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The Open University Sexuality Alliance guidance and standards

So that people who support people affected by disability look through a resource to get a better understanding that we are sexual beings with needs like everyone else. We might need some practical help to reach our goals but is does not make us any less human.

'Talking about Sex, Sexuality and Relationships: Guidance and Standards for those working with young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions' was first launched in London on December 1st 2015 in print and online. There is also a separate, two page extract (pdf) outlining the Principles, Guidance and Standards. Although no major changes have been made to the guidance, some additional legal references and information have been added to a second edition which is now available both online and in print. This guidance was tested with seventy-five delegates who attended the launch.


Talking About Sex, Sexuality and Relationships aims to provide some key standards for health, social care and education staff working with young people who have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions (LLTCs). It provides information about how best to support young people, and their families, in addressing sexuality, sexuality expression, relationships and intimacy, providing signposts to useful resources and examples of the law applied to practice. It is not a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide covering every aspect of sex, intimacy and relationships but aims to highlight some of the key issues that may arise and build confidence in how to approach the issue of sexuality with young people.

It also sets out some of the key governance issues that need to be considered by organisations and service managers and provides useful case examples that highlight some of the legal and safeguarding issues.

The guidance is not setting-specific, but has been designed for use by statutory and voluntary sector agencies, independent organisations as well as professionals who are employed directly through direct payments in the UK. The guidance may also be useful for parents, carers and partners. 

To request a printed copy of either the guidance or extract, please contact

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the work of The Open University Sexuality Alliance or would like to get involved please contact:

Dr Sarah Earle
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes


Telephone: 01908 654260

Sexuality Alliance Young Adults Blog