Description of Sexual Activity of Young Adults Who are Visually Impaired and the Need for Effective Sex Education
Abstract: Introduction: Little research has been reported on all aspects of sexuality as it pertains to individuals with visual impairments. This article analyzes data on the sexual experiences of young adults who are visually impaired and young adults without disabilities. Methods: The authors conducted a secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) federal database and assessed a nationally representative sample of transition-aged young adults with visual impairments. During the same period as the NLTS2, identical survey questions were asked of young adults without disabilities who participated in survey research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC survey sample included young adults who were two to three years younger than the participants in the NLTS2 sample. The descriptive analysis presents estimates of the sexual activity and use of contraception by both samples. Results: Of the transition-aged young adults with visual impairments, 57% reported having sexual intercourse, and of the transition-aged young adults without disabilities, 65% reported having sexual intercourse. Likewise, nearly 40% of the young adults with visual impairments and approximately 50% of those without disabilities reported having had sexual intercourse in the three months before the survey. The use of condoms was also similar (64% of those with visual impairments and 54% of those without disabilities) even though the use of contraceptives other than condoms varied between the samples. Discussion: The transition-aged young adults with visual impairments reported having similar rates of sexual experiences as their sighted counterparts, except two to three years later. Implications for Practitioners: The researchers concluded that there is a need to provide effective instruction in sexual health that incorporates meaningful methods and materials that are designed specifically to meet the unique needs of young adults who are visually impaired.