Relationships and sexuality - Avenues Group
30 - 1993-2023

Relationships and sexuality

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to build healthy and meaningful relationships.

Whether it’s a friendship or sexual partnership, relationships enrich our lives and it’s just the same for people with a learning disability. However statistics reveal that only 3% of people with learning disabilities live as a couple compared to 70% of the general population.

We realise that sometimes it can be a difficult subject to talk about, especially if you are a family member, but people with a learning disability have the the human right to express their sexuality and have personal and sexual relationships if they wish.


Avenues provides comprehensive staff training in the subject of Relationships, Sex and Sexuality and the best way to support people with a learning disability. This addresses issues such as ‘recognising the rights of an individual regarding personal relationships, sexuality and sex’ to ‘exploring the impact of a job role when supporting people in regard to personal relationships’.

Course leader Malcolm Mitchell said:  “The idea is that we help the person understand what they want so that they can make a choice. If they are keen on having a sexual relationship we assess what the potential risks could be and work with that person”.

“People with learning disabilities have the same rights as everyone else, the same complexities, the same issues and concerns that all of us have. The difference is that they are more vunerable. Mostly we need to listen to people and understand what’s right for them”.

Jaqueline and Martyn’s story

Jacqueline and Martyn are both supported by Avenues and have been for a number of years. They have also been a couple for over 40 years.

Avenues supports them in their relationship, from arranging visits to each other’s houses to supporting them to take holidays together.

In this clip from an Avenues Podcast on Relationships, sex and disability Jacqueline and Martyn talk about their need for privacy.

To hear more from Malcolm and Avenues approach to Relationships, sex and sexuality and how best to support someone as well as hearing more from Jacqueline and Martyn, you can listen to this podcast ….