On air: Do we need sex to feel normal?

otto-baxterOtto Baxter is like most 21 year old guys – he wants to find a girlfriend and have sex. Unlike most other 21 year olds, he has Down’s syndrome. His mum Lucy says she’s “working overtime to get this sorted for him.” She’s appealing for women to come forward, and says she’d be happy if Otto wanted to visit a prostitute.

Lucy says “I can’t see that one can be a rounded individual in our society if you don’t participate in everything that we participate in,” and that includes sex. Should Lucy Baxter be placing such a big emphasis on finding sex for her son? Do we need sex to make us feel normal?

Sex therapist and advice columnist Dr Miriam Stoppard says she supports Lucy Baxter’s desire for her son to have sex like anyone else.

Over on the BBC’s disability site Ouch, Batgirl says: “it’s a little tasteless – not to mention a bit early – to start “working overtime” to find a prostitute for a desperate virginity-loss mission.”

There are all sorts of people who don’t have sex for all sorts of reasons. What about if you’re old? If you’re obese and struggle to find a partner, or if you chose to be celibate, do you feel incomplete because sex defines us? Is it society that has a hang up about people who are in any way different having sex?

65 Responses to “On air: Do we need sex to feel normal?”

  1. 1 Chad from Virginia
    March 18, 2009 at 14:35

    As a young man I signed a True Love Waits card, pledging myself to not have sex until married. As I have since withdrawn myself from regular church attendance, I struggle with whether I should have sex now or keep waiting.

    At 23, being a virgin is an oddity to some people. I just told a woman that I’m seeing that I’m still a virgin and I think she almost choked on her own spittle. I go back and forth about whether or not I wish to stay a virgin. Right now I’m thinking no, but I might change my mind again later.

    I know part of the issue for me was the now laughable notion that it would be romantic to be able to say on my wedding night “I’ve waited my whole life for this moment.” I feel that many women would prefer someone experienced to the increasingly irrelevant if not empty gesture of having “saved myself for them.”

    There are many reasons to have sex and many reasons not to but if you ask me Americans get too hung up on it. Fornicate, copulate, procreate, whatever. Just do what makes sense for you. If this lady wants her son to get some that bad and he’s looking for some loving, someone help them out already!

  2. 2 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 18, 2009 at 14:37

    If everyone had Lucy Baxter’s rational and supportive attitude towards sex the world would be a much better place. Good luck, Otto, and bravo, Lucy!

  3. 3 Carol Amuge
    March 18, 2009 at 14:51

    Sex for an unmarried 21 year old is courting disaster! I’m a little older than Otto and abstaining and do not at any time think or feel abnormal. How loving for a mother to help her son out of Down’s syndrome but more seriously how rude and careless for a mother to go an extra disastrous mile to buy her son (that she dearly loves) a prostitute! Dearly mother, I’m afraid you won’t buy a prostitute once. You will do it second time and a third time…yes so many times till you realize you were treading on slippery ground. All the best for you and your son.

  4. 4 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    March 18, 2009 at 15:03

    The search for a sexual partner and romantic partner is part of being normal. If she wants her son to feel normal he should have to go through the same process as the rest of us, and part of that is learning to deal with patience, heartache, and horniness in all its myriad frustrating forms.

    Whether you are smart, stupid, emotionally wrecked, ugly, obese, or have Down’s syndrome, you can find sex and even love to go along with it. It’s a struggle for everyone. Having your mom find it for you just seems to kill the natural thrill that should come from finding someone you’re compatible with. And I’ve known people with Down’s syndrome who have found someone–this guy can too.

  5. 5 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    March 18, 2009 at 15:11

    Additionally, I have been both obese and thin and have found sexual and emotional partners. While there is an argument to be made for sex being a purely sexual thing, in my experience even the ugliest dog of a person looks beautiful and desirable in the eyes of their lover.

    I feel that much of the trouble with sex in society is that we are taught that sex validates who we are. Sex is a natural thing, but I think most people in culture feel too much that without sex, you aren’t a real person. I feel there is a dangerous amount of emotional and social instability that is caused by people having sex that they don’t really want to have. This includes teen parents, STD issues, gay issues, violence against women issues, and even just simple self-esteem issues that lead to long term and widespread problems in our society.

