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Do you have a question about sex and relationships?

Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,580Administrator Scope community team
Do you have any questions about sex and relationships?  Our brilliant Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) advisor is here to answer your queries and offer support to you. 

Gill works for Queen Alexandra College in Harborne near Birmingham as a full-time PSHE Specialist Therapist. QAC is a specialist college for young people with a wide variety of complex learning, physical & sensory disabilities, as well as autistic spectrum disorders.

She develops & delivers all the group's sex & relationship sessions, as well as providing 1:1 support for students and volunteers for us on the community answering questions and sharing her wealth of knowledge with us.  She says:

I am happy to talk about anything on this forum - body changes, staying safe, what the law says, & what sort of resources are out there. I can answer practical questions, for example about how I teach about things like condoms & contraception and how my experiences might be useful for you. I really am happy to talk about anything, so please do get in touch!
Ask Gill your questions today.
Scope
Senior online community officer

Replies

  • algy194algy194 Posts: 25Member Listener
    How do I ask Gill a question is it through Sam_Scope. " in other words here"
  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Posts: 5,856Member Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @algy194, you can ask Gill a question by posting a discussion on this page. Hope that helps!
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,580Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @algy194
    You can ask her in this post and she can respond, or you can start a new discussion in the sex and relationship category here.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,580Administrator Scope community team
    Oops! You got the answer twice! :)
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Here or there, I don't mind!  Hello! :smiley:
    - Gill 
  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
    Hi
    I have a question?
    I suffer with serve sensory neural hearing loss (I'm profoundly deaf) and suffer with tinnitus and ataxia. I am currently taking ant-depressants.
    And have just been told by my GP, I'm going threw the menopause.
    I have what I call fainting spells, during but more often after sex?
    what do you suggest?
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Hi @bevt2017!  I wonder if it is related to your ataxia?  When you say a fainting spell, what sort of thing happens - do you actually lose consciousness? 
    - Gill 
  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
    Hi @PSHEexpert
    Ataxia for me is damage to the nerves in my brain. (After infections in both ears). It effects my balance, walking, sitting and talking, and low oxygen in my blood. That's proberbly why I go really light headed, and end up on the floor. No I  don't go unconsciousness.
    He's not that good
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Oh my!  Haha!  

    It could be something to do with that - blood pressure spikes during orgasm and that could be leaving you feeling a bit light headed.  I do wonder whether it might be worth speaking to your specialist about though, if you can, as that's a bit drastic!
    - Gill 
  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,135Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @bevt2017!  I wonder if it is related to your ataxia?  When you say a fainting spell, what sort of thing happens - do you actually lose consciousness? 
    Not something I generally talk about but I often used to lose consciousness and I am told I also stop breathing. I say used to, as in the end it was just easier to give up on that aspect of our relationship, as it did bother my wife.

    Sadly when  I did mention it to the doctor it was ignored and it was only a few years ago that I was told it sound like petite mort or something similar. But nothing about how to deal with it.

    I'm noth bothered about it now, but know it does happen to others and wonder advice you would have, both for those who experience this and their partners. Happy to answer any questions you might have @PSHEexpert

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
    Hi @Geoark
    I think your very brave, talking about this issue.
    It's very hard I know.
    I have mentioned it before to my doctor, but was completely ignored.
    I have an appointment today with another doctor, so I will let you know how I get on?
    Unlike your amazing wife, my husband is not willing to make such a sacrifice. He says he's not willing to give up on the relationship, but i think he's not willing to give up sex. 
    Even though he needs medication, and 15 yrs older than me.
    I just hope I get some answers and help.
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,135Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @bevt2017

    Not very brave, my general view is topics should rarely be taboo and sometimes a good discussion can help those less likely to speak up. But it is a difficult one as to when to raise the subject. Plus I can appreciate that it can be very hard on the other person.

