Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Matthew Yau, Adjunct professor, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal recently granted a woman with multiple sclerosis the right to have a sex therapist paid for under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

After her initial application for sex therapy to be covered under her NDIS package was rejected, she appealed the decision. The tribunal ruled in the applicant’s favour, arguing sex therapy is a “reasonable and necessary support” for this woman and for other people with disability.

This is a significant milestone in the advancement of sexual rights of people with disability. It represents a recognition that people with disability have sexual needs, and that they experience sexual challenges that require attention and assistance.

Read more: Why the NDIS should cover the services of sex workers

To further recognise this, people with disability should also be able to access sex workers under the NDIS.

The difference between a sex therapist and a sex worker is in the provision of physical contact. While a sex therapist will offer verbal coaching, a sex worker has a specified role in providing a paid sexual service.

Like everyone else, people with disability have sexual needs

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human, and disability does not dampen a peson’s sexual desire, nor their need for intimacy.

Decades of research have shown the many benefits of sex, which include improved physical health, quality of life, and psychological well-being.

People with disability – whether physical or intellectual – may face challenges in achieving sexual pleasure. Professional sex therapy can provide sex education, guidance and counselling to couples and individuals with a disability.

Sex therapists generally come from a professional background of health care, psychology or counselling, with specialised training in sex therapy. Treatment for clients with disability may focus on how to enjoy or resume sexual and intimate activities after an injury, or how to adapt sexual activities as the client’s disability progresses.

Sex workers should be covered, too

While we can choose our sexual partners and the ways we express and satisfy our own sexual needs, these things can be more challenging for people with disability. This is due in a large part to social prejudices and discrimination.

In this sense, the tribunal decision did not go far enough. It should have recognised not only sex therapy, but also that the service of sex workers may be required by some people with disability.

Finally, the NDIS will fund sex therapy. But it should cover sex workers too People who have a physical or intellectual disability might find it difficult to express their sexuality in satisfying ways. From shutterstock.com

Sex workers may engage in sexual intercourse with a person with disability, or physically assist a couple with disability to have sex.

For those who don’t have potential partners or the physical and/or intellectual capacity for sexual expression, access to sex worker services to satisfy their sexual needs should be seen as a legitimate option.

Read more: The NDIS is delivering 'reasonable and necessary' supports for some, but others are missing out

Opposition to the decision

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the agency charged with implementing the NDIS, has previously stressed it doesn’t cover sexual services.

Following the tribunal hearing, NDIS minister Stuart Robert reiterated this position, and noted the NDIA would appeal the ruling to the federal court.

Many people question why we should use taxpayers’ money to subsidise a person with disability pursuing sexual pleasure, when this may also be a challenge for couples and individuals not affected by disability.

Looking to the future

If we believe our Australian welfare system is equitable and respectful of individual rights, whether the NDIS service user is using the money for a hobby class on entomology (the study of insects), a sex worker’s intimate service, or something else, this is an individual choice which we need to support for his/her quality of life and independence.

With the tribunal decision, people with disability can now legitimately request sex therapy in their care plan and access professional assistance to address their sexual challenges.

Sexual expression and intimacy are basic human needs, and should be equally recognised among people with and without disability as facilitating improved quality of life.

Read more: Sex, technology and disability – it's complicated

Authors: Matthew Yau, Adjunct professor, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University

Read more http://theconversation.com/finally-the-ndis-will-fund-sex-therapy-but-it-should-cover-sex-workers-too-120284

A contentious NSW gas project is weeks away from approval. Here are 3 reasons it should be rejected

arrow_forward

Slow to adjust to the pandemic's 'new normal'? Don't worry, your brain's just learning new skills

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Why You May Need A Tower Scaffold Hire

When constructing a building, or even a multilevel structure, you must use a tower scaffold to get you into position. What is unique about this type of scaffolding is that you can build it highe...

News Company - avatar News Company

20 year old Aussie marketing genius helping billion dollar household brands

Australian digital marketing agency, Co Media, founded by 20 year old marketing genius Lucas Cook, is making its mark on the world stage by gaining a number of high profile clients and quickly b...

News Company - avatar News Company

5 Reasons to Choose Pipe Relining

There’s nothing like a damaged pipe to stress you out and keep you up throughout the night. Depending on the extent of the damage, a pipe repair can be a complicated and time-consuming process. ...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion