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Masturbation Practices of Men and Women with Upper Limb Motor Disabilities

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Abstract

Masturbation is a little-discussed topic but an ubiquitous reality. Masturbation practices are multidimensional and influenced by sociocultural, religious, physical and psychological factors. The social discourses most often conveyed concerning people with disabilities aggravate their image as immature, asexual people. The aim of this article is to document the masturbation practices of men and women with upper limb disabilities. To do so, a qualitative methodology was used, involving semistructured interviews with 18 people with upper limb disabilities, aged 18 years and over. The results of the study show that the realities they face have both similarities and differences, but all subjects encountered substantial difficulties. Similarities included a significant need to discover their sexuality during adolescence as well as diverse issues related to a mismatch between body schema and social norms and difficulties masturbating due to lack of comfort. Differences included men having greater anatomical knowledge than women. The main reason why people with disabilities experience such difficulties is that these issues have not been given much attention and few solutions exist. To promote these people’s sexual autonomy via masturbation, a set of solutions is suggested, including educational and hospital programs, guides, training, adaptation of sex toys, and legalization of appropriate sexual assistance.

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Acknowledgments

This research project was carried out thanks to funding from the Fonds de recherche du Québec—Société et Culture granting program for “innovative projects”. The research team would also like to thank all of the participants who gave their time to answer questions during the interviews. The principal investigator would like to thank his colleagues for their expertise, support and suggestions during the study, particularly David Gotti for his enthusiastic work.

Funding

This study was funded by Fonds de recherche du Québec—Société et Culture granting program for “innovative projects”, Award Number: 2015-AN-184604

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Correspondence to Ernesto Morales.

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This research is in compliance with ethical standards as it was reviewed by the ethics committee of the institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec.

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Morales, E., Gauthier, V., Edwards, G. et al. Masturbation Practices of Men and Women with Upper Limb Motor Disabilities. Sex Disabil 34, 417–431 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-016-9445-9

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