Sexual and Personal Relationships – Disabled People

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

Disability related information and resources to help you with your sex life, sexual problems, relationships and dating.

People with disabilities and the elderly can have the same sexual and emotional needs as anyone else. Scientific studies suggest loving relationships, physical touch and sex can have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure.

Physical disabilities caused by ageing, heart disease, spinal injuries and many other impairments may affect sexual functioning. Although physically disabled you may enjoy sex with the help of sex toys, through your own improvisation and finding suitable sex positions.

Finding a partner or having a sexual relationship brings with it problems that may occur where help may be needed.

Finding help

There are three kinds of organisation you can talk to:

  • Those welcoming everyone needing guidance.
  • Those specialising in helping all disabled people with their relationships.
  • Those dedicated to particular disabilities.

For everyone

Your GP can discuss your personal and sexual problems with you, then refer you to the experts
within the NHS or to an NHS family planning clinic if necessary.

Brook Advisory Centres

Welcoming disabled people up to the age 25 at centres around the
country, and they have a confidential information/helpline service (see below).
Commonly known just as Brook – the only national voluntary sector provider of free and
confidential sexual health advice and services specifically for young people under 25.
Brook is a registered charity, and has 40 years’ experience of providing professional
advice through specially trained doctors, nurses, counsellors, and outreach and information
workers to over 200,000 young people each year.

Brook is the trading name of Brook Advisory Centres. Limited Company Registered in
England and Wales Number 813847. Registered Charity Number 239966.

Address is:
50 Featherstone Street
London EC1Y 8RT

National office telephone (admin): 020 7284 6040
Fax (admin): 020 7284 6050
General admin email:

find a service:

Helpline Tel: 0808 802 1234 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)

How ageing can affect your libido

There’s no getting around the fact that as we age, our sexual desire can suffer. It’s extremely common for both men and women to develop a dip in libido as they get older, and while this diminished desire is not a cause for concern, it can be a major source of distress for many people. If you want to find out more about how your age may be affecting your sex drive, this simple guide should help.

How are men affected?

As men age, their testosterone levels gradually decline, which can lead to depression, fatigue and reduced sexual desire. When men reach the age of 40, they may find that it is more difficult to get or maintain an erection because of reduced blood flow to the penis. Older men are also at greater risk of certain medical conditions, such as erectile dysfunction, which can wreak havoc on libido. If you are troubled by a persistent lack of desire, or feel that it is having a negative effect on your sex life with your partner, it’s a good idea to consult your GP, or to seek advice from reputable online clinics.

How are women affected?

Although most common in the midlife years, reduced sex drive can affect women of different ages. While some women can experience a large dip in sexual desire in their 50s, others may notice no significant changes until much later.

Hormone levels generally begin to fluctuate and decline when a woman reaches 30. Especially after childbirth, testosterone levels can fall to an extremely low level, causing some women to lose interest in sex.

As women start to reach the menopause, their levels of oestrogen can start to decrease, which can result in a reduction in sex drive. Symptoms of the menopause include night sweats, hot flushes and vaginal dryness, which can all contribute towards a lack of sexual interest. Women can also develop an age-related wane in testosterone levels (especially after a hysterectomy), which can affect their libidos. If this becomes a serious problem, a GP or medical practitioner will be able to determine whether you are suitable for hormone replacement therapy.

Health conditions

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to certain health ailments. For example, chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity can all play a part in reducing your sex drive. Certain medicines can also affect libido, including those for high blood pressure, depression, seizures and anything that blocks the production of testosterone. If you are concerned that the medication you are taking has affected your sex drive, a healthcare professional may be able to offer you an alternative prescription that has less of an impact on your sexual desire.


The Family Planning Association (FPA)

providing a nation-wide information and education service on
all aspects of contraception and sexual health. The FPA can also give details of your nearest
source of family planning help and advice.

Main Website:

To find a free contraception or sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment clinic visit:

FPA helplines

FPA helpline UK
This helpline has now closed.

FPA helpline Northern Ireland
0845 122 8687
9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays)


Offers counselling to adult couples with relationship difficulties whether or not they are
Relate offers a wide range of services for couples, families and individuals. They support
people through all stages of their relationships and you can access their support on your
own or with others, face-to-face, on the phone or on the internet.
They deliver services all over England, Wales and Northern Ireland at over 600 locations
as well as by phone and online. Wherever you are help from Relate is available nearby.

