barriers to sex education?

54% of people with visual impairments say they have difficulties related to their sexuality due to lack of access to dedicated school lessons, where everyone is visible. “It’s hard to imagine a erect penis,” commented one student.

“In college and high school, it’s not the blind who flirt with men.” “Me, I don’t know how to describe myself, what I give.” These words were collected at the publishing house tailored for young people with visual impairments Mes mains en o, as part of a survey of support for emotional and sexual life received by this public. . 130 professionals in the sector and 90 people with visual impairment or blindness testified. More than half of them now claim to have encountered particular difficulties related to sexuality and affective life due to their disability, socially and personally.

What does an erect penis look like?

Lack of self-confidence, fear of not pleasing each other, of being stigmatized (…), if sex exploration is a complicated thing for everyone, it’s not always a cakewalk for men. We often forget that the point of entry of desire is vision. Without looking, “Communication with others is different”, pursued another witness. The first difficulties appear during sexuality education, where everything happens on the board, with the help of diagrams, drawings or instructions. So, how to imagine the male or female reproductive system? How to catch giving a condom thanks to an oral description or even the use of hygiene protections? “You have to think about talking about the rules and the fact that they can stain clothes, that the stain of a light color will show up a lot more. It’s something unpredictable if you haven’t seen one before. blood of your life. introduces a young woman. If all of these questions seem obvious to most, it’s not so much for a blind person, especially as the situation can sometimes be embarrassing. “For example, it’s very hard for me to imagine an erect penis,” he continued. A lot of information is more easily accessible by touch but, in front of the whole class, fear of judgment often prevents these students from gaining a “touch discovery”.

30% did not receive sexuality education

As a result, 30% of those surveyed said they had not received any sex education. However, since 2001, the Education Code has imposed “sexuality information and education provided by schools, colleges and high schools at the rate of at least three annual sessions and in the same age groups”. Establishments and medico-social services, to which the majority of the students surveyed in this survey belong, are not independent of it. By law of January 2, 2002, “Access to an affective, relational, intimate and sexual life for people with disabilities is a guaranteed right for people to be welcomed and accompanied” of these ESMS. This raises the question of the format of support for sexuality in school. Should it be made inclusive or special? Opinions seem to be divided. For 71% of respondents, it was necessary to “become” or “become” a specialist; a non-mixed speaking group will thus allow for more convenience. In contrast, 29% want to continue the same support as everyone else: “There is nothing more frustrating for someone with a visual impairment than to feel targeted as exactly different”, developing one of them.

Areas for development

To make this support available, several areas for improvement have been proposed by schools, ESMS but also by families representing a third of actors concerned with sex education. It is a question of better addressing certain themes, for example gender issues, dating/flirting, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, the biological aspect and, above all, the question of sexuality. agree. As such, 31% of adults with visual impairments say they already suffer from sexual violence.

To more suitable tools?

The survey authors thus invite ESMS, “which cannot replace school or family”, on “construction and clear school project”, better “identify resource persons who can be approached by supported youth”, together “with National Education, special organizations and families” or even “offering professionals dedicated theoretical training”. In particular Mes mains en o, which is above all a publishing house run by Caroline Chabaud, encourages the creation of a library of educational resources through customized books, tactile objects, podcasts … “Many jobs are commercially available but remain unattainable”, it grieved the mother of a young blind woman who was making it her mission “restore the right to access this content” through collaboration with specialized institutions.

“All rights to copy and representation are reserved. © This article was written by Clotilde Costil, journalist at”

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