjoy sexual relationships has very little to do with having a "fully able" body. In the previous comment I illustrated the observed fact that women who suffer paralysis still experience (& therefore some would say want / need) the complete usual sexual flow & sparks of brain electro-chemistry. It is also the case with men. & it was with mostly men in mind that the Swiss group FABS reported and linked to in the article above sought their federal funding.

On the other side is the importance of breaking down social taboos and prejudice which cover those with mental disabilities. There is a plethora of conditions, instances of brain damage, congenital "defects" & syndromes which are generally understood to fall into the category "mentally disabled". I reminded or told readers in the article of pilot schemes in the UK (& other states) which allowed, encouraged & facilitated adults with Downes Syndrome to co-habitate, form mutually respectful & satisfying physical & sexual relationships. I also touched on the question of "enforced contraception or sterility". I admit I can not offer you a pit-pat definition of what "mental disability" might be. But I do suggest that if you can get into the late Lady Goulding's Dublin's CRC swimming pool & complex without paying the usual fee - you're in the generally accepted category. I'd also nod to the Amnesty International norm of considering prisoners with IQ's lower than 90 in the USA as being mentally disabled . Amnesty International bothered to classify such prisoners because the state of Texas under George W. Bush thought it ok (god's work indeed) to execute people with IQ's lower than 90.

author by Ianpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I like the Blockheads. I particularly liked Ian Drury, whom I saw live in th' Olympia. He
suffered with polio- what people see frist is the disability-not the person. unless you shout loud
enough and don't give a fuck.

only trouble is it gets tiring shouting loudly all the time.

This article has not been contributed to by a disabled person, except those of us who have
a particular disability foisted on them by a standardised world which cares little for true equality.

are the 45-50% alienated voters comprised of care-givers, people with disability
as well as women, and those denied a vote by virtue of their status in this country- thats a big margin.

author by zoltan - nilpublication date Sun Aug 23, 2015 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TRADITIONALLY IRISH SOCIETY PERCEIVES PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITY AS ASEXUAL VUNERABLE AND POOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE TO BE PROTECTED AND MINDED, SOMETHING THAT, AS A 41 YEAR OLD MAN WHO IS A FULL-TIME WHEELCHAIR USER, I FIND IMMENSELY PATHETIC, EVEN THOUGH THE LOGICAL REASON FOR THESE ENDURING MISCONCEPTIONS IS THE LACK OF DAILY INTERACTION BETWEEN ABLE-BODIED PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DUE TO THE STILL ATROCIOUS LACK OF WHEELCHAIR ACCESS IN IRELAND. WHAT INCENSES ME FURTHER STILL IS THE PERVASIVE ASSUMPTION THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE A MAN HAS A PHYSICAL DISABILITY HE MUST BE REDUCED TO SEEKING OUT THE SERVICES OF AN ESCORT OR A SEXUAL SURROGATE. NEVER ONCE IN MY ADULT YEARS HAVE I BEEN REDUCED TO THIS, IN FACT I HAVE BEEN IN A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH AN ABLEBODIED WOMAN FOR THE PAST 13 YEARS - AND I AM PARALYZED FROM THE WAIST DOWN (OOOH I CAN HEAR IRISH WOMEN GASPING IN AMAZEMENT ALREADY AMID COMMENTS LIKE "ISN'T SHE SO GREAT TO DO THAT?)
THESE INHERANT AND REFLEXIVE MISCONCEPTIONS WILL ONLY BEGIN TO RECEDE WHEN PEOPLE WITH AND WITHOUT DISABILITIES ARE NO LONGER SEGREGATED FROM EACH OTHER
=EDUCATIONALLY
=PROFESSIONALLY
=SOCIALLY
AND THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING THAT HAPPENS RESTS SOLELY ON THE SHOULDERS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF RELYING ABLE-BODIED RUN CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS TO SPEAK FOR THEM

ZOLTAN

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