Claire Ryan, To Be Frank, sexual relationships and disabilities NZ.png


For people with disabilities, sex and sex education remains a taboo subject. At To Be Frank, founder, Claire Ryan is working to change that.


Hi, I’m Claire…..

I am a firm believer in self direction and I am passionate about all people having the right to loving, diverse and fulfilling relationships – no matter who they are.

I have worked in the disability sector for over 30 years, with more than 10 years’ experience in delivering training and workshops on sexuality.

To me being able to live in your own skin is one of the greatest things we can do as human beings. Confidence is sexy. But the journey to get there can be fraught. Having come out in the 1990’s I realised how important the celebration of being who you are can be. From there I also got to meet a number of disabled people who were likely never given the opportunity to celebrate in the same way.

My consultancy, now known as To Be Frank was established in 2007 providing sexuality workshops in the disability sector. Over the years I have worked with the  Downs Syndrome Association and numerous disability agencies within the New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN). I have worked at a number of schools such as Halswell Residential College in Christchurch, Awatapu College in Palmerston North and Waimea College in Nelson. I have provided education sessions to Oranga Tamariki and ACC. I have also worked extensively with TeRoopu Taurima, Community Living Trust, Hawkesbury Trust, IDEA Services, Life Unlimited, CCS Disability Action, Spectrum, NZ Care and numerous RIDAS services in New Zealand. