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Undressing Disability: Speaking up for sexual needs

Undressing Disability: Speaking up for sexual needs

Much of the social discourse about advertising involves the inappropriate sexualization of people in ads, especially women. But what if a group of people actually asks you to sexualize them?

That’s the message behind Undressing Disability, a new campaign by advocacy group enhance the uk.

The organization states that because the mainstream does not think about disabled people as sexual beings, the latter group’s needs are not being addressed sufficiently in care and support programs. As a result, they say, many disabled people “feel that they have less opportunity and ability to explore their sexuality than others.”

Undressing Disability hopes to promote more inclusive sex and relationship education,
a focus on the sexual needs of people with disabilities in Residential Care, and for professionals working with disabled people to consider sexual needs as part of their practice.

This campaign raises many questions about how far caregivers should be expected to go in “considering” the sexual needs of those in care. The risk of emboldening sexual harassment or assault of caregivers obviously jumps to top-of-mind.

The campaign has answers. Here are a couple from their site:

Is it appropriate, for instance, for staff to position a couple in bed for sex? Should staff agree to purchase pornography or sex aids for a client? If they do, are they expected to help the individual use these items by, say, putting pornography on the television or turning on a sex toy?

Enhance the UK will lobby for the adoption of a formal training requirement that explicitly deals with sexuality to ensure that all care staff are fully prepared to deal with questions and issues regarding sexuality. Enhance the UK will produce a good practice guide on sexual awareness to support care staff to deliver the best possible service to disabled clients.

Interesting campaign for an under appreciated cause — yet a massively important one for those affected.

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency.
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