Disabled adolescents: sexuality and stigma

Ana Helena Rotta Soares Martha Cristina Nunes Moreira Lúcia Maria Costa Monteiro About the authors

This paper is designed to extend discussions of disability and sexuality, highlighting the expectations, beliefs, desires and experiences of young people with physical disability and presenting the partial findings of the doctoral research project entitled "You laugh because I am different, I laugh because you are all the same: dimensions of the quality of life in adolescents with spina bifida", which discusses the quality of life in two cultures: Brazilian and American. The perception and interest of the participants, and their need to discuss problems related to their sexuality and its implications for their families, friends and healthcare services spurred investigations of this topic in greater depth, indicating the need to address concepts of sexuality on broader bases. The discourse of these youngsters stresses four aspects related to the experience of sexuality: (1) Sexuality and care; (2) Sexuality, body image and discredited characteristics; (3) Sexuality of people with special needs from the standpoint of violence, and finally; (4) Sexuality and questions about medical information.

Adolescence; Disability; Stigma; Sexuality; Quality of life

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