Sexuality Education and Intellectual Disability: Time to Address the Challenge

Brad McDaniels, Allison Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article was to examine the current status and effectiveness of sexual education curricula for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). To obtain a complete picture of extant literature focused on sexuality education for individuals with ID, a comprehensive review of the literature published in social science databases from 1995 to 2015 was performed. Articles that were deemed appropriate, based on the thorough review of the effects of ineffective sexual education and a review of current options, were analyzed. The final sample included 92 articles. The results demonstrated that, as a result of inadequate sexual education, individuals with ID are at a greater risk of sexual abuse, STD, and misinformation. Thorough examination of the available literature resulted in the conclusion that formal, individualized, and specific sexual education for individuals with intellectual disabilities is lacking. Considering the paucity of published data and the absence of appropriate, population-specific, and empirically validated sexual education content for individuals with intellectual disabilities, changes to the current approach are strongly indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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