CitationKahn, Nicole Fran; Suchindran, Chirayath M.; & Halpern, Carolyn Tucker (2019). Variations in the timing of first sexual experiences among populations with physical disabilities in the United States. Disability and Health Journal. vol. 12 (2) pp. 155-163
AbstractBackground-Timing of first sex has important implications for later sexual health, but little research has considered this in populations with physical disabilities. Objective-The purpose of this paper was to examine timing of sexual experiences among populations with physical disabilities in the United States from adolescence to early adulthood, and how timing varies by biological sex, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We hypothesized that those with physical disabilities would exhibit earlier initiation of each type of sexual activity compared to those without disabilities, but the degree of differences would depend on disability severity. We further hypothesized that these associations would be moderated by biological sex, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Methods-Data were from 13,458 respondents to Waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Cox proportional hazards models assessed differences in timing of vaginal, oral, anal, and first sex by disability severity. Results-Populations with the most severe physical disabilities had a significantly slower progression to first vaginal sex, oral sex, and their first sexual experience compared to those without disabilities (aHR: 0.74–0.77). Timing also differed by biological sex, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation, though the direction and degree of these differences varied by disability severity. Conclusions-Results fill an important gap in the literature by considering variations in sexual timing among populations with physical disabilities using a longitudinal, nationally representative sample. Future research should continue to promote inclusion of populations with disabilities to inform future policies and programs for healthy sexual development.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleDisability and Health Journal
Author(s)Kahn, Nicole Fran
Suchindran, Chirayath M.
Halpern, Carolyn Tucker