Views on Sex Using the Nominal Group Technique to Explore Sexuality and Physical Intimacy in Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

J. M. T. Stoffelen*, D. Schaafsma, G. Kok, L. M. G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Individuals with an intellectual disability (ID) have sexual feelings, are sexually active and have ideas about sexuality. There is limited information available about the ideas and experiences regarding sexual expression, interests and knowledge of sexual rights in this population. This study aims to identify the ideas, expressions, barriers to sexuality, experienced by people with IDs, using the Nominal Group Technique (NGT). The NGT was used to explore the views of people with mild ID on sexual needs and issues. NGT is a structured and specific form of focus group research. It is a single-question' technique that combines quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection for relatively small groups. NGT involves four steps: silent generation of ideas, round robin recording of ideas, clarification of ideas, and ranking of ideas. It was an inclusive research project: people with an ID were involved in the design, planning, performance, and analysis of the study. In total 39 people with mild IDs were able to explore their experiences and ideas on sexuality. They were able to answer questions like: What are their needs? What are their problems? They were capable of expressing their views, needs and barriers on sexuality and sexual rights. The most important items were the relationship between two people (47%), sex and sex related subjects as sex education (23%), and feeling safe and comfortable (10%). People with mild IDs are capable of expressing their views on sexuality and sexual rights. The participants stated that they need support in achieving these rights. The nominal group technique appears to be an appropriate methodology on sensitive issues as sexuality and sexual rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-244
Number of pages18
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Sexuality
  • Sex
  • Sexual rights
  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disability
  • Inclusive
  • Research
  • Methodology
  • The Netherlands
  • LOVE

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