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Sexuality and intimate relationships for people with learning disability in Malta: realities and potentials

Azzopardi Lane, Claire Lucille (2011) Sexuality and intimate relationships for people with learning disability in Malta: realities and potentials. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86478) (KAR id:86478)


Sexuality is an area in which people with learning disability are disabled by social attitudes. Stereotypical views about the sexuality of people with learning disability range from asexuality, implying that they have no erotic or romantic inclinations, to hyper-sexuality which reinforces institutionalized sex segregation through the process of social exclusion. In Malta all these influences contribute to hinder the rights and the quality of life of people with learning disability. The theory of the social model of disability underpins the research aims, while reflecting discourses of equality and rights. The research aims at giving a better understanding of the sexual lives of people with learning disability in a Maltese context, whilst eliciting the opinions and beliefs of people with learning disability themselves, their parents and their service providers. Qualitative data, collected from people with learning disability, their parents and service providers is interpreted using phenomenological analysis. A sex education intervention pilot project is also run as part of the research, being informed by the findings of the same research. Findings identify ideologies, highlight missing structures and illustrate feasible future strategies. They reveal a lack of community support and emphasise the need of platforms where people with learning disability can form and maintain friendships and relationships. The dearth of any adequate form of sex education currently available for people with learning disability across Malta as well as the lacuna in policies related to sexuality, and particularly referring to the sexuality of people with learning disability is also uncovered. Recommendations reflecting findings from the main research study and the pilot project mainly target the necessity of sex education, policies and procedures surrounding sexuality in the context of people with learning disability in services across the islands.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86478
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:53 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2021 17:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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