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Research has found staff attitudes regarding the sexuality of people with intellectual disability (ID) to be negative but influenced by several factors. The current study aimed to examine whether gender of people with ID affects such attitudes. Semistructured interviews were completed with 10 staff members and analysed using thematic analysis. Results indicated 3 themes: Women are perceived as sexually innocent, men as more sexually motivated, and motivations for sexual relationships are perceived to differ between men and women with ID. The study indicates unfavourable attitudes towards sexuality in individuals with ID that correlate with traditional, restricted gender stereotypes. The identification of these themes highlights the importance of considering gender when supporting the sexuality of people with ID.


Rhea Young, Nick Gore, Michelle McCarthy. Staff attitudes towards sexuality in relation to gender of people with intellectual disability: a qualitative study. Journal of intellectual & developmental disability. 2012 Dec;37(4):343-7

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PMID: 22852868

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