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Supported loving, how can families help?

I went to speak with the Supported Loving network about a family perspective on the near taboo subject of sexual relationships between people with learning disabilities. Families have bad press on this topic with some professionals assuming we don’t want our sons and daughters to have ordinary relationships.

 

By coincidence, the event was in the part of London where I grew up.  It must be nearly 40 years since I walked those streets and fumbled my way into the mysterious world of sex and sexuality.  I finally got my answer to ‘where do babies come from’ in a biology lesson at school. An anatomically correct description of the technicalities but no more illuminating about the joyous, emotional, messy, painful, ecstatic reality of a good adult sexual relationship (never mind the downside) than my mum’s earlier ‘Holy Jesus sends them to married ladies.’

I didn’t actively learn about sex and relationships from my parents.  I absorbed information, I learned from my friends (apparently you don’t get pregnant from eating burnt crisps) and by trial and error.  It turned out that most of the people in the crowded room didn’t get their sex and relationship education from their parents either.

The biological information about reproduction is relatively easy to share.  I’m ok with conversations about feelings, boundaries, working out the difference between a friendship, a crush and something more.  I can talk about sexuality and rights, the ingredients of a good date, keeping a conversation going…. all relatively easy. I find conversation about pleasure, technique, orgasm, the deeply personal and explicit stuff (to me) really hard to have with my daughter.  I didn’t have those conversations with my son either!  The words ‘mother, father, son, daughter, families’ seem incongruous to me in the word-cloud below.  

 

So that’s me.  A seemingly liberated, open-minded, middle aged mother – struggling with the detail needed for my daughter – who really wants a boyfriend: 

  • whose friends are not informed enough to be her teachers
  • whose teachers thought she’d never need to know
  • whose support staff err on the side of caution
  • whose dad is taking the ostrich position 
  • who can’t work it all out by herself!

I need your help with this. We all need your help with this.

Please send answers!

Liz Wilson
Family Consultant
Dimensions
Email: liz.wilson@dimensions-uk.org

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Tags in this document: Supported living Families

 

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