Navigating developmental stages, education, and sex education can be extremely difficult. The Birds & The Bees team put together a parent tip sheet that offers basic information and resources for parents of autistic children. View the tip sheets in the slide show and download below.
While many people are familiar with pornography, it’s not always suited for everybody. Some people may become overstimulated, overwhelmed, or just downright uncomfortable when trying to enjoy an adult film. While there are some alternatives, like erotic scripts and stories, there is still an increasing amount of people looking for more options. An increasingly popular alternative is erotic audios, which are recordings of actors engaging in sexual activity.
PsstAudio is a website that is dedicated to erotic audios, scripts, and texts. This website allows users to listen to a library of audios, as well as upload their own. It’s easy to navigate, search, listen to and save audios, and it’s completely free to users. You must be over the age of 18 to create and account. The website’s homepage can be found here: https://psstaudio.com/
@LingerieLitClub is both a Twitter account and a Discord server that promotes erotic audios. They constantly post links to new audios, as well as hold events on their Discord server. They hold Intimate Poetry Nights, Q&A nights with audio performers and authors, as well as large group calls where you can speak to other people a part of the server. All of their events are completely free and the audios they post are accessible to everyone! Their links can be found below:
Erotic audios offer a new way for people with Intellectual disabilities to find sexual pleasure because they are a less stimulating alternative to pornography. These new options promote sexual health for everybody and have made pleasure more accessible!
Mad Hatter Wellness
Mad Hatter Wellness is a company that creates comprehensive sexual health programs that teach and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Their curriculum Sexuality for All Abilities, contains activities and lessons that cover many different topics regarding sexuality and relationships. This is a holistic program that combines mindfulness techniques to address sexuality topics and provides a safe environment that ensures growth and learning. They offer a student and an adult option of the curriculum and can be purchased for $375 at the link below.
On top of this, Mad Hatter Wellness also sells other tools to help teach and practice topics that are covered in the curriculum. Their Boundaries Flip Book that form sentences regarding boundaries. It created discussion for healthy boundaries, as well as highlights what is okay and what isn’t, and when these behaviors are appropriate. On top of this, they also have a Family Discussion Guide, which offers activities, information, and discussion questions that will help families discuss healthy relationships and boundaries. In addition to these, they offer self-paced online courses, and more physical resources that can be used to implement the curriculum.
Accessible Sex Toys
While many other household items are changing and being developed more accessibly, any industries regarding sex often stay avoided. Sex is such a taboo topic in general, even more so in the disabled community. There are many rumors and assumptions made about sexuality in the disabled community, the most prevalent myth is that people with any type of disabilities don’t have sex or experience sexual pleasure. However, that’s not true. Sex is a basic human function, and everyone, regardless of ability, is entitled to it. Many times, sex toys are extremely inaccessible for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Whether they’re not easy to physically work with, or they’re too stimulating, sex toys aren’t usually designed with all types of bodies in mind.
Come As You Are is an online business specializing in high-quality, ethically sourced, and affordable sex toys for all ability levels. This company has a wide variety of sex toys that are designed to work for people with all types of disabilities. When making their toys, they keep topics like mobility, privacy, fatigue, and many others in mind when creating sex toys. They are very transparent about how their toys are made, and they take suggestions about how to better improve their toys and make them more inclusive. They say, “It’s our experience that doesn’t come ‘naturally’ to everyone. We consider it our responsibility to do the hard work that makes it easier to explore.”
On top of this, their website has many articles and resources that talk about inclusivity in the sex industry. Their articles discuss choosing the right sex toy depending on your ability, information about condoms, and many other aspects of sexuality. They encourage embracing sexuality healthily, despite your skill level, and are pushing the sex industry in a more inclusive direction!
The website’s home page is linked below:
Also, here’s more information from our team about the importance of affirming sexual expression! (article linked below)
Sex Ed Rescue
Properly educating children on sex, puberty, and many other related topics can be challenging for parents. Many parents struggle with how they should speak to their child about these topics, and when the time is right. Sex Ed Rescue is a YouTube channel designed to educate parents on how to talk to their kids about these topics. This channel includes instructional videos, Q&A’s, children’s book reviews, and many other educational resources. It is a great resource to help parents educate their children on sex. It also helps to create a more age-appropriate environment for the child, and encourages comfortable communication between the child and the parent.
Linked below is the channel’s introduction video and the channel’s homepage.
