Awhile back I wrote about sexual agency and I want to revisit it.
I, along with some dear friends, manage a page on Facebook called Raising Kids Without Sexual shame. Some of our posts can be quite controversial and bring out the trolls. Recently, I posted this article about disabilities and sex. https://www.facebook.com/Zoomin.JustMe/videos/1785156724901420/?t=45
It received a lot of attention, some of it unwanted. One person began trolling the post, objecting to the idea that sex was a right. She wouldn’t listen as we all tried to explain to her, that even as a right it required consent. She was adamant that sex work was advocating rape of the sex worker and that the majority of sex workers were forced into their situation and that supporting sex work and decriminalization was supporting rape and trafficking. Before I could come up with a good response myself, we ended up banning her for her troll-like behavior. And I kept thinking about this and finally realized what I needed to say.
Sex, in itself, isn’t a “right”, however sexual agency is. Everyone has a right to sexual agency. This includes the disabled and the aging, who many times are denied sexual agency because of the misconception that they are not mentally or physically capable. I’ve heard story after story about how people have been denied their sexual agency because of their disabilities.
Years ago, a friend of mine worked for a social service that helped developmentally disabled adults who lived independently. She had a client who was in her 30’s and was having sex with her boyfriend (who was not developmentally disabled). After talking to her client and making sure that she was engaged in consensual sex (from what my friend said, very very enthusiastic “yes” sex) my friend found out that woman wasn’t practicing safer sex, so my friend bought her condoms. And, when the agency found out, they fired my friend.
When I was working on a presentation for a Senior Care conference about senior sexuality, I found a story about a couple who met in a long-term care facility and fell in love. The facility knew that they were having a sexual relationship and chose to let it continue, as it obviously made both of them very happy. Then, one day the man’s son came to visit and caught them in the act. He was so disgusted he removed his father from the facility and broke the couple up. Since both had mild dementia, the children had control over their parents and their parent’s activities (the daughter of the woman was happy for her mom, and very upset when the man was moved).
The year I turned 60 I was introduced to a 60 year old man with physical disabilities and also schizophrenia, who had never had any form of erotic or sexual content in his life. Between his disabilities and his overly religious upbringing he’d been denied his sexal agency. My friend and I changed that by the way.
A close friend of mine, who is a sex worker has a client with cerebral palsy whose mother called her and hired her to take care of her son (who was in a fetal position, yet cognitively aware) because she didn’t want her son to die without sexual experience. Bravo for a mother who loves her son that much.
In closing, read my post from 2016 (https://wordpress.com/post/allenagabosch.wordpress.com/124) , in it I talk about ways to be supportive of sex workers.
Keep in mind, that sexual agency is a right we all have and that we can not allow laws and regulations to stand that take away that right. So pay attention to who and what you vote for, too.