  6. 6 Vijay
    March 18, 2009 at 15:20

    This kind of situation could have beeen avoided if the womans foetus had been aborted,but since it wasn’t this individual should have the right to live his life as per the law.

    If the Downs syndrome individual can not be held responsible their actions and requires a legal guardian then the guardian has to determine what is appropriate .

    Mr Fletcher I object to your contention that sex defines us,there is more to humanity than the sexual act.
    Since the “New lad ” culture started about 15 years ago in the UK ,as response to increased female achievement and rights,sex has been used as a weapon of oppression,a re assertion of male dominance,young women are supposed to be more sexually available.

  7. 7 Mohammed Kondawa
    March 18, 2009 at 15:38

    I would’nt like to comment on this kind of topic for today because it is very much childish. To discuss this kind of topic worldwide is not too matured.

    But however, if Lucy feels that her son is matured enough to have sex, then, let her find him a virgin to be his wife, not a prostitute. What incase she finds him an HIV/AIDS infected sexworker, will her son not be infected with the virus? Or, having grown matured, why cant Otto get on his feet and find himself a girlfriend instead of his mother getting worried about it. Come on Otto, you are a man enough to find yourself a wife.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  8. 8 Anakor Chigozie
    March 18, 2009 at 15:45

    an aged man once told me that sex is a sweet pepper.
    I dont know what that should mean

  9. 9 Kevin Burke
    March 18, 2009 at 15:47

    Maybe this should tie in with yesterday’s legalization or prostitution debate. If prostitutes were legal this poor chap could finally get his rocks off.

    I think people tend to put a sacred veil over the issue of sex when, it seems to me, that while it is frequently a special event, it is also an everyday human need. Like eating or sleeping or drinking or going to the bathroom.

    Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that we are rational beings who suffer from fits and bursts of irrational emotion. Given this framework, sex becomes a non-discussion because it appears driven by irrational, emotional needs and is therefore an enemy to our rational nature.

    I’d say, however, that the opposite is true. We are much more likely irrational, emotional beings who suffer from fits and bursts of rationality. Reason is a tool we’ve invented to help frame a deeply mysterious universe in terms we can understand. But it is not our nature.

    It would not be at all unusual if Otto had sexual needs and urges that were quite powerful. Why shouldn’t he get to experience this hugely important part of his nature just because he was born with certain disadvantages that make him less capable of navigating the social world for himself?

    Sex is only a private issue because we tend to do it behind closed doors. We all share the same biological drivers that lead us to engage in sexual activity. It is rather profoundly linked to our sense of survival. And if Otto’s mother wants him to feel what it’s like, we shouldn’t have much to say about it.

  10. 10 Andy
    March 18, 2009 at 15:50

    @Vijay: I really hope your first sentence was a joke.

    As for the topic, if he wants to have sex then he should go to a prostitute. Good luck Otto!

  11. 11 C Clarke-Williams
    March 18, 2009 at 16:02

    Sex is normally part of a life long partnership, treating it as a form of necessary excretion seems a little odd and perverted. Most people still only ever have sex with one person, the person they end up marrying although often the cart does come somewhat before the horse.

    Chastity until you meet your life partner is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Of course it is frustrating these days children mature physically as early as they always have but emotionally, educationally and financially we mature much later which leads to ‘marriage’ happening at a later age than in would have done a couple of centuries ago.

    Of course there is a larger minority who do just regards sex as a casual recreation I think rushing to join them just because of the distorted view of sex portrayed in much of our media is a mistake, whether or not you have down’s syndrome.

    I have worked with a few down’s syndrome young people and although the problems they face are different in degree they are very real. They are also perfectly normal people and very good friends.

    Let’s hope this young man finds love rather than just sex.

  12. 12 escee
    March 18, 2009 at 16:10

    If he never ask or show any interest why force it. He might not want to have sex

  13. 13 sam in kansas city
    March 18, 2009 at 16:16

    This is one of those fundamental isues that is down-played but is part of being a person. Good luck otto and don’t forget the protection!

