Homosexuality among people with a mild intellectual disability: an explorative study on the lived experiences of homosexual people in the Netherlands with a mild intellectual disability

J. Stoffelen*, G. Kok, H. Hospers, L.M.G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Empirical research on homosexuality among people with an intellectual disability (ID) is limited and, to date, very little is known regarding the personal experiences of gay and lesbian people with an ID. This study set out to answer the question: What are the lived experiences of a specific cohort of homosexual people with an intellectual disability living in the Netherlands? Method To answer this question, a qualitative study was performed in which 21 people with a mild ID were interviewed via semi-structured interviews. In this study, 19 participants were men and two were women (average age = 40.5 years). Results Participants reported positive and negative experiences, and talked about their gay or lesbian identity. Almost half of the participants (n = 10) reported that they had experienced sexual abuse including partner violence (n = 6). Additionally, they indicated that there was a lack of support for homosexual people with an ID. Conclusion Specific problems impact the lives of homosexual people with ID, namely the high prevalence of negative sexual experiences, the lack of support, training and sex education, and their search for a suitable partner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-267
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • homosexual
  • intellectual disability
  • learning disability
  • sexual behaviour
  • stigma
  • support needs
  • MEN
  • GAY

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