This thesis reports on a study which explored the sexual health needs of men and teenage boys with a moderate to profound intellectual disability. Qualitative in design, this study was exploratory in nature as it sought to develop theoretical knowledge in male sexual health as a broad concept as opposed to testing a theory or hypothesis related to sexual health.
Literature on sexuality and intellectual disability was reviewed in addition to male-specific literature on intellectual disability. In addition, mainstream literature on sexuality, sexual health, masculinity and men’s health was also reviewed. The literature review highlighted that the intellectual disability specific literature had largely ignored mainstream literature and had failed to acknowledge emerging work in men’s health and masculinities. Moreover, the literature identified a problematised focus toward sexual matters and males with an intellectual disability.
The topic of enquiry was explored via an ethnomethodological design. Data consisted of interviews with 17 paid support staff, over 100 hours participant observation in community group homes, and triangulated with relevant artefacts from the field. The constant comparative method was used to analyse the data.
Participants described the notion of men and teenage boys with a moderate to profound intellectual disability as being Conditionally Sexual. Conditionally Sexual was framed by three interconnected themes: 1) sexual development, 2) conditionally masculine, and 3) gendered service delivery.
Through consideration of the implications to theory, practice, research, and policy, a propositional framework for a masculine health environment has been outlined. This framework is based on a salutogenic notion of male sexual health and the development of a healthy masculinity.