Heyman, Bob and Huckle, Sarah (1995) Sexuality as a Perceived Hazard in the Lives of Adults with Learning Difficulties. Disability and Society, 10 (2). pp. 139-155. ISSN 0968-7599

Qualitative research by the present authors has suggested that the management of hazards is a central issue for adults with learning difficulties (adults) and informal carers. This paper focuses on adult sexual relationships as a perceived hazard. Informal carers viewed such relationships as unacceptably dangerous. Those from 'danger avoiding' families, who had low risk tolerance, prohibited situations which might lead to a sexual relationship, e.g. privacy with a boy or girlfriend. Informal carers from 'limited risk taking' families gave adults more scope, e.g. to move freely round the locality, and were anxious that the adult, unsupervised, might become involved in a sexual relationship which he or she could not manage. Adult views about their own sexual relationships are analysed in these social contexts, and the implications for professional practice aimed at enhancing adult autonomy are briefly considered

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