University of Calgary Launches Research Lab on Disability and Sex

A new research lab at the University of Calgary will study sexual intimacy among those with disabilities. It will take a sex-positive approach and tackle the stigma that exists.

Alan Martino, an assistant professor and founder of this new lab, told the Canadian media why this new institute had been formed.

Martino highlighted that people with disabilities are excluded from sex education and their parents are often more uncomfortable talking about the issue.

“Talking about sexuality empowers people. People deserve to have a romantic life, deserve to be loved”, he added.

The lab is already looking at two areas, first how family members are supporting relationships among those with disabilities. Second, it will study the attitudes of students training to become medical professionals, specifically on the areas of disabled sexuality.

The Centre for Sexuality in Calgary provides advice and support on issues of sex, relationships, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Roseline Carter, their director of programs, told Canadian media that there is a need for the research lab.

“There’s a ton of shame and stigma around disabilities and sexuality. We often think about people with disabilities as not being sexual beings and in fact, we know that they are,” she highlighted.

“I think, more than anything, we just see that people with disabilities want to talk about it, want to have relationships and are desperate for information”, she summarised.