How to book a Telephone Counselling appointment

Contact our booking line on 0300 100 1234. The booking line is open on Monday – Thursday: 8am to 10pm, Friday: 8am to 6pm and Saturday: 9am to 5pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

For more information visit:

To find your nearest Relate see page:

Main Website:

Relationships Scotland

Relationships Scotland’s network of affiliated local services provide relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact centres and other family support services across all of mainland and island Scotland. Their work supports individuals, couples and families experiencing relationship difficulties. Around 20,000 people contact their services each year.

Info Line: 0845 119 2020 Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm


For all disabled people

Association to Aid the Sexual and Personal Relationships of People with a Disability (formerly SPOD) has ceased to exist.


Outsiders runs a uniquely prestigious international private club for socially and physically disabled people,
where members offer each other peer support and friendship. Many of our members find love and happiness.
We hold unthreatening events and lunches, where everybody is introduced to one another.
Some enjoy lively group discussions, whilst others get to know one another in private conversations.

Outsiders also offers support on disability, relationships, sexuality, dating and sexual services,
to all disabled people and a wide range of therapists and health and social care professionals.
This work is featured widely in Jessica Kingsley’s book ‘Supporting Disabled People with their Sexual Lives’.

The Outsiders Club

Outsiders is a social, peer support and dating club, run by and for socially and physically disabled people


Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood

DPPI (Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood) is a registered charity that promotes better awareness and support for disabled people during pregnancy and as parents.

Who they are for:

  • disabled people who are already parents and those who wish to become parents
  • health and social work professionals
  • other individuals and organizations concerned with disability and/or pregnancy and parenting.

Their services:

  • A free, confidential enquiry service offering information and advice to disabled parents and professionals;
  • Publications: Accessible guides on disabled parenting;
  • Training and consultation for health and social care professionals;
  • This website, which provides information, news and articles



For people with specific disabilities:

BILD ( British Institute of Learning Disabilities )

Information and resources about friendships and relationships to support people to have a great life.



Postal address:
Birmingham Research Park
97 Vincent Drive
B15 2SQ

By telephone: 0121 415 6960

By email:

Mencap ( The voice of Learning Disability )

Mencap believe friendships and relationships are a core part of life for everyone – including people with a learning disability.

In the Friendships and relationships section of their website they have information on sex and relationships and marriage and starting a family.


Contact information for their head offices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and key contact details for services and helplines can be found at:

British Deaf Association (BDA)


Offers people who are deaf or hard of hearing information and support about sexually transmitted diseases, safer sex, sexuality and sexual relationships, pregnancy and contraception. The BDA aims to support deaf people in England,Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

BDA Head Office
2nd Floor
356 Holloway Road
N7 6PA

Tel 020 7697 4140

Genetic Alliance UK

Concerned with issues of genetic disorders and co-ordinates groups specialising in particular disorders. Its information service provides addresses where people who are worried about passing on a disability to the next generation can find help locally.

Tel: (020) 7704 3141;


Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)

Welfare counselling services that provide counselling and advice to help solve problems, including personal and sexual ones, and put people in touch with one another. SIA produces a range of publications about sexual issues and a newsletter in which readers discuss matters regularly and fully.

SIA House, 2 Trueman Place, Oldbrook, Milton Keynes MK6 2HH

Free Advice Line: 0800 980 0501 Open 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday

The Source (Young Arthritis Care) – The Source offers confidential support for young people and the parents and families of children with arthritis.

Who is it for?

You can ring The Source if you are a young person with any questions about arthritis and how it affects your life. They also get calls from parents, carers, teachers or anyone involved with young people.

Tel: 0808 808 2000 (weekdays 10.00-16.00)


Websites specific to many disabilities and impairments may offer advice, social networking and social interaction.


Disabled Dating Resources:

This site offers you the chance to share your values and life experiences, friendship and possibly love. You can talk with new and old friends about deaf or ASL issues, relationships, cultures, religions, work, sports, lives and more. And develop relationships that can last a lifetime


They claim thousands of singles are joining the service every day, all of them looking for online dates, online chat, romance or serious long term relationships.


(Focus on Disability provides these dating websites for information only.)