Attitudes towards sexuality of women with mild intellectual disability in Hong Kong

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Attitudes towards sexuality of women with mild intellectual disability in Hong Kong

 

Author: Lee, Hoi-man Joanna
Title: Attitudes towards sexuality of women with mild intellectual disability in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2007
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Women with mental disabilities -- China -- Hong Kong -- Sexual behavior.
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: vii, 122 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2232853
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3764
Abstract: Background: People with intellectual disabilities have the same sexual rights as anybody. Current literature in Western countries on sexuality and intellectual disabilities mainly focuses on assessing their knowledge and attitudes towards sexuality by using different quantitative tools. There is little research exploring the in-depth real life sexual experience and attitude from the perspective of women with mild intellectual disabilities. In order to move to a position where we can advocate community inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, health care professionals need to be better informed about their sexual and intimacy needs and experiences to enable us to tailor our support to meet their needs. Aim: The overall purpose of this study was to identify, describe and understand the concepts and concerns of sexuality of adult women with mild intellectual disabilities in Hong Kong. These included their sexual knowledge, experience, feelings and needs with regard to the different aspects of sexuality. Thus, the meanings of sexuality from their point of view could be better understood by providing them a channel to express their opinions. Method and data analysis: A qualitative approach was adopted through face to face interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of the stories of the women with mild intellectual disability. The interview questions were derived from the assessment tools named Sex Ken-ID (Sexual Knowledge, Experience, Feelings and Needs Scale for people with mild intellectual disabilities). Pictures were also included as an adjunct to questions or as a graphic aid to further explore the subjects' knowledge and experience. Narrative data was collected from nine Chinese women with mild intellectual disabilities with ages ranging from 18-40. Content analysis and a constant comparative method were used for the analysis of the information on sexual knowledge, experience, feelings and needs in relation to the aspects of dating and marriage, sexual activity, sexual exploitation and sex education. Results: The results suggested that the informants in this study face many barriers and challenges which have denied women with mild intellectual disability their sexual rights. It was found that the informants have strong sexual needs. The sexual experiences and expressions are similar to non-disabled people of similar age. Firstly, most of them have come across different barriers and challenges in their dating experience. They were cheated by their partners or boyfriends in terms of sex, money and affection. Secondly, their concepts towards sexuality merely focus on the physical level of sexuality and the moral belief of "disapproval of premarital sex" which has been instilled deeply into their minds. Nevertheless, without the support of comprehensive sexuality education in other aspects, some of the informants still engage in different types of sexual activity based on their sexual needs. At the same time, they tended to receive information about sexuality via other informal channels, such as newspapers, Japanese comics, movies and church. Conclusion: The findings have encouraged the health care professionals to address the sexual expression and the sexual rights of people with intellectual disability the same as for able-bodied. The findings provide some preliminary evidence that the majority of informants had strong needs in relation to sexual behavior and expression in their romantic relationships. Due to the missing link of sexuality education, they encounter different barriers and are at greater risk of being sexually exploited and abused by their partners and strangers. Thus, sexuality education should be more broadly based for people with intellectual disabilities.

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