Let’s talk about sex!

It’s hard to escape the heart-shaped balloons and teddy bears at this time of year but just how many of us have had ‘the conversation’ with our children, says Netbuddy’s sex and relationships expert Gill Leno?

Why people with learning disabilities deserve good sex and relationships education

Gill Leno

Sex and relationships education can be hit and miss at the best of times. Even in mainstream schools it’s fair to say that it can be inconsistent; young people frequently report that it’s too little, too late, and too focused on the biological end of things.

For children and young people with learning disabilities, a good, well-rounded awareness of sex and relationships is particularly important as it helps to protect against abuse and exploitation. It also helps in learning about appropriate behaviour, and making positive choices both sexually and socially.

Good sex and relationships education allows children to explore their bodies and their sexuality in a safer way, by giving them facts and information. Sexuality is a deeply personal thing, and learning how to express it is important for all young people, regardless of disability. Educating children and young people about sex in a positive, non-biased means they will have the same information as their peers in mainstream education. Sex education that is given in an accessible and inclusive way helps avoid the danger of misinterpreted information. It ensures young people understand exactly what sex entails and what consent really means.

Good sex and relationships education plays an enormous part in supporting young people to achieve independence and self confidence. The earlier we start, the better.

Talk to me

However, it can be a bit of a challenge if it’s something you don’t feel confident about. That’s why I’m here. I run a sex and relationships forum on Netbuddy, where I am happy to talk about anything – staying safe, body changes, what the law says, what sort of resources are out there and more. I can answer questions around the more practical end of talking about sex and relationships, for example how I teach about things like condoms and contraception and how my experiences might be useful for you.

It’s time sex and relationships education was brought out into the open and discussed properly. Whatever is being done at school and college can only go so far without the support and contributions of parents and carers. It really does need to be a combined effort. So let’s share! It takes a lot to make me blush, so please feel free to ask me anything.

Gill is waiting for your questions on the Netbuddy forum now. Why not drop her a line? And don’t forget to check out Netbuddy’s Sex and Relationships info pack too.

2 thoughts on “Let’s talk about sex!”

  1. Welcome Gill, and well done Netbuddy for this much-needed initiative! No questions, but I'd like to recommend a book. 'Sexuality: Your Sons & Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities' by the wonderful Dave Hingsburger. Honest, frank, and easy to read.Many parents I know have found it really helpful.

  2. Hi Rose! Thanks for the recommendation, I shall go and check it out! I particularly recommend the FPA publications, Talking Together About…(there’s Growing Up, Sex and Relationships and Contraception). They’re good for anyone involved in planning and delivering sessions with young people, as well as for parents. Thank you for your comment and speak to you soon!

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