Sexuality is fundamentally connected to the life of every person. It is a part of us all, it is a part of our lives, it goes without saying and it is one of our fundamental needs. To have and give meaning to our sexual lives is a fundamental right to every human being.
Rights concerning sexuality and reproductive health have been established in International Human Rights Treaties. The United Nations Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities, ratified by the European Union on January 5th 2011, begins by stating that people with disabilities are human beings as all others and benefit from the same rights as everyone else. The Treaty fights against all sorts of prejudice and encourages public awareness on the potential competence of people with disabilities.
Being dependent upon others, embarrassment, the difficulty to manipulate a body of someone that is disabled, family, social and professionals that have little knowledge of the specific network and lack of adapted legal structure are often the reasons why sexual and reproductive rights of people with disabilities are yet to be recognized and respected.
With regard to people with disabilities, sexuality is still too often a taboo subject. It is not necessarily societies lack of recognition of fundamental rights as much as the recognition that specific care and support is often necessary. This support can include, for an adult who has a disability, the possibility to request the services of a trained and competent Sexual Assistant.
The European Platform Sexual Assistance for persons with disabilities (EPSEAS) is a platform of people and organizations working in favor of Sexual Assistance for people with disabilities. EPSEAS wants to contribute to public debate and political policies that address the fact that people with disabilities are individuals with needs, desires and sexual sensations. To allow these sexual rights to be heard, EPSEAS objective is to show that people with disabilities have the right to sexual experiences and adapted assistance that allows them to live their sexuality as they wish.
This awareness has as a goal to improve general health and psychological well being of people with disabilities. With open expression about sexuality and positive sexual or sensual experiences, people usually feel better, have a better self-image, they become emotionally stronger, are less vulnerable to sexual violence and are sometimes able to reduce medication. Sexual assistance for those adults who request it and feel the need for it affirm that it contributes to their inclusion.