Legal rights or simply wishes? The struggle for sexual recognition of people with physical disabilities using personal assistance in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experience of sexuality for people with physical disabilities using formal personal assistance services in Sweden, from their own perspective. This is analyzed in relation to the aims of personal assistance services according to Swedish law, which states that they should be framed in terms of autonomy, integrity and self-determination making it possible to live a good life, on the same terms as non-disabled people. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with ten assistance users and through observations on an online discussion forum for people with disabilities. The main findings of the study concern participants' struggle to be recognized as sexual beings in order to be able to live as desired, as well as the different strategies needed to overcome obstacles in sexual expression. Results indicate the need to train personal assistants about handling assistance users' sexuality and sexual situations.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Work
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-356
Number of pages20
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

Related projects

Julia Bahner


Project: DissertationIndividual research project

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