Sex is considered an activity of daily living and I personally believe that sex, sexuality, expression of gender, and creating intimate and loving connections are just as important to people’s overall health and well-being as any other occupation that is meaningful in their lives. As an occupational therapist, I am extremely passionate about the area of sexuality and intimacy as it intersects with disabilities. Whenever I have an opportunity to do research papers, this is the area I am drawn to and have been for over 10 years. Furthermore, in undergraduate school, I put in the extra effort to minor gender, sexuality, and queer studies along with my health science major to broaden my knowledge on sex, gender, and sexuality.
During undergrad I did some research on the intersections of sex and disability as well as the issues people with disabilities and older LGBT folks face in the healthcare system. One of the most common themes in the research is that healthcare professionals do not know how to navigate issues of sex and sexuality with their patients due to a combination of how our society desexualizes people with disabilities and the elderly, as well as not being trained properly on how to navigate these topics within their practice. Recently as part of my doctor of occupational therapy capstone project, I completed a literature review to identify if occupational therapists are addressing the topic of sexuality and intimacy with their clients, why they may not be, and how to better prepare occupational therapists to do so.
I want to be an OT that is not only knowledgeable in handling complex sexuality issues, but specialize in it in the long term. I aspire to be an OT that clients can feel confident in getting their sex, gender, sexuality, and intimacy concerns addressed. Further, I will become a resource for OT colleagues who want to expand on their knowledge on the topic, as well as an instructor educating next generations of OTs on issues of sex, gender, and sexuality.