Talking About Sex: Sexuality Education for Learners with Disabilities
From the Publishers:
Key social and emotional milestones during adolescence are often directly related to the abilities to initiate and maintain intimate relationships, maintain physically maturing bodies, and manage personal sexuality. Most adolescents with developmental disabilities have particular difficulty expressing sexuality in satisfying ways, consequently facing issues such as limited intimate relationships, low self-esteem, increased social isolation, deregulated emotional maintenance, reduced sexual functioning, and limited sexual health.
Appropriate sexual knowledge assists not only in achieving personal fulfillment, but protection from mistreatment, abuse, unplanned pregnancies, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It also works to help solve problems of loneliness and problems with self-esteem.
This book will address this but also much more. Issues of physical and cognitive development will be discussed, including appropriate sexual development/urges and brain development, and innate similarities and differences of sexuality that could occur between people with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities, including the complexities of physical disabilities. The authors will also consider special considerations for group homes and recreational facilities, and specifically focus on concepts of ethics and models of consent (medical, legal, social, and educational), as well as how to deal with uncertainty.
How to Explain Sex to Someone with an Intellectual Disability
This may be more difficult than it appears at first. I like to communicate and teach broad and complex ideas about what sex is, but this can be really difficult for folks to grasp at first. I usually start out talking about reproduction because it’s a little more concrete and then move into sex more generally once reproductive intercourse, erection, ejaculation, and arousal have been covered. So lets start with those (and I’ll toss in a couple other concepts that may be difficult to explain). These are how I explain these concepts, but a curriculum you use may have other suggestions you find helpful. I used board maker pictures here, but real pictures would also be appropriate in many cases.
Arousal: “When you have sexy feelings and you feel tingly or excited all over your body especially in your private area*.”
*You could substitute genitals, vulva, or penis for private area to be more concrete. Sometimes with middle school students I say “you know where” to be intentionally more vague- but only if I’m confident they do know where.
Erection: “When blood fills the penis making it harder and bigger”. I follow this up with the why it happens, “because you have sexy feelings. You feel aroused.”
Sometimes I add, the blood fills up the spongy tissue of the penis, but other times I omit the blood part and just say the penis gets harder and bigger. This would depend on the level of complexity the individual can handle.
Ejaculation/Orgasm: “You have sexy feelings, your body feels really good, and you get so excited that you have an orgasm- a big burst of sensation*.” If they have a penis, I add “then fluid comes out of the penis.” If they have a vulva, I add “then some fluid may come out of the vagina”. If they ask what kind of fluid you could add, “a sticky milky fluid” and then if they have a penis, “with sperm in it.”
*If sensation is an inappropriate word you could replace it with feelings.
Reproductive Intercourse: “When a person put their penis in another person’s vagina and releases sperm, ejaculates. If the sperm meets with an egg then the person might get pregnant. A baby might grow inside the uterus.”
As students are first learning I do call this sex but once they have this I build that sex is bigger than just one act. It is heteronormative* to present reproductive intercourse as if it was sex. It could make students who are not interested in vaginal intercourse feel as if their form of sexual expression is less valid. At the same time, the students that I work with are often overwhelmed by all the new information and have difficulty navigating all the nuances. When I call this form of sex, “sex”, I do match it with vaginal sex, reproductive intercourse, or intercourse to allude to the idea that there are other forms of sex.
*If you’re not familiar with the term heteronormative, it refers to when heterosexuality is used as the default. It also refers to other lifestyles that are considered the default. For example, a heteronormative definition of family would be if you used, implicitly or explicitly, a husband, a wife, and children as the definition of family.
Wet Dream: “Sometimes when you’re sleeping you have have sexy feelings. These feelings can be so good that you may get really excited in your sleep. You may feel so good that fluid comes out of your body.”
If they know erection and ejaculation, you can use those words too but I try to limit my use of those words if I’m not confident they have a full conception of the terms.
People with vulvas can have wet dreams too! Regardless of whether there is ejaculation, having organisms and arousal during sleep can be scary. It is an important thing to prepare children for as their bodies change with puberty.
Sex: “Sex is when two people have sexy feelings they want to share with each other so they touch each other’s private parts to make each other feel good.” You can expand it further, “A person might put their penis inside a person’s vagina. Sometimes people kiss and lick each other’s vulva or penis. A person might put their penis inside a person’s anus*.” If they ask why someone has sex, I would answer “Either because they want to have a baby, because they love each other and they want to share those feelings, or because they want to have fun.”
*I would use butthole if I thought that was a word the person understood better. In this definition, I’ve defined sex as anal, vaginal, or oral intercourse.
Sperm/Egg: The cells inside a persons body that have genetic information.
Not all folks will grasp the concept of genetic information but they will probably know that it means scientific or medical information.
Next week, well be covering reproduction in Human Sexuality 101 so look check out the curriculum for that section for more information.