    I hope you get an answer and not just brushed off again.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
    Hi @Geoark
    She had no idea? It could be a number of factors.
    Menopause being one of them? 
    Seeing her again in 3 months time, to see if the tablets help?
    Thanks for listening. :)
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,135Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @bevt2017

    See, I knew I went through menopause early  :D

    Hope things work for you and your husband.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • StuartyStuarty Posts: 4Member Listener
    What is a full proof thing to say to any woman to get her to go out with me on a romantic date. cameron


  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    @Stuarty I don't think there's anything foolproof that anyone could say - people are far too complicated!  I think if there's someone you're really interested in, be upfront and honest, get to know her a bit, find out if she's single and interested in dating, and then just...ask nicely!  And ask what sort of thing she'd like to do.  Make sure it's comfortable and no-pressure.  Be upfront that there are no expectations - sometimes it can be off-putting if the person asking you out is over-keen, because it can feel a bit like there's an expectation there for it to go a certain way, and that can be a bit nerve-wracking.  If she's interested it'll be a yes, if she's not then it wasn't meant to be.  I know that sounds really boring and un-magical, but honestly it's just a straightforward proposal and answer. If they need much persuading they're not the right one! Also - first dates often aren't all that romantic; you need to know a little bit about the person so you can make it romantic for both of you, if that makes sense.  We think about hearts and flowers and dinner and chocolate, but that might not be someone's cup of tea AT ALL!  So maybe just think of it as an opportunity to spend time getting to know them a bit, and not particularly of it being a full-on evening of romance in the first instance.  

    It is all very personal, but I think most people appreciate and are flattered by a very honest and open approach - so something along the lines of, 'I wonder if you'd be interested in going out for coffee or a drink?  I think you're really lovely and I'd like to get to know you a bit better.  It's fine if you don't (but I still think you're really nice).'  Or something along those lines.  And if it's a no, be gracious - 'No problem, but you can't blame me for asking.  Thank you!' and leave it at that.  Personally speaking, I think just being asked politely is perfectly nice, and having my choice heard and respected.  Anyway - GOOD LUCK, hope you get on well! :)
    - Gill 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    @Geoark and @bevt2017 - thank you BOTH for leading such a sensitive conversation, I am very grateful for you being so upfront.  @bevt2017 I shall have everything crossed for you over the next couple of months; maybe your meds will make a difference, but I wonder if it might be useful to keep a diary of if/when things happen?

    @Geoark - it's so bloody disappointing when things are brushed off.  It's really frustrating and I am convinced that's why things don't get raised (and thus talked about, and thus researched into, and solutions found, etc etc...) 

    I am going to be honest and say that after much hunting about and reading last night there's not a massive amount of stuff out there (well, that I can access anyway) that seems to be of much help.  HOWEVER, I wonder whether you'd mind (either of you) if I float the question out with some of the other professionals in the Sexual Health and Disability Alliance?  I could ask our forum there, you never know...

    - Gill 
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,135Community champion Pioneering

    @PSHEexpert I don't have any objections, as it would be interesting to get more informtion.

    One thing I did find helpful, was once I got close to ejaculation if I concentrated on my breathing it tended not happen. However I found this very disatisfying as it meant mentally disconnecting from what was going on and the person I was with. Plus it didn't always work.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • bevt2017bevt2017 Posts: 353Member Pioneering
    Hi @PSHEexpert
    I'm going to mention it to my hearing therapist tomorrow.
    You never know?
    I have no objections either, it will be interesting to see how you get on?
    If I find any new information on this? I will let you know.
  • jaycee6jaycee6 Posts: 53Member Courageous
    Heres a question disabled daughter 21 ,mind of a 6 year old,Would I let a six year old have sex NO NO NO,People say its there rights to have sex as they are over 18,But i have a different view .My daughter needs protecting from predators.What is your view on this subject
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 5,246Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hi jaycee

    I understand your concerns. As a parent you naturally want to protect your lovely daughter. Is your daughter ever in a postion that she could be exposed to the potential risk ?
    Every adult has the right to consensual sex but that must be an informed decision.
    So you have the option of having the "chat" or leaving the hormones to take over.
    Not a position  I would like to be in.

    CR
    .
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • jaycee6jaycee6 Posts: 53Member Courageous
    Hi cockney rebel There lies the problem.Every adult has the right to sex,But with a mentally disabled adult they are still children regardless  of age,When my daughter had sex education at school at 18 ,i asked her what she had learned ,Her answer was chicken..Well what do you make of that .I do think they need protecting as like i said she is really only 6 mentally .And i will never leave her in a position where she could be took advantage of,Maybe in 10 ,,,20 years she may be different .But for now she needs protecting.She hasn't a clue what sex is,But 6 year olds dont,,
  • ColourfullColourfull Posts: 59Member Courageous
    Hi @Phse expert,

    I have a Question for you could you give me an answer as to why when I have intercourse with hubby why dose this wake me up for hours I cannot sleep up untill 3 hours later which is really annoying as I would have thought it would induce sleep mode but no it wakes me up for ages.

