I Wanna Hold Your Hand (among other things)

I’ve got birds – I’ve got bees – what I don’t have is a teenage daughter who understands her sexuality. But that teenage daughter is longing for those things she is having trouble labeling.


My 18 year old daughter, Jessica, is significantly intellectually disabled. But her hormones work just fine, and she is trying to make sense of her feelings. She says she wants a boyfriend – she flirts with men, even men with whom she shouldn’t flirt, and she often (inappropriately) engages in self-stimulation.

For all you readers who haven’t run screaming from the room, I need help!

I adopted Jessica when she was 9 years old, and I strongly believe she was sexually abused while she was in the foster care system. I have tried over the years to explain the birds and the bees, but the blank look on her face tells me she just isn’t understanding.

I believe Jessica has a right to enjoy her sexuality. I hope one day she can find that special someone to spend her life with. But just how do I help her understand all that goes along with that?

Some of the others on her support team and I have found and purchased a curriculum on sexuality designed specifically for people with special needs, and we plan to share with Jessica. I’m hoping it will work, but I need some backup plans and advice – lots of advice.

Please share your thoughts and ideas. Even if you haven’t been through this with your child yet, tell me what your plans are for the future.

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

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