Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 109–121 | Cite as

Mapping French People’s Views Regarding Sexual Assistance to People with Physical Disabilities

  • Michelle Girard
  • Maria Teresa Muñoz Sastre
  • Etienne MulletEmail author
Original Paper


The study mapped French lay people’s positions regarding sexual assistance to people with physical disability. A sample of 238 adults living in the south of France, aged 18–67 years, was presented with a set of 30 vignettes that depicted a situation in which a minor who, as a result of an accident was quadriplegic, expressed his/her sexual needs to a nurse who arranged an encounter with an assistant at the hospital. The scenarios in the vignettes were created by orthogonally combining the levels of three factors: Patient’ gender × Assistant’s identity (same gender nurse, opposite gender nurse, opposite gender nurse who has been trained in sexual assistance, prostitute, or former boyfriend/girlfriend) × Parent’s attitude (agree with the procedure, agree with the procedure and financially compensate the assistant, disagree with the procedure). Through cluster analysis, five qualitatively different positions were found: (a) never very acceptable (21% of the sample), (b) depends on the assistant’s identity (13%), (c) non-remunerated assistance (14%), (d) parents’ agreement (8%), and (e) always quite acceptable (28%). Seventeen percent of the participants were undetermined. Religious involvement had a strong effect. The quite always acceptable position was above found among male atheists, and the never acceptable position was above all found among participants who were either regular attendees to religious celebrations or members of the less educated segment of society. Regular attendees with tertiary education tended to be undetermined.


Disability Sexual assistance France Acceptability Positions 



This work was supported by the University of Nice, by the Federal University of Toulouse (U2J, CNRS, EPHE), by the CRPPS (Centre d’Etude et de Recherche en Psychopathologie et en Psychologie de la Santé), and by the Ethics and Work laboratory of the Institute of Advanced Studies. The authors thank Elodie Boucly, Anouchka Foucault et Sophie Anne Jérémie for their help in gathering the data.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NiceSophia AntipolisFrance
  2. 2.Jean-Jaurès UniversityToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Institute of Advanced Studies (EPHE)ParisFrance

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