The Homeless: Can They Love and Be Loved? (Part II)

Speaking of sexuality can be a taboo subject, depending on your values. Sometimes our approach to sex can be shaken to its very core when we learn how others live out their sexuality.

By Caroline Leblanc

Like all human beings, it’s natural that street people undertake romantic or sexual relations. These relationships may not be able to flourish freely like those of others. But it is possible for them to be loved and to love.

Sometimes their hookups are temporary, but these bonds can last, too. Healthy or not, love on the mean streets can make for extra support, making the vulnerable feel loved.

Living in a reality full of ruptured connections (with family, or society in general), the homeless can be emotionally deprived, which makes for unhealthy relationships. They thirst for human contact. They develop a belief that a romantic relationship will somehow improve their living situation.

It’s not rare that this sort of relationship descends into violence.

These relationships can become codependent and fusional. A homeless person’s living conditions can create problems that weaken their self-esteem. So when there is a separation, their distress level can increase, since the homeless person was over-dependent on their partner, making the partner the centre of their life.

These days, health and social services are developing strategies to scrutinize, protect, prevent and promote health by accenting the dangers of street living. But few programs have been developed concerning healthy romantic relationships in the context of homelessness.

The promotion of healthy relationships in this milieu would doubtless allow for useful tools be made available to those who wish to respect themselves, protect themselves, and fulfil their sexual rights in dignity.    

First seen in Reflet de Société, Vol. 26, no. 3, été (summer) 2018, pages 16-17.

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