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Help! Sex and teens with learning difficulties

Pom Bear February 23, 2023 09:19

Hi all, it has been some years since I last posted. So much so that I've had to re-register! Anyway our dd is now 17, at college and has a boyfriend of 4 months. She has been the victim of some coercive behaviour at school from a boy. Serious enough for us to call the police, monitor her phone messaging and remove the camera app from it.

As you can imagine we are on high alert now that she has a boyfriend. We check her messages every night and she and her boyfriend are now talking about having sex the next time she is at his house. He lives an hour by car from us. She has no way of getting there - we live in the countryside - unless we take her or he meets her in town to catch a bus (she would not know how to catch a bus on her own). He is an ok lad and very similar to her. I do not think that he is pressuring her. It is a mutual thing.

I am a woman of the world and realise that one day she will be sexually active but oh my goodness one of her messages talks about it being his choice if he uses a condom!! This, despite me talking to her many times about how important it is!

My question is......who can we speak to for advice? What can we do without encroaching on her 'human rights'? Should I take her to the GP? She just does not understand the possible consequences of her actions. :(

If you've read this far, then thank you so much.

chestnuttree February 24, 2023 10:27

I think trying to convince them to use a condom may be successful or not. There is no way for you to know. I would keep on trying though and maybe even give some to her.

I would try to convince her to go on the contraceptive pill or, which might be easier for you and her, get an implant. I would also encourage her to bring him over and potentially have sex at your house, so that if she needs help, you are around. It will hopefullly also make any boy think twice about doing something that is non-consensual. It will probably feel uncomfortable and strange to you, but many girls go to boys' places to have sex, because boys' parents are more accepting of that. That puts girls in danger.

Have you come across this: Maybe it is helpful?

Edited 24/02/2023
Safia February 25, 2023 10:14

I think persuading her to get an implant - as something she doesn’t then have to worry about on a regular basis is a good idea. They can then use condoms or not as a precaution against STDs but it won’t be such a major issue. I also agree that maybe having him over more - if he is able to travel - both so it could happen in your house but also for you to get to know him better - or some discussion with his family to agree a mutual approach might be good. The thought of her stuck somewhere without any means of getting back is daunting. It might be lovely but it might also be traumatic for whatever reason or she might just want to get home. Mencap I believe are good (I’ve heard though I’ve never gone into it) and they come very much from the human rights perspective whilst aware of the dangers of possible exploitation / vulnerability (which are major) Is there anyone at school / college who can help or suggest anything local?

Pom Bear March 2, 2023 13:28

Thank you both so much for your replies. Much appreciated. :)

Simon March 12, 2023 21:02

Have you contacted your local NHS sexual health clinc? Our local clinic has certainly always been very helpful/supportive/understanding with our adopted teens. If you live anyway near near Warwickshire, you are very welcome to come along to our monthly AUK adoptive parent meet-ups. We have adoptive parents with adoptees in almost identical cirmcumstances as you. I know they would be very willing to offer advice and support based on their experinces.

Agape March 20, 2023 13:31

Dear Pom Bear,

I don’t normally write or engage in this forum but having read your post I felt I should help a vulnerable young girl.

The key statement you have made in your post, quoting from your final paragraph; “She just does not understand the possible consequences of her actions”, says it all. You have also said she’s vulnerable to coercion to the point of needing to call the police. Coercion can take many forms, one of the commonest being peer pressure.

Understanding is a key component of consent. Therefore, if your dd does not understand the consequences of her actions, she has not got the ability to make free consensual choice about having sexual intercourse. This may change as years go on but at this point, based on your assessment, it does look like she does not have capacity to consent to sexual intercourse. Furthermore, she has history of having been a victim of coercion.

This should be made clear to the boy as it may have legal implications for him.

My very best wishes,


Edited 20/03/2023
Pom Bear April 27, 2023 15:41

Thank you Simon and Agape for your replies. We invited him over to stay for a night in the Easter hols and explained our 'house rules'. He was very respectful and there was no creeping about after dark! He seems a nice lad who suffers from depression and anxiety and has ASD - we had a little chat about it all! There has been no more chat of doing the deed (we check her phone daily - which she knows). Safia - I will contact Mencap for some advice and also our NHS clinic. I had thought about speaking to the lad's Mum but not sure how receptive she will be. She is busy with 5 kids and a partner who drinks (so I'm told) and seemed happy for them to share a bed when they were hoping she could stay at his house. I will keep the lines of communication open. Thank goodness he lives 25 miles away and we are nowhere near a bus stop or train station and neither his Mum or step dad drive!


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