Date: Wednesday 1st March 10 – 4pm
Location: 2nd Floor, Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University, Holdenhurst Road
Sexual well-being is one of the most significant aspects in life (Taylor, 2011), profoundly connected to human well-being where pleasure, person to person connection and communication enhances self-worth and confidence (Nusbaum and Rosenfield, 2004; Myers and Milner, 2007; Dunk, 2007; Owens, 2015).
With the concept of well-being becoming embedded within social care following the implementation of the Care Act 2014, practitioners must be prepared, and able, to support people in identifying what impacts on their own well-being. This exploratory, collaborative, approach to well-being has the potential to uncover diverse issues which present practitioners opportunities to directly apply their interpersonal skills.
Sexual well-being is a sensitive topic but social workers’ preparedness to discuss difficult and sensitive subjects is a professional strength (Bywaters and Ungar, 2010). Engagement with sexual well-being is an aspect of practice which faces multi-layered barriers, ranging from social taboos around sex and disability, to personal values, culture and experience. Fear of risk, uncertainty about the law, and lack of policy or guidance create an environment where enabling people’s sexual expression is problematic, yet the Human Rights Act, 1998, makes explicit that agencies must not inhibit citizens’ rights to a private life and relationships of their choice (Article 8) – risk averse practice may seek to protect, yet might be breaking human rights law.
With all this complexity in mind the National Centre of Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice held an extremely well-received day exploring the importance of promoting sexual well-being in social care and health practice. The event emerged from doctoral research focusing on the meaning of sexual well-being for physically disabled people. The programme covered the topic from different perspectives.
The event was a success with new working partnerships and shared projects (including a potential book) emerging. The day was part of the work to take this research forward, further aims include the development of a practitioner learning tool designed collaboratively with stakeholders, further presentations at academic, professional and disability group events and more publications.
If you are interested in this topic or would like to find out more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.