Sexuality in People with Intellectual Disability: Review of Literature

  • Mauricio Medina-Rico
  • Hugo López-Ramos
  • Andrés Quiñonez
Media Review


Sexuality is an important component in people’s lives, however forgotten in people with intellectual disabilities. Faced with this situation, people with intellectual disabilities tend to be in a situation of vulnerability with greater risk of sexual abuse and altered sexual behavior that give them difficulties to have a lasting relationship. A review of the literature was performed in the databases: Medline, Embase, Lilacs and Scielo. Included studies must mention the perception of people with intellectual disabilities about their sexuality in relation to: education, difficulties, strengths, gender identification, the role of the family and their close circle. 898 articles were reviewed by title and abstract. In total, 38 references were selected for full-text review. Being evident the importance of sexuality in people with intellectual disability, this topic should be addressed from a personal level and their close circle (family and support networks) through sex education about: sexuality, anatomy and functioning of the body, sexual abuse, use of contraceptives, and sentimental relationships. Sexuality in people with intellectual disability should be approached in a multidimensional way. An overarching theme is to teach family and educators not to diminish the value that represents sexuality in people and to assist when needed to address the process of sexual development and sexuality.


Sexuality Sex education Intellectual disability Learning disability Colombia 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics DepartmentPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia
  2. 2.Urology DepartmentPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Pontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia

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