Sexuality Among Adults with Congenital Deafblindness: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study Among Primary Carers

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  • Jesper Dammeyer, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Christine M. Lehane, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Madeleine Chapman

Research investigating the sexuality of individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities is increasing. However, little is known about the sexuality of people with congenital deafblindness (CDB). The aim of the current study was to create a profile of the sexuality of adults with CDB in Denmark. Data was collected from the primary carers of 95 adults with CDB by use of a survey with questions about sexual behavior, the object of sexual behavior, level of sexual frustration, and pedagogical support for sexual satisfaction. The data were analyzed with regard to gender, age, severity of deafblindness, communication, activities of daily living (ADL), cognitive abilities, and carer characteristics. The results revealed that approximately half the number of participants showed sexual behavior while the other half did not. In the majority of cases, sexual behavior was self-stimulation, while, for the rest, sexual behavior was directed toward other people and/or objects. Around one out of ten participants was provided with pedagogical support to help satisfy their sexual needs. Sexual behavior was significantly associated with high scores for communication skills, ADL, and cognitive abilities. Further, high ADL and cognitive abilities were associated with the provision of pedagogical support for sexual satisfaction. Around one out of ten participants, all of whom were men, experienced sexual frustrations. The findings of the current study—the first quantitative study on sexuality among individuals with CDB—are comparable to the findings of studies among individuals with developmental disorders and underline the need for sexuality-related support for individuals with disabilities including those with CDB.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSexuality and Disability
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Deafblindness, Denmark, Disability, Gender, Sexuality

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