Dating can be brutal, no matter who you are. These feelings and experiences are no different for many adults with Down Syndrome leading active, and fulfilling romantic lives. According to to Couwenhoven, this is partly due to cultural stigma and sex shaming that affects the general population as a whole. Couwenhoven partially attributes much of the lack of information about sexuality in people with Down Syndrome to common misconceptions that individuals with the condition are sterile, incapable of, and uninterested in sex. A lack of open and frank communication regarding sexual health can also lead to disparities in access to gynecological healthcare.
Down syndrome – Let’s Talk About Sex
Down Syndrome: Helping Your Child Avoid Social Problems | Michigan Medicine
Although sexuality plays a major role in the socialization of people, few studies have examined the sexual behaviors of individuals with developmental disabilities. Because of this, we decided to investigate sexuality in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder ASD and Down's syndrome Ds and to compare them with typically developing adolescents, by surveying their parents. Specifically, it was hypothesized that young people with ASD would display lower levels over five domains: social behavior, privacy, sex education, sexual behavior, and parental concerns, than peers with Ds and typically developing young people. In addition, we sought to verify developmental trends in five domains with age for each group. Overall, parents participated; 94 parents of typically developing adolescents, 93 parents of adolescents diagnosed with Ds, and 82 parents of adolescents diagnosed with ASD. Participants were surveyed with a Sexual Behavior Scale developed by Stokes and Kaur  that assesses parents' reports of their child's: social behavior, privacy awareness, sex education, sexual behavior and parental concerns about the child's behaviors. It was found that three groups were significantly different on all five domains, adolescents with ASD reportedly displaying lower levels than other groups.
People With Down Syndrome Need Healthy Sex Lives, Too
Sex education, appropriate for the developmental level and intellectual attainment of individuals with Down syndrome, adds to life quality by engendering healthy sexuality, reducing the risk of sexual abuse, avoiding sexual misunderstandings, preventing disease transmission, preventing unwanted pregnancy and alleviating other problems related to sexual function. In the past, sexuality was not considered an issue for any people with Down syndrome because of the inaccurate belief that intellectual disability formerly known as mental retardation produced permanent childhood. In fact, all people with Down syndrome have sexual feelings and intimacy needs.
The sexuality of people with Down syndrome is often overlooked. It is still common to believe that they are not interested in sex, and therefore it is unnecessary to talk to them about it. Yet people with Down syndrome have sexual and emotional needs and desires, and they often have the urge to be in a relationship. An appropriate education can enable your child to develop their sexuality in a healthy and satisfying manner.