Touching Base is an Australian organisation that trains sex workers on how to manage sexual needs of disabled clients.
But SA is very far from getting trained professionals to deal with sexual needs of people with disabilities.
On Thursday‚ The Times reported on a Johannesburg father‚ 60‚ who admitted on national radio to masturbating his 29-year-old disabled son.
The man is now raising awareness for the sexual needs of disabled people and is campaigning for trained professionals to provide therapy to patients with severe disabilities.
On social media there has been some views for and against the father’s actions.
Jabulile Maluleka said ‚ “I do have a handicapped son who is now 8. He gets erect naturally. I would never do it especially if he was older.”
“I don’t fully agree with this kind of behaviour as most people will take advantage and molest disabled children or grown-ups‚” said Thembz Calvin‚ adding that social workers should assist.
Micheal Mills added that this is an “extremely sensitive” topic. “I feel for the father and I’ll never understand what he’s going through. All the same‚ there should be other alternatives‚” he said.
Sexual needs and sexual access for disabled people is considered “taboo” according to Paul Chappell‚ a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg‚ who has done extensive research on this.
“There is definitely not enough education and awareness. Health professionals and educators in schools are not prepared to give education on sexuality of disabled people‚” said Chappell.
People with disabilities develop sexually but often no one speaks to them about “managing feelings or desires or masturbating in public”‚ said Chappell.
He added that they often face a lot of prejudice and myths when it comes to their sexual needs..
Tessa Wood‚ director at the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability that advocates for sexual education‚ added that there is often a myth that people who are physically disabled are non-sexual and people with intellectual disabilities are over-sexed.
She called for parents and schools to provide sexual education for people with disabilities.