Tackling the taboo: sexuality education for young people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities face high levels of stigma in Macedonia. With few day centres for them, many simply stay at home.

A common misconception about people with learning disabilities is that sexuality is not, or should not, be an issue for them – that they simply should not have sex. But they are sexual beings just like everyone else with feelings and desires, and the same rights. Yet they are also more vulnerable: people with learning disabilities are said to be three times more likely to become victims of sexual abuse than people without disabilities.

Our Member Association, HERA, developed a sexual education programme for people with learning disabilities. The aim was to teach users how to protect their sexual health, and equip them to have pleasurable, responsible and healthy sexual lives.

  • Macedonia, Zaklina Stenanoska, Special Educator 'Parents were touched and surprised that somebody had thought about their children receiving this education and maybe having a relationship.’
    Macedonia, Zaklina Stenanoska, Special Educator 'Parents were touched and surprised that somebody had thought about their children receiving this education and maybe having a relationship.’
  • People with learning disabilities face high levels of stigma in Macedonia. With few day centres for them, many simply stay at home.
    People with learning disabilities face high levels of stigma in Macedonia. With few day centres for them, many simply stay at home.
  • A common misconception about people with learning disabilities is that sexuality is not, or should not, be an issue for them – that they simply should not have sex.
    A common misconception about people with learning disabilities is that sexuality is not, or should not, be an issue for them – that they simply should not have sex.
  • CSE session with young people with learning disabilities.
    CSE session with young people with learning disabilities.
  • People with learning disabilities are said to be three times more likely to become victims of sexual abuse than people without disabilities.
    People with learning disabilities are said to be three times more likely to become victims of sexual abuse than people without disabilities.
  • ‘We had a problem with girls not knowing how to put sanitary towels in. Their parents would put a towel in at home and they’d forget about it. Now they bring towels themselves and know how to change them.’
    ‘We had a problem with girls not knowing how to put sanitary towels in. Their parents would put a towel in at home and they’d forget about it. Now they bring towels themselves and know how to change them.’
  • HERA's programme teach users how to protect their sexual health, and equip them to have pleasurable, responsible and healthy sexual lives.
    HERA's programme teach users how to protect their sexual health, and equip them to have pleasurable, responsible and healthy sexual lives.