    Not very helpfully when I have sleep problems anyway!!!!!!!

    @Colourfull.
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    @jaycee6 Hello!  This is a really good question.  My response would be the same as yours.  If we go purely by the law, it states that everyone has the right to an intimate or sexual relationship as long as everyone involved is over 16 and understands everything that is being asked of them.  If someone doesn't have any understanding of the context or a sexual framework, then no, they should not be having sex.  If you can't consent, you can't consent!

    Having said that, I do feel strongly that there are plenty of adults with learning disabilities who are perfectly able to consent and enjoy intimate relationships, and they need to be supported to exercise their rights exactly the same as anyone without a learning disability. We do all have the same rights to relationships and sex, but it is entirely dependent on being able to understand and consent.  
    - Gill 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Morning @Colourfull - I hope you've had some sleep!  This is surprisingly common.  I have read some research (which I have had a little look for this morning but can't put my hand to just yet) which says that whilst orgasm initiates a refractory period for men, when they commonly fall asleep, for women it has exactly the opposite effect.  Which is a bit of a pain in the bum!  It sounds like you might need to have a chat with your other half about having a compromise on the scheduling side of things (not an ideal solution, but better than it being all one way and not the other)...?
    - Gill 
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,135Community champion Pioneering
    @jaycee6

    I agree with @PSHEexpert, the individual needs to be able to give an informed consent.

    I kind of get what @CockneyRebel said about having a 'chat' or letting the hormones take over, but do not completely agree that this is the only option.

    Just prior to my daughter starting university we did have a chat, though it concentrated more on birth control. As I pointed out you cannot predict what will happen, and this includes consensual and non consensual sex. I asked her to consider it for at least while at University so she could focus on her course and know that it is not going to be interrupted by an unexpected pregnancy.

    After considering it she chose to go ahead and opted for the injection. She says she also likes the other benefits, including not having to buy womens products every month. It was also her choice to continue.

    To be honest I think if my daughter had been more like yours I would have gone ahead and made the decision for her. There is only one way to protect your daughter and that is to have complete control of her life and never leave her alone. My daughter has autism, but played out when she was 6, as soon as they are out of sight there is a risk. She also met one of her longest lasting friends at this age.

    As she grew up she chose to do a lot of things that put her 'at risk' but had we stopped her she would never have grown to be the independent and confident person she is.  Including spending last weekend on her own in Norway, she is 25 now.

    You say she may be different in 10 or 20 years but to be honest I doubt this unless you learn to let the reigns go and give her some freedom. I am not talking about taking silly risks. Even at college something could have happened, assumedly it didn't, but in your mind she will probably always be a 6 year old child at risk. But what happens if something happens to you? 

    However at the end of the day she is your daughter and your responsibility so your decision. Too many people are quick to judge parents decisions and whatever you do someone is likely to criticise you. For all my fears and axieties as my daughter grew up nothing serious ever happened to her and often don't.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • ALLFIEE22ALLFIEE22 Posts: 1Member Listener
    i have a few questions 
  • jaycee6jaycee6 Posts: 53Member Courageous
    well thanks for all the replies.I think the conclusion is that it depends on the level of your childs understanding as to what choice we have to make as a parent. 
  • ChrisAllwood11ChrisAllwood11 Posts: 6Member Listener
    How private will my question be?

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,580Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @ChrisAllwood11
    This is a public forum and so your question will be public and not private at all. 
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • ChrisAllwood11ChrisAllwood11 Posts: 6Member Listener
  • wheelybabewheelybabe Posts: 13Member Listener
     Hi my name is Nicola and I  was hoping u could help  is there some sort of equipment that helps a person that is unable to move  their like a normal person to use a vibrant? 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Hi Nicola - the answer is yes, there are some adaptations that you can get - brackets, handles, straps, attachments etc - but it'd depend on your specific needs.  Can I recommend perhaps getting in contact with Francesca, the owner of The Pleasure Garden?  She is a mine of information about sex toys and accessibility! 
    - Gill 
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    Is there no way that some questions could be private?