  14. 14 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    March 18, 2009 at 16:18

    If anyone thinks that one needs sex to feel normal needs their head examined. There is MUCH more to life than just sex. Even in a healthy long-term relationship. My last serious relationship was 5 years ago. Do I feel ABnormal? Of course not! I don’t NEED sex to be happy or to feel “normal”

  15. 15 Katy in Lakewood, OH
    March 18, 2009 at 16:37

    I think that sex is an important part of development, whether someone wishes to abstain or not. I think that Lucy has an incredibly open view on sex for her son and would like to see more parents willing to chat with their children about sex and what it means on nearly every level.
    I don’t think the sexual act defines us, unless a person allowed it to. I believe that if Otto wants to find a sexual partner, he should be free to do it however he chooses. I’m not sure about visiting a prostitute, especially given that I do not know the legal ramifications in England. Also, unless he has been stymied in trying to find a partner in more normal fashions, it would contribute to his development if he found a partner rather than paying for sex.
    I wish them the best of luck and hope that Otto finds the person he is looking for.

  16. 16 Fwanshishak
    March 18, 2009 at 16:44

    I think the question should be – “Are we normal when we feel sex defines normalcy? This guys is obviously not normal, his mother is desperate to make him normal or feel normal by getting for him those things that his condition hamper. So yes, its ok for people to try to get some balance and fulfillment in their lives when they are not normal as in this case.

  17. 17 kipsang kerich
    March 18, 2009 at 16:45

    i just came in from church after speaking to high school students about why they should wait until they are old enough to engage in sexual intercourse. young men must learn to wait, otherwise sex is going to divert their attention from other important issues they should handle. unfortunately, society is busy feeding them with raw data about sex, distorting their minds and breaking their fragile understanding…… they’re forced to succumb.

    kipsang in sosiot, soth rift, Kenya

  18. 18 ecotopian
    March 18, 2009 at 16:46

    Why is this a topic? Is there really nothing else out there that is of interest? Seriously, there is nothing that might be, well, more interesting to me than this? There are other places more appropriate on the web to have this discussion. This just isn’t the place for this.

    To put it bluntly, I don’t care. This is none of my business. Whomever decided to make this the world’s business, I worry about.

  19. 19 kipsang kerich
    March 18, 2009 at 16:50

    sex, sex and the city, sexy lady, i wanna sex you, sex, the theraphy and now, sex, the cure for abnormality. thanks, I can’t buy

  20. 20 kipsang kerich in kenya
    March 18, 2009 at 16:57

    engage the young man in other energy consuming activity if energy is the issue

  21. 21 Dennis
    March 18, 2009 at 17:05

    Vijay, I can’t believe the narrow minded comment you had the nerve to write.

    .”This kind of situation could have beeen avoided if the womans foetus had been aborted,but since it wasn’t this individual should have the right to live his life as per the law.”

    It’s been a quarter of a century since I’ve had sex.

    Normal? Any one with a half mind would there’s no normal. if so we’d all be plastic cut -outs and look the same.

    I’t’s his Mom trying to do the best she can.
    Don’t spend your time down-grading people because the don’t ‘meet your needs/likes.
    There shouldn’t be LAWS defining mental capacity and sex, and you really need to get out of the old stone ages if you think there are. should be.
    Shame for your ego.

  22. 22 Andrew, Australia
    March 18, 2009 at 17:19

    I’d be more worried rather than the efforts to procure a sexual partner that the individual in question develops a taste for it and it consumes his life from thereafter. This happens to many people who may have been celibate for whatever reason and then find the joys of sex. If you are in a situation where it will be difficult to come by then a problem will certainly exist.

  23. 23 Tom D Ford
    March 18, 2009 at 17:27

    Maybe he ought to have sex a couple of times with a prostitute to learn the mechanics of the act and get over the mystery of it so that he can get on to the idea of creating relationships with the idea of finding a woman friend for a life partner.

    And of course he ought to learn to masturbate to take care of his own needs when he can’t have sex with a woman.

    And of course masturbating would allow him to have imaginary fantasy sex with any woman in the world that he was attracted to, while he is still looking for a real woman partner.

