Homosexuality among people with a mild intellectual disability: an explorative study on the lived experiences of homosexual people in the Netherlands with a mild intellectual disability
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume 57, Issue 3, pages 257–267, March 2013
How to Cite
Stoffelen, J., Kok, G., Hospers, H. and Curfs, L. M. G. (2013), Homosexuality among people with a mild intellectual disability: an explorative study on the lived experiences of homosexual people in the Netherlands with a mild intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57: 257–267. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01532.x
- Issue published online: 4 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 12 MAR 2012
- Accepted 22 December 2011
- intellectual disability;
- learning disability;
- sexual behaviour;
- support needs
Background Empirical research on homosexuality among people with an intellectual disability (ID) is limited and, to date, very little is known regarding the personal experiences of gay and lesbian people with an ID. This study set out to answer the question: What are the lived experiences of a specific cohort of homosexual people with an intellectual disability living in the Netherlands?
Method To answer this question, a qualitative study was performed in which 21 people with a mild ID were interviewed via semi-structured interviews. In this study, 19 participants were men and two were women (average age = 40.5 years).
Results Participants reported positive and negative experiences, and talked about their gay or lesbian identity. Almost half of the participants (n = 10) reported that they had experienced sexual abuse including partner violence (n = 6). Additionally, they indicated that there was a lack of support for homosexual people with an ID.
Conclusion Specific problems impact the lives of homosexual people with ID, namely the high prevalence of negative sexual experiences, the lack of support, training and sex education, and their search for a suitable partner.