Dr Sarah Ashworth, Dr Hannah Carton

Let’s Talk About Sex

Sexual Health Education Programme Manual for Groups and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities


Let’s Talk About Sex is a sexual health education programme manual for individuals and groups with intellectual disabilities. The manual provides a contemporary, well-structured programme covering physical and emotional aspects of sexual health, gender identity, consent, assertiveness, dignity and respect, and sexual relationships.



‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ is a much-needed resource for providing information to groups and individuals with intellectual disabilities in order that they are aware of the risks and intricacies of sexual health, sexual relationships and all that goes with this.  The manual provides detailed guidance and resources which can be used to run a group programme delivered as individual stand-alone sessions, in a pick and mix style, or as a 16-week programme, according to the needs of those attending. It can also be used as a basis for working with individuals on sexual health matters.

The programme covers topics including physiology, puberty, personal hygiene, health screening, sexual orientation and gender identity, dignity and respect, sexual education, consent, relationships, and exploitation, delivered in a non-judgemental, informative, supportive approach. Each session incorporates different methods of learning, including facilitator-led discussion, active participation and visual aids to enhance learning and can be adapted to meet the learning needs of participants. Online, printable resources are included to reinforce learning. Guidance is provided to facilitators on supporting individuals during and after sessions.


Brief Table of Contents
1. About the Resource
2. Managing Behaviour in the Group
3. Learning Disability Specific Needs
4. Involvement of Support Staff and Carers
5. Typical Session Structure
6. Programme Outline: Session Content

Including the following topics:
Physiology and Puberty; Periods, Menopause, Wet Dreams; Personal Hygiene;
Health Screening; Dignity and Respect; Arousal and Masturbation; Sexual orientation and Gender Identity; Mechanics of Sex; Contraception and STIs; Consent and Assertiveness; Emotions and Relationships; Exploitation and Abuse

Publication Date: August 2020

ISBN: 9781913414214



Support staff and professionals supporting young people and adults with intellectual disabilities in residential provision, schools, in-patient hospitals, prisons, community projects or care communities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.


Dr Hannah Carton specialises in Forensic Psychology and has experience of working across a number of services (secure private healthcare, NHS, and community organisations) and settings (community, low and medium security).  She has worked with adults diagnosed with a range of mental disorders (personality disorders, mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, developmental and neurological disorders) within clinical, forensic, and community settings.  For the last two years, she has been working with individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.


Dr Sarah Ashworth is a Forensic Psychologist who specialises in working with adults within psychiatric services. Her clinical experience has involved over 10 years working with client groups with a range of complex needs and diagnoses, including mental health difficulties, developmental disorders, and neurological conditions. This has been within a range of secure, rehabilitative, community, and charity settings. She has been involved in the delivery, development and evaluation of many psychologically informed intervention programmes.



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