  24. 24 Tom D Ford
    March 18, 2009 at 17:32

    This is very interesting learning about the problems and successes of differently enabled people and it makes me feel pretty whiny about the few rejections and awkward times I have had in my relationships with women. I feel very fortunate and I wish Otto the best.

  25. 25 Rebecca Bruno
    March 18, 2009 at 17:37

    Congrats to Ottos’ mom on such a close relationship with her 21 year old son. Sure its unusual for a mom to be so involved at this age but whats wrong with mom being a matchmaker? I am sure if I would have listened to my parents thoughts on my relationship choices I would have made better choices.
    thank you for this program….
    Rebecca Bruno

  26. 26 Chanda from the USA
    March 18, 2009 at 17:38

    I think sex is healthy and normal. I am worried about issues of consent and the mental capacity and emotional capacity of having sex too soon if the person is not ready or does not have a clear understanding of what implications of having sex may create for them.
    My best friend from high school is mentally and physically disabled from complications due to an illness. I worry that someone would look at here and then take advantage of her and I also wonder if she actually understands sex at all.
    Many laws in the states consider sex rape with someone who is “mentally and physically diminished” whether they are over 18 or not. This is something to consider when a mother is pushing her son to have sex.

  27. 27 Christine, Portland
    March 18, 2009 at 17:41

    As a sexuality educator I teach that a-sexuality, or the partial or complete absence of sexual desire is as normal as myself, who is very physically sexual. Just because a-sexuality is less common, I still mention it as often as I do the hypersexual.

    But in the end, consensual, quality sex is the most important sex, which is hard in a violent patriarchal culture. Sexual expression is and should be so much more healthy and egalitarian than the way pornography shows it, but humans learn what is healthy from the least healthy source – sexist pornography.

  28. 28 Noah, Oregon
    March 18, 2009 at 17:45

    Prostitution is the BEST option for Otto. He needs to find a competent, caring, responsible professional to help him experience sex. He can persue a relationship as another issue. Anyone saying he should NOT employ a prostitute is projecting their own issues- hang-ups onto Otto. It is absolutely normal to want the experience of sex in or out of a romantic relationship.

  29. 29 Allison K.
    March 18, 2009 at 17:46

    I don’t think that his Mom should keep saying that he’s normal. He’s not. He has a disability. Period. I think she should approch this and help him find someone who is educated about his needs and will care for him, not just care about the sexual encounter. There are people in the world that will not be sensitive to his situation, but like any young person trying to date there will be rejection regardless of disability or not.
    Also help is good for any person, but going as far as paying for sex is NOT what he should experience. I think there is a level of embarassment, and ridicule from your peers, in some circles, if they know that you paid for sex. Otto will or will not find a mate, like the rest of us. However, like the rest of us, he needs to have that journey himself. That way when it he does have sex, he can say that he reached that goal himself.

    Do we need sex to be normal? No. Do we need sex to be human? Yes.

    Love the show!

  30. 30 Laura A
    March 18, 2009 at 17:51

    Everyone’s sexuality is different. Normal sex is whatever is normal for the participants.

    However…if the mother is interested in creating a “normal” life for her son…arranging a sexual encounter for him hardly qualifies. Helping to find a girlfriend is all well and good…but when matters go below the belt it seems odd to have a parent involved.

  31. 31 Marilyn
    March 18, 2009 at 17:53

    I am also a therapist, and I see many many people who get into a lot of trouble (co-dependency, just plain dependency, abandonment issues to name just a few) because of this thinking error. Sex can be a true bonding, and freeing experience – but only when it is an expression of true love rather than the sham it can be when it is just sex.

  32. 32 CJ
    March 18, 2009 at 17:57

    I was disappointed that the one caller said no one should go to bars to meet people. That is very close minded. I met my husband while seeing a great band in a bar and have been happily married for 17 years.

    In regards to the show, I’m glad people are talking about this. However, the question about why do you want a girlfriend is very close minded and if the individual did not have a disability, you would not have asked that. ALL people are sexual beings and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, third tier, is about having relationships and belonging. People, anyone, cannot have self-actualization (achievement and dreaming) without RELATIONSHIPS. If everyone is paid to support a person and someone isn’t having real touch and real relationships, that individual will be very lonely and not able to have a full life–or at least experience one if they want to.

