October’s cover story
‘Let’s Talk about Sex’ is coming to the national (virtual) stage of ‘Sex, Drugs & Scotland’s Health’. Peer Mentors Mairi and Kaz alongside Ambassador Andrew will be presenting a workshop from get2gether’s ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ (LTAS) programme around pleasure and self-love – an exciting adult-to-adult conversation. Our aim will be to give participants the opportunity to see how we navigate conversations around sex. We want to demonstrate that we can have open-dialogues that will both reduce the risk of harm and enrich the lives of those living with disabilities.
Furthermore, Mairi, Kaz, Andrew and Ambassador Katrina, will be talking about their lived experiences of navigating dating and sex with a disability at the international (virtual) festival, Love Abilities. Kaz aptly puts it, ‘it is our human right to be included in the conversation.’ So often people with disabilities are left out of the conversation. This is why the festival ‘Love Abilities’ came into existence, so that for once people with disabilities are at the forefront of conversations around sex.
People with disabilities, visible and invisible, learning and physical, should be recognised as sexual beings. We hope these conversations will ricochet to all the places where people with disabilities aren’t being heard. Knowledge is power and we strive to lead the conversation around sexual expression for everyone.
Where have these conversations come from? Well, they have always been there. As Peer Mentor Mairi says, “when someone constrains you or doesn’t want to give you that information, it just makes you more hungry. ‘Why are you not telling me this?’”. It was from that ilk that our LTAS course was born, and in March 2020, spurred on by the crushing isolation of the pandemic, LTAS went digital. The sessions have journeyed through topics such as crushes, flirting, sex toys, online dating and pleasure. Of course, we couldn’t have progressed without the immense support from Crew2000 volunteers, our get2gether peer mentors and external speakers who have helped our course to grow and flourish.
Ambassador Andrew says ‘when you have a disability, people will try in their kind way to protect you.’ We believe our conversations will help people with disabilities to make safe and healthy choices that will enhance their sex lives and give them autonomy over their bodies. Andrew and Mairi recently spoke to Rob at ‘Fraser of Allander Institute’ about learning disabilities and relationships. They are hopeful this conversation will extend beyond the general public and will reach health and social care professionals, schools, universities and colleges in Edinburgh. Andrew says ‘I would like more people to do more podcasts and to get the general public to really start listening as some people just stay away from disabled people, and hopefully this will make the difference’.
The hunger to talk about sex is ever-present and people with disabilities have so many important things to say on the topic. Come and join the conversation.