Barriers in sex education?

54% of visually impaired people state that they have difficulties related to their sexuality due to the lack of access to special classes at school where everything is visual. “It’s hard to imagine an erect penis,” commented one student.

“In college and high school, it’s not the blind guys that the boys flirt with.” “I didn’t know how to describe myself, what I gave up.” These words were collected by the publisher for young visually impaired Mes mains en or as part of a survey to support this audience for emotional and sexual life. 130 industry professionals and 90 visually impaired or blind people testified. More than half of them now state that they have had particular difficulties in connection with sexuality and affective life, both socially and personally, because of their disability.

What does an erect penis look like?

Lack of self-confidence, fear of not pleasing the other, being stigmatized (…), if sexual exploration is complex for everyone, it is not always easy for visually impaired men. We tend to forget that the entry point of desire is seeing. without a look “Communication with the other is different”, pursues another witness. The first difficulties arise with sex education, where everything happens on the board, with the help of charts, drawings or tutorials. So how does one envision the male or female reproductive system? How can one understand putting on the condom only thanks to an oral description or even the use of sanitary protection products? “You have to think about talking about the rules and the fact that there can be stains on clothes, a stain on a light color shows a lot more. That’s something you can’t guess if you’ve never seen blood in your life. indicates a young girl. While all of these questions may seem obvious to most, they are less so for a blind person, especially as the situation can sometimes be embarrassing. “For example, it was very difficult for me to imagine an erect penis.” She keeps going. Much information would be more accessible through touch, but in front of the whole class, fear of judgment often prevents these students from making a statement “Touch Discovery”.

30% have not received sex education

30% of those questioned stated that they had not received any sex education. However, since 2001 the Education Code has stipulated this “Information and education about sexuality in schools, colleges and high schools in the scope of at least three annual meetings and according to homogeneous age groups”. Not excluded are medical and social institutions and services, to which the majority of the students surveyed belong. According to the law of January 2, 2002, “Access to affective, relational, intimate and sexual life for people with disabilities is a guaranteed right for people who are welcomed and accompanied.” in these ESMS. This raises the question of the format of sex promotion in school. Should it be inclusive or specialized? Opinions seem to be divided. For 71% of those questioned, it must “be” specialized or “may be”; a non-mixed talk group would thus allow for more ease. Conversely, 29% would like to keep the same support as everyone else: “For a visually impaired person, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling purposefully as exactly different”, advance one of them.

Areas for Improvement

To make this support accessible, several areas of improvement are proposed to schools, ESMS but also families, which represent a third of the actors concerned by sex education. It is about better addressing certain issues, for example gender issues, dating/seduction, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, the biological aspect and above all the issue of consent. 31% of adults with visual impairments state that they have already suffered sexual violence.

On the way to more suitable tools?

The authors of the survey therefore invite the ESMS to “which neither replace school nor family”, to “establish a clear school project”, better “Identify the caregivers who could be approached by the supported young people”, work together “with the national education, specialized institutions and families” or even to “offer specialized theoretical training to professionals”. In particular, Mes mains en or, which is above all a publishing house founded by Caroline Chabaud, promotes the creation of a library of educational resources through adapted books, tactile objects, podcasts … “Many works are commercially available but remain inaccessible”, pities this mother of a young blind woman who makes it her mission “Restore Justice in Access to This Content” through cooperation with specialized institutions.

“All reproduction and display rights reserved. © This article was written by Clotilde Costil, journalist of”

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