  33. 33 Debbie
    March 18, 2009 at 17:58

    Sex and love are not the same thing. All humans must be taught to have sex responsibly and this does not seem to be the way to do that. As a parent, I’d be much more concerned that my child was in a loving relationship, rather than a sexual one.

  34. 34 Ewewale
    March 18, 2009 at 17:59

    It’s simply psychological.
    We need anything to make us feel normal if we think not having it makes us abnormal.
    Earlier in the day I thought Otto couldn’t think for himself but now I get the picture.
    It wouldn’t have been such an issue if he was not deprived.

    I wish Lucy aired her view concerning legalising prostitution yesterday, but I believe everyone in her shoes would not veto the legalisation of prostitutes’ bill (if there were one).

  35. March 18, 2009 at 18:14

    What’s all this obsession about sex?
    I am a perfectly normal 27 year old and have never had sex before so what’s the big deal?
    I am normal and engaged in all mundane activities without any gripe or feeling of being different from the rest because I have never basked in carnal warmth.
    It’s just sad that people should glorify sex in such a despicable manner…

  36. 36 Michelle from Jamaica
    March 18, 2009 at 18:15

    I feel Otto might be disappointed if he just have sex for the sake of having sex. If it is possible he should experience it in a loving relationship (marriage), then he will understand the true value of sex. He should ensure that he protects himself also. Wholesale sex is not the answer for him to feel normal. All persons should have the same moral values, regardless of your disability.

  37. 37 Anthony
    March 18, 2009 at 18:21

    If he has a mind of a child, then why would you want him to have sex? Would you want a child to have sex?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  38. 38 Chad in Tennessee
    March 18, 2009 at 18:21

    What about the child or children that may result from this? Think of how hard that would be, the burden you would be forcing on them, by thrusting them into the situation of being raised by someone that society labels as “retarded”. Especially if the children were normal. How do you think their peers would treat them?

  39. March 18, 2009 at 18:25

    I think SEX would make a good recreation but I would never accept it’s classification as a personality definition criteria.
    Just like the first contributor, I havn’t been having sex BUT the more exposed I become the more challenging keeping the ABSTAINECE decision becomes. Reasoning more from outside the Christian doctrine context, sex might make for self expression. Part of my problem is knowing exactly how many of more years Financial maturity would pave way for my sex life. Some males my mate are legitimately married ( either sponsored by their Parents or result of making early financial success). I don’t see a sense in contracting a prostitute ( if all women are not ) cos those who FORMALLY prostitutes are like dumping grounds for men who either cant make choice or sort of hopeless. “The mother should find her son a wife” is well said.

  40. 40 Pascal Tabi Tabot
    March 18, 2009 at 18:28

    I am 28 years old and as one who started having sex at 17, I sincerely think that sex has made my life more fulfilled. Most people still regard sex as a taboo, but I think rather, that sex makes both the mind and body healthy and happy. In fact, in my point of view, the more sex a man has each day, the better for his body and mind.

    And Lucy is correct to worry over the son, because sex and procreation is the very essence of life. Good luck to you Otto, and thank you Lucy, for being such a wonderful mother.

  41. 41 Y.J. Zhu
    March 18, 2009 at 18:30

    The title of the story is misleading. It assumes a definition of normal and extends that definition to both physical and emotional states. Physically, Down’s are just normal as you and me. Emotionally, they are better adjusted than most as they don’t have an unusual sense of entitlement and arrogance, nor an inflated self-importance that could cause errant behaviors. All they have is an extra pair of chromosome, but I may have a slightly smudged DNA, and you may have a slightly crossed current in your head. Does that mean we all need to forgo sex and emotional fulfillment?

    My brother has Down’s. It’s painful to watch his sexual frustration. It’s no easier, or even harder, for people with Down’s to find emotional fulfilling life-long partnerships other than with family members. And sex is part of expression of love and affection. People with Down’s have a healthy dose of self-respect and self-love which enable them to give love selflessly and unconditionally. The current believe they lack certain cognition is mis-leading. They may lack certain ability to acquire one or more specific areas of knowledge, but they rarely lack understanding of emotions. They are intuitive and often more emotionally mature than others their same age.

