Sexuality and sexual health of the population with disabilities – with special reference to the population with visual impairment

Jablan, Branka and Sjeničić, Marta (2021) Sexuality and sexual health of the population with disabilities – with special reference to the population with visual impairment. Stanovništvo, 59 (2). pp. 65-82. ISSN 0038-982X eISSN 2217-3986

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Sexuality represents one of the basic dimensions of human existence, which is channelled through sexual and gender identification and role, sexual orientation, eroticism, emotional commitment, satisfaction, and reproduction. Sexuality is also linked to many significant health problems, especially in the area of reproductive and sexual health. Sexual health is the condition of physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing that is linked with sexuality. Knowledge about sexual health, contraception and selection of contraceptives, and the risk of sexually transmittable diseases is not only relevant for individuals’ sexuality; it’s also important for encouraging the use of health services and other forms of support that are necessary to protect youth from sexually transmittable diseases and the maintenance of sexual and reproductive health. When it comes to sexuality and care of reproductive and sexual health, some groups are especially vulnerable. Bearing in mind the specific conditions women with disabilities grow up in and their dependence on assistance and support from other people, satisfying their needs for partnership, sexuality, and parenthood becomes unattainable for many, or it takes place under the control of professionals or family members. In this context, people with visual impairments are part of a vulnerable group, acknowledging that visual impairment leads to limitations in everyday life, autonomy, and quality of life to its full potential. The purpose of this article is to describe the phenomena of sexuality and sexual health among people with visual impairments, and to point out the existing international and national normative frameworks relevant to the sexual health of people with disabilities. Existing legislative acts acknowledge the right to a normal sexual life, as well as to the care and maintenance of the sexual health of people with disabilities. However, there are many obstacles and limitations that hamper the practical application of these rights: health issues, communication problems, lack of privacy, people’s acceptance of the inhibition of their own sexuality, or their acceptance of the labelling and normalisation of their situation. Even considering the existence of the regulation, the system of support for maintaining and improving the sexual and reproductive health of women with disabilities is not developed enough. The lack of literature relating to this topic shows that its importance is not recognised enough among the relevant actors, including organisations that advocate for people with disabilities. Realising the existing general legal framework requires the will of policymakers, who could enact and implement specific bylaw regulations, as well as activating the societal actors relevant to this field.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexuality, sexual health, people with visual impairments, legal regulation, population with disabilities, seksualnost, seksualno zdravlje, osobe sa oštećenjem vida, pravna regulativa, osobe sa invaliditetom.
Institutional centre: Centre for legal research
Depositing User: Vesna Jovanović
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2021 22:07
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2021 22:07

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