June 20, 2024

Debate | sexual assistance for disabled

By Jim France

The State Secretary for Disabled Persons in France, Sophie Cluzel, has expressed her support for the creation of sex assistants for disabled persons.

We are living in times of “right to” (right to the child, right to work, right to housing…), the question of the right to a fulfilled sexuality, especially for disabled people, remains a taboo.
Since 2013, when the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) expressed its opposition to the creation of the profession of sex worker for people with disabilities, the subject seemed to be closed. But this Sunday, the Secretary of State for the Disabled, Sophie Cluzel, reopened the debate by saying she was in favour of “the support of the sexual life of disabled people” by “assistants”.

The Minister therefore sent a letter to Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the CCNE, asking the committee to look again at the issue of the sexual rights of the disabled. The committee is expected to take several months before issuing its conclusions and will have to reflect on how to reconcile the principle of the right to sexuality with that of the non-marketing of the body, given that the use of prostitution has been banned in France since 2016. For the time being, all sexual assistance to the disabled is considered to be prostitution.

Sexual assistance allowed in several European countries

The profession of sex assistant exists in many countries, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Sexual support is considered an integral part of the “medical” care of the disabled person. The assistance can range from a simple caress to sexual intercourse. During an interview at Europe 1, Sophie Cluzel called for inspiration from these foreign examples.

The ideology against sexual pleasure

diaToday, associations defending the rights of the disabled find that those who want to have a normal sexual life are forced to turn to parallel and clandestine networks. “There are prostitutes specialized in the field of disability, it would be better to make a profession of it in the field of health professionals,” says Jérôme Guedj. In 2013, the former PS deputy supported the creation of sex assistants but was opposed, in his words, “an end to the rejection of the left and feminists.

We find here the observation made by many activists for the cause of the disabled: in the name of a certain ideology, a certain modesty and great principles (feminism, refusal of prostitution…), some refuse to see the sexual distress in which many disabled people live. But for Sophie Cluzel, allowing people with disabilities to have an “intimate, emotional and sexual life” is part of the broader objective of “restoring full citizenship, respect and dignity to people with disabilities”.

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