    I wish Otto and his mother best of luck.

  42. 42 Arthur, Kenya
    March 18, 2009 at 18:32

    We need sex if we are normal. Sex is very important part of human society today and infact we talk of it as an industry. Otto actually must be a normal person or has some degree of normality if at all he needs sex despite his illness. I do not know how he would express himself sexually but he can be help no matter how he would go about it. May be there is nothing important to it as we know it but why should he be given a chance? There are normal people too who are unable to find a sexual partner so Otto is not an Odd one out. They need someone to help them. May be there is a woman in a predicament like that and if possible they should be given a chance to make a start.

    It is right for his mother to make this appeal she must be a bold person to be this open. We need people to come open on such matters.

  43. 43 Joy in Los Angeles
    March 18, 2009 at 18:39

    Has Otto or his mother thought of creating a support group and/or singles group for individuals in the same boat? Maybe a group with individuals who lead a similar lifestyle and feel the same frustrations or limitations will create partnerships for individuals like Otto. These groups could also be an educational forum for individuals who may face complications, or simply have numerous questions on sex, with regard to their disability.

  44. 44 Kristen
    March 18, 2009 at 18:44

    As the sister of a mental disabled person, I understand that Otto wants to feel “normal” but the idea that you have to have sex to be normal is ubsurd. I think it is great if he can find someone to be in a relationship, but using the media to find someone for sex is horrible. The fact is that whether someone has a disability or not, just because you want to have sex or a relationship doesn’t mean you will. You’re still normal. We all crave relationships, that is what makes us normal. I think he’s even more normal for suggesting he even want to have one.

    P.S. I’m 26, a virgin and normal. Many of my friends are also in their mid-20s, virgins and normal. You don’t need sex to be normal.

  45. 45 Will
    March 18, 2009 at 18:54

    Isn’t this mother desperate to have his son have a “normal” life? I wonder if the son is really emotionally ready and willing to have a sexual relationship. In my opinion the key point here is: is the son REALLY looking for this love life, or is it a call for equality from his mother?
    Will, from Brazil.

  46. 46 Alassan Jallow
    March 18, 2009 at 19:27

    In my view the most important thing we need after eating and drinking, is sex, because it’s the most important drive to our survival as speces. Dr.Alassan Jallow, a Gambian living in Tunisia.

  47. 47 Suresh in New Jersey
    March 18, 2009 at 19:28

    Sex is a normal need for people, on that I agree. However sex is not comparable to other bodily functions such as eating, sleeping or other alimentary functions. This is because this requires the voluntary and consensual involvement of another individual.

    Paying for sex is a form of coercion. Society realizes this and therefore outlaws prostitution as morally unacceptable and illegalizes it.

    Sex is a privilege, not a right. It’s not like demanding a public toilet or ramps for invalids / physically challenged people.

    Sex is to be indulged in by responsible and mentally capable people ONLY. If the mental stability of someone is suspect, then the state could be right to demand that they abstain or submit to sterilization. There are also chemical techniques available to restrain sexual urges. And like someone else mentioned, there is personal release possible through masturbation.

    This is because the future sexual behaviour of the individual in question could impinge on the freedoms of others, including a cost to society if there is a child that comes out of this union or for that matter, sexually-transmitted diseases.

    So no, I do not believe in unregulated sex for mentally challenged people who do not understand the implications of sex totally. Lucy is opening doors to unknown places without mitigating the risks thereof.

  48. 48 Thomas Murray
    March 18, 2009 at 19:47

    Anyone who has even merely flipped through a volume of Freud will already know the answer to that question. Too bad Siggy’s not alive today. He’d have a field day analyzing Muslem extremism — poster boys for sexual frustration, he’d likely call them.

    On the other hand, I’d be more concerned about who wants sex the most; Otto, or his mother. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    –72 degrees and sleeveless in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  49. 49 JD
    March 18, 2009 at 21:27

    This story is so odd and distasteful that I suppose I wonder why I’m commenting on it. Perhaps it’s to join with those whose reaction against it is similar. In any event, the fact that we’re discussing this is a troubling reminder of how far ethical standards have dropped.

