Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 21–26 | Cite as

The Invisibility of Young Homosexual Women and Men with Intellectual Disabilities

  • Lotta Löfgren-MårtensonEmail author
Original Paper


The aim of the article is to identify, describe and understand the opportunities and hindrances for young people with intellectual disabilities (ID) in expressing a variety of sexual expressions, such as homosexuality and bisexuality. The method is qualitative interviews with people with ID in the age of 16–27, staff members and parents. The study found young gay people with ID to be an invisible group, and that the possibilities to show a variety of sexual expressions are depending on the surroundings attitudes and behaviors toward them. Therefore it is important to teach about different sexualities in the sex education at special schools and also to do more research concerning homosexuality and bisexuality and intellectual disability, without having the heterosexual norm as a starting point.


Intellectual disability Homosexuality Bisexuality Heterosexual norm Sweden 


  1. 1.
    Forsberg, M.: Ungdomar och sexualitet. En forskningsöversikt år 2005. Statens Folkhälsoinstitut, Stockholm (2006)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Löfgren-Mårtenson, L.: “May I?” about sexuality and love in the new generation with intellectual disabilities. Sex. Disabil. 22(3), 197–207 (2004) Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Löfgren-Mårtenson, L.: “Får jag lov?” Om sexualitet och kärlek i den nya generationen unga med intellektuellt funktionsnedsättningar. Studentlitteratur, Lund (2005)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Forsberg, M.: Ungdomar och sexualitet—en kunskapsöversikt år 2000. Folkhälsoinstitutet, Stockholm (2000)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lewin, B.: Sex i Sverige. Om sexuallivet i Sverige 1996. Folkhälsoinstitutet, Stockholm (1998)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Longmore, M.: Symbolic interactionism and the study of sexuality. J. Sex Res. 35(1), 44–57 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Weeks, J.: Sexuality. Routledge, London (1986)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lewin, B.: Sexualiteten som en social konstruktion. In: Lundberg, P.O. (ed.) Sexologi. Almqvist & Wiksell Medicin och Liber Utbildning, Falköping (1994)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Richters, J.: The Social Construction of Sexual Practice: Setting, Sexual Culture and the Body in Casual Sex Between Men. Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney (2001)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gagnon, J.H., Simon, W.: Sexual Conduct. The Social Sources of Human Sexuality. Aldine Publisher Company, Chicago (1973)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Simon, W., Gagnon, J.H.: Sexual scripts. Permanence and change. Arch. Sex. Behav. 15(2), 97–120 (1986)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Simon, W., Gagnon, J.H.: Sexual scripts. In: Parker, R., Aggleton, P. (eds.) Culture, Society and Sexuality. A Reader. UCLA PRESS, London (1999)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Thompson, D.: The sexual experience of men with learning disabilities having sex with men: issues of HIV prevention. Sex. Disabil. 12(3), 221–242 (1994)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    McCarthy, M., Thompson, D.: No more double standards: sexuality and people with learning difficulties. In: Philpot, T., Ward, L. (eds.) Values and Visions: Changing Ideas in Services for People with Learning Difficulties. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann (1995)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lindberg, S.: Sex- och samlevnadsundervisning i gymnasiesärskolan. Institutionen för specialpedagogik. Göteborgs Universitet, Göteborg (1995)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sjöström, B., Ohlsson, E.: Peter älskar Christer. En bok om homosexualitet. LL-förlaget, Lund (1998)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Löfgren-Mårtenson, L.: Typ jättekär, liksom. Argument förlag, Varberg (2007)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and SocietyMalmö UniversityMalmoSweden

Personalised recommendations