Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Mother wants sex for son with Down's

Otto Baxter
Otto Baxter tried dating girls with Down's syndrome

Otto Baxter is 21 and has Down's syndrome.

His mother Lucy thinks he should have all the experiences that other young men of his age have - including sex. Otto and Lucy spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire show.

Lucy Baxter says she has only ever wanted her son to lead an "ordinary" life.

"I wanted him to do exactly the same as everybody else so I was very keen he went to a mainstream school," she said.

"I had a job keeping him there because the authorities wanted him in a special school.

"But I believe that he has every right to have the same opportunities as everybody else."

To that end, Otto had friends without disabilites, went to youth clubs and parties.


"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," she said.

Otto has plenty of female friends but as he got older it became harder for him to take the steps his male friends took for granted.

"You don't go to secondary school without being very well aware of sex," Lucy told Victoria Derbyshire.

"The trouble is, when he goes out on the town to nightclubs and pubs these days his friends get lucky. Otto manages to get off with somebody, a snog or two, but then they don't want any more than that.

"And that's where it's very difficult for him."

Sometimes he comes down in the morning and is sad - he just wants a girlfriend
Lucy Baxter

Otto decided he would like one friend, Hannah, to be his girlfriend, so he wrote down all the things he would like to do with her.

He said he wrote: "Things I'd like to do with Hannah is have a shower together, wash her back and have a lazy day in bed together. Also go to the cinema and things like that."

But Hannah wanted to stay just friends.

Otto tried dating agencies, including a "special" one in a bid to meet girls who also had Down's.

But Lucy said the girls Otto met there had been "fairly institutionalised" and he "didn't have anything in common" with them.

When he went on a date with one girl, her carers prevented them from moving the relationship past friendship.

Ideal girl

"What 21-year-old would put up with that?" said Lucy.

"Unfortunately Otto is caught between two different worlds, two different cultures.

"One is a very disabled culture where everything is special and you're treated like a child and the girls there very often have been treated like kids.

"This is dying out now and I think a lot of young parents of people with Down's syndrome want different things for their children. They want equality."

Lucy said it is not just about getting her son sex.

"Sometimes he comes down in the morning and is sad. He just wants a girlfriend."

Otto concurs. "I really do," he said.

And his ideal girl? TV presenter Fearne Cotton.

Print Sponsor

Down's syndrome
01 Apr 01 |  Health
Society 'more positive on Down's'
24 Nov 08 |  Health

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific