People with Disabilities Have a right to have a Sexual Relationship

  • Everybody has the right to a relationship
  • Relationships need time, trust and responsibility
  • Services and family have to help and support
  • Adrian tells us about his happy and loving life with his partner

People with Disabilities have a right to have a sexual relationship like everybody else.

The relationship should not be made a big issue because this about the both people in the Relationship and not family or Disability Services.

There needs to be trust between the people with disabilities who are in the relationship, and their families and disability services. But if the relationship is stopped or tried to be stopped, the relationship will continue in secret so it is better the relationship is out in the open with the support of family and disability services.

If family accept the relationship, so should disability services and respect the family and the person with disabilities’ decision because at the end of the day, the disability service works for the person with a disability not the other way around.

The people with disabilities who are in relationship should sit down with family and the disabilities services and talk about the right support and the rules when they’re in their services around relationships.

By the right supports and the right information like information on sex and how to have protective sex being given to the people with disability, the relationship will work out.

Like my relationship with my partner Emily who I met on a course in a disability service 5 years ago now.

When we first got together the Disability Service and Emily’s family tried to stop us having a relationship not only because both of us a have an Intellectual disability but also Emily’s family and the disability services thought Emily was naiver in the world of relationships then me which was untrue. That was the view of both families and the disability services at that time.

We both learned from each other along the way, and are more in love now than when we first started to go out together.  But both Emily and myself (Adrian) proved them wrong and the both families accepted the relationship.

When it came to the sexual part of the relationship we both took our time and did not rush and have both learned through the experience, and also that sex is not the glue that holds us together it our love and respect for each other that does.

As for the disability service, they did not accept the relationship and continued on trying to break us up, but both myself and Emily went to see the manager of the service who gave us their backing and under certain conditions, like we could not kiss or hold hands when on the course, or if we were in the same room during the Course, we could not sit beside each other when we were working which was fair enough.

It is two years since we left the disability service we both attended after we finished our course, and have moved on.

Most importantly, we are still together and very much in love and are planning to get a place together in the future when we both get employment.

This story is for Emily by your partner Adrian Noonan.

Adrian NoonanAdrian Noonan is a Disability Self Advocate/Peer Advocate. He is P.R.O. of Seasamh, the Inclusion Ireland Self-Advocacy sub-Committee, and also of The National Platform of Self-Advocates.