Dear Community Members,
Thank you for your interest in Arts Under the Stars 2016 <3 performance. This performance is inspired by the original research of Assistant Professor Kristen Linton in Health Science at CSUCI and senior capstone student Emily Hops studying holistic health and performing arts. Our hope is that the performance informs you that people of all abilities and disabilities may engage in intimate and sexual relationships and these relationships are often a very fulfilling aspect of life regardless of one’s ability. Previous research has found that many people, including those in the medical profession, assume people with disabilities are asexual. This is simply not true according to our research.
In collaboration with Drs. Heidi Rueda and Lela Rankin WilliamsDrs. Heidi Rueda and Lela Rankin Williams, Dr. Linton conducted research on the needs of people with disabilities’ intimacy and sexual health. More specifically, they focused on the perceptions of social workers had on their clients. They found that people with disabilities are engaging in intimate and sexual relationships. Additionally, there are policies and procedures that limit the education they receive on sexual health, such as no sex education in special education classes. In addition, policies limit adults with disabilities’ ability to fully engage in intimate relationships, such as bans on living with one’s spouse in assistive living arrangements or loss of health or welfare benefits if one gets married.
Emily Hops continued this research by interviewing seven college students with disabilities at CSUCI about dating, relationships, intimacy, sexuality, and sex. Disabilities included learning, developmental, mental health, and physical impairments. All participants were asked the same questions. For example, “In your opinion, what are your best qualities?”, “Describe your most intimate experience” and “When was the last time you felt sexy?” A major finding was that all participants described expansive, enjoyable love lives and interactions with multiple romantic and sexual partners.
As a person who interacts with people with disabilities on a daily basis, we hope that this performance informed you that people with disabilities do indeed engage in intimate and sexual relationships and inspired you to defend the intimacy, sexuality, and sexual health needs of people with disabilities.
With <3 ,
Kristen Linton and Emily Hops
To read more on Drs. Kristen Linton, Heidi Rueda and Lela Rankin Williams research. please clink the links below