Sexuality of Women with Physical Disabilities: Experience and Realities
This study explores the realities of heterosexual women with physical disabilities (WWPD) related to their sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). It aims to place the experiences of WWPD in the cultural context of Nepal where social norms and values around marriage, childbirth and fulfilling ‘duties of daughter-in-law’ remain powerful institutions when it comes to regulating a woman’s sexual life. The study also links the SRH experiences of WWPD to their own perceptions of body image and sexual self-esteem.
The study finds that WWPD are largely excluded from these social institutions and receive little or no information and education on sexual and reproductive health and on sexuality. Using a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health, the study corresponds to other research that finds Nepal’s public health discourse lacking when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, STIs and/or family planning. As such, WWPD face a double burden because their disability erases them from an already limited approach to sexual and reproductive health. Given this double burden, the study aims to articulate the challenges WWPD face while accessing SRH services, dating and finding a partner, and their interpretations of sexual pleasure and suggests WWPD-friendly approaches to SRH based on addressing these challenges.