  50. 50 Josiah Soap, USA
    March 18, 2009 at 22:58

    Absolute garbage, the only reason she thinks her son needs sex is because its plastered all over TV, on the media and now in every movie you see. In reality many people go years without sex and are still normal. He could easily masturbate, that would do. As for sex with another person, is this guy developed enough to take the responsibilities that come with sex, both emotional and physical? If he has Downs syndrome, probably not, he probably has the mental capacity of a young child and we don’t let young children have sex. Downs syndrome people are usually both mentally and to a lesser degree physically impaired, sorry its not PC, but its the truth. The lower mental ability should be taken into account as to how this person would handle the complex emotions that come in a mature sexual relationship. A prostitute might help his physical needs for sex, although like many of us, sexual gratification is something that can be taken care of by oneself! I think the bigger point here is that there are differences and disabilities and no matter how much we are told you can do anything you put your mind to, or that just because you “are different” doesn’t preclude you from something – Sorry to burst your bubble and bring people back to reality, but there are things you cannot or just shouldn’t do.

  51. 51 Saut
    March 19, 2009 at 00:30

    Why this obsession with Otto’s sexual desire?
    It is apparent and obvious that Otto and his mother have no need of religion to provide the answer for Otto’s next great achievement.
    Lucy Baxter is a self-indulgent woman, what she wants her son, Otto, to achieve is her business alone. But when BBC took upon the role of being part of this publicity sunt. It demeans itself and evidences ” featherbrained”-ness of its editorial staff.

  52. 52 Dennis Junior
    March 19, 2009 at 06:54

    I think it’s a very bad idea, regarding what Otto’s mum is doing regarding finding him a sexual encounter…

    But, I agree; Otto has a right to have sexual relations…..

    For warning purposes, some people would not to kindly for Otto’s mom to hired someone for him…Since, that is crime…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  53. March 19, 2009 at 10:12

    no way ..its all personal choice of oneself being well in control to the other side of perversion ?its ones own choice to have sex or not ?
    a downsyndrome guys request must have accentuated by his mothers willingness to offer him a girl ?i think here the mother is to blame as she is a busywoman she is taking the easy route of satisfying the lust factor of her downsyndrome child ?wish she finds some other alternative for that youngboy?

  54. 54 Mark Sandell
    March 19, 2009 at 11:17

    Thanks for a superb and measured response to the programme and debate. A few replies :

    Ectopian : you never seem to agree with what you discuss but you post anyway – why not suggest a topic ? Everyone is entitled to..and others are suggesting topics you think are beneath you so why not raise the standard ?

    JD: what “ethical standards” have dropped by discussing disability and sex ? I’d be interested to know…is it the sex part ? Or the disability part ?

    Saut _ thanks for calling the team “featherbrained” – why not take part in one of our editoprial meetings – everyone is welcome – and see if afterwards you still hold that view ? Fine if you do, but why not back up your claim ?

    All the best


  55. 55 Luci Smith
    March 19, 2009 at 15:13

    I posted yesterday but there were browswer problems.
    Used to work at an institution with mentally handicapped in Denmark. The strategy there was to hold good parties, preferably with live music and often. People danced and got acquainted and when they paired off, some of the responsible workers explained to them about birth control and what they needed to do. This was before AIDS.
    The prostitute issue has been raised here, too, but I do not like the idea of selling sex. I think that a young man probably needs to speak with another man about this issue, too, even if he does have an understanding mother, because it really is Otto’s problem and not Lucy’s.
    And being a romantic, I wish Otto lots of luck and patience like the rest of us had to have because one’s debut in the world of sex is important and one should consider one’s options and partners carefully.

  56. 56 Jennifer
    March 19, 2009 at 16:07

    Re: Do we need sex to feel normal?

    Uh, no, that’s a personal choice. As for people with disabilities, I think that JD is accurate in saying that this brings up the status of ethical standards. It’s like saying, we can all do this but focus on this variation. I think that this young man should be treated like any other young person. Other mothers, most anyway, don’t get involved in their childrens’ sex lives. Why should he be any different. Men who have downs syndrome are sterile so the only thing that his mother needs to be concerned about is that when he does have sex, he is using protection for protection against STDs.