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    @Colourfull

    Yes, I've read and experienced many times that men seem to sleep after and women wake up a bit. Pain in the bum isnt it....Without getting two personal, my husband went on shifts and there were times when kids at school and us both off. That helped..... 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    May I just say... Im really cross that sexual difficulties aren't taken seriously by some of our doctors. Surely its as an important part of life as any other.

    I'm very lucky in that my awesome GPs have helped us with stuff. For example contraception was a nightmare and they sorted it. I had a problem where I couldn't orgasm. All the desire etcetc was there but despite....well cough anyway... still couldnt climax. I mentioned it to GP and he changed my meds and its great now.

    Other stuff too but too personal for here. So I guess Im cross....but also would encourage you to keep asking!




    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Hello! I think that there is a way of setting it to a private conversation, I know we’ve done that before when someone wanted to ask about something privately/discreetly.

    and with regards the doctors....oh don’t get me started! I think there’s still an awful lot of squeamishness and reluctance to talk about sex and desire full stop - throw in disability and you may as well be screaming into the void at times. I know that SHADA worked on a sexual respect toolkit which was being rolled out to GPs, but I still wonder how many really take notice of it.  It’s very disappointing.

    - Gill 
  • mapchangemapchange Posts: 7Member Connected
    Hi @PSHEexpert

    i'm new here and I joined just so I could ask this question. 

    Anyway... I'm a 21 y/o "high-functioning" autistic woman (I hate the HF label) and I'm on the fence about having kids. 

    I didn't get a proper sex education when I was at school and they only taught about abstinence, STDs and abortion is bad (because it was a catholic secindary school.)

    However, I eventually got a proper sex education at 18 after I found out about reddit and had a proper look through the r/sex wiki, which is when I decided what course of action to take, re: my sexual health. (I am extremely able to make  decisions and understand the consequenses, unlike my overprotective mother who'd disagree if she's still alive.)

    Me mother told me when I was 13 that she wanted me to have kids so she could have grandchildren to look after. She blabbed on about how i'll "meet someone special" and that i'll "end up having kids" and that she wanted to see these kids as much as possible but I kept telling her about how I won't be having kids and how I've never wanted them all my life, even though she insisted that "you'll change your mind when you get older!" and me repeatedly telling her "No, get lost! If I say I don't want kids, I seriously mean that I don't want kids!"

    Well i'm older now and some of what she's said is partially true, since I've found someone who's also autistic (and in a wheelchair). We've been casually seeing eachother for a year and a half, have quite a lot of mutual interests, get on like a house on fire in the platonic, romanctic and sexual departments, can make "responsible" decisions for ourselves and have both agreed that neither of us want kids (and he's helped me to make sure that we never have kids.) 

    but all of a sudden, something's going on in my brain that makes me think about the posibillity of having kids and it makes me feel weird, because I know I don't want kids but the thoughts are still there in the back of my mind and they annoy me when I don't need or want them.

    is this my hormones playing up, or my autism doing things to my thoughts?

    sorry if this question sounds stupid. 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community advisor Pioneering
    Hello @mapchange - and no, it really doesn't sound stupid.  At all.  I've been thinking your question over forwards and backwards, and I think it's as much about being a woman with our the societal expectations we are all subject to, as anything else.  So my answer is: it could be hormones, it could just be the last crumbs of your doubt, it could be the start of you having a shift towards maybe wanting to consider children.  It's hard to say, but what I can tell you is that all of it is really normal, and I don't think it's anything to do with your autism.  

    It's tricky - part of me wants to say that also, as a younger woman (and couple, actually) that it's really normal to be pretty adamant you don't want kids, and that you might decide differently later on.  I also know that that can feel really condescending (it's not being derogatory about your age or life experience, at all!), but I'm saying that to you as a 40 year old without any of her own kids.  I can also say that my mind has changed over the years too and I'm okay with that.  I think the issue is that we associate lots of things with having children, and many other values and belief structures with not having them, so when you have conflicting ideas it can feel like you're sort of giving something up or not being true to yourself.  That's not the case, it's just you working through something.  Did that make any sense? 
    - Gill 
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