What is sexual self-advocacy and why is it important?
Sexual self-advocacy provides an individual with the freedom of choice to engage in a romantic sexual relationship with another consenting adult. In order to make healthy choices the individual must first be informed. Too often people with disabilities are treated like children who do not have sexual desires and are not seen as sexual beings. They are excluded from age appropriate health education classes that teach about sexuality. They are not provided with correct information about their bodies and sex. And they may be prevented from having a healthy sexual relationship with another person.
Everyone is entitled to receive correct information about their bodies using medically accurate terms. They should receive appropriate sexuality education that is age appropriate. They deserve the right to explore their sexuality, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, and enjoy sexual pleasure without judgment or criticism. Sexuality education should be sex positive and trauma-informed.
Sex Positive and Trauma-Informed Sexuality Education
Teaching that recognizes that sexuality and sexual development are natural, normal, and healthy parts of our lives and refrains from using shame and fear to motivate students to be abstinent.
Many parents may find the topic of sexuality uncomfortable to talk about. We may believe that by discussing sex, we are offering permission for our kids to engage in unsafe sexual activity. This could not be further from the truth. When parents increase their own knowledge about sexuality, and we become more comfortable talking to our kids about sex, we are directly supporting our children's sexual self-advocacy to make healthy choices as they explore their normal sexual feelings and desires.
I currently teach individual and small group courses in Healthy Relationships and Human Sexuality for Teens and Young Adults. Additionally, I provide parent workshops and parent training to support parents and caregivers in this difficult topic, and to teach strategies to communicate about sexuality with their children.
Our mission is to educate and empower parents and caregivers of children of ALL abilities to navigate the challenging, and often uncomfortable, topics of healthy relationships and sexuality.