  57. 57 Ogola Benard
    March 19, 2009 at 17:05

    Sex is normal and a neccesity for each and every one not denying one fact that even animals do it openly. But one crazy sfuff is a parent trying to get you a partner – Sex is supposed to be enjoyed secretly and i see some out dated fashion for someone to first admire for you a sextual partner and then recommend the person as one you can have sex with!

  58. March 19, 2009 at 17:56

    I do not think sex should be seen as an escape route. It was ordained by God for procreation and for satisfaction in married life.

  59. 59 Dihan
    March 20, 2009 at 08:02

    Otto Baxter is also a human. So that every human needs love and sex as well . Love is a natural emotion which leads to create a connection between human male and female to their future reproduction. This natural emotion takes place in our brain due to particular chemical reaction. So it is common to every human. No exception to Otto. So I suppose that what his mother does is correct.

  60. 60 Simeon Banda
    March 20, 2009 at 09:26

    Our world today tends to canonize sex as a commercial issue. l am a celibate and l find myself normal as well. I opted to live without genital intercourse in whatever form of the word. l strongly disagree with all those who advocate having sex as the normal way of life. l concur with those who say after all the stress should be be on commitment and relationships. Many say sex is 20 per cent for those in the marriage life but 80 per cent is about relationships.
    The sex issue should be for those who opt for married life as their life orientation. Commercializing sex is bad. I have seen many European countries have brothels and force people from poor places as sexula workers against their will. This is a total moral evil and abuse of human right. Governments should take measures to discourage such savage behaviour of having sex slaves under the cover of getting money. let us respect freedom of the individuals. Handicaaped people too should marry if they reach theage of responsibilty.

  61. 61 Gilbert Igwe
    March 20, 2009 at 09:28

    I can say from experience that having sex does not make one feel normal rather romace does that magic.
    To think along that side is childish and ignorant.So,nothing like that in the real sense of it.

  62. 62 John in Germany
    March 20, 2009 at 14:59

    Having sex releases happy hormones, makes you feel good, and if the man is attentive enough to ensure that his partner enjoys the relationship, and doesn’t feel used, then it will be always enjoyable.
    The eagerness of your partner, the signs that say im enjoying you, are all part of the wonderful thing called sex.

    In the days when it was a battle plan that caused your intended to say yes (just for a kiss). the attack was as enjoyable as winning. Of course sex is important, and is needed for those that want it to full fill their lives. Why because luckily it is still that which ensures the continuity of the world……Normally. Thank heavens the Medicine allows people to have Children that normally could not without assistance, fulfilling the lives of many.

    Sorry have no time for religious interference in such matters, never does any good, Good old mother nature will have her way, no matter how many clerics attempt to interfere.

    So that i may go in peace, a good old snog, without a follow up does a world of good as well.

    Good old Adam and Eve.
    Good old world

    John in Germany

  63. 63 Vijay
    March 20, 2009 at 18:01

    No my first sentence wasn’t a joke ,were you joking about advocating prostitution(and all that goes with it ,that is ,human trafficking,slavery,paedophilia, drug use etc) .

    The reason why there are laws regarding age and sex is to safeguard children and the mentally handicapped.

  64. 64 sanjoy
    March 21, 2009 at 08:31

    This is a very unfortunate situation. I could not support this. A mother wants to find a sex partner for his son why does not she find a wife for his son. This describe how bad the western civilization.

  65. 65 logic
    February 5, 2010 at 07:17

    I’m going to go ahead now and refute all the idiots logic on this thread.

    Is sex needed? Really? Is it? Lets see the logic in that.

    First off, what do you mean by sex?

    If its only a matter of balancing out the chemicals, then sex with a partner is not required for that.

    If we could not take care of these chemicals without a partner then what?

    Lets say that if we were arm amputees, does that mean we could no longer be happy?

    A few months ago I quit eating meat, now I’m a vegetarian.

    What does this tell me? It tells me that eating is EXACTLY like sex. You learn to deal with it in different ways, because – we are designed to deal with it in different ways.

    Sex, just like meat, can be addictive.

    Its a complete myth humans are unhappy without sex partners.

    Humans do not require sex with a partner at all. If you think they do, then you are living in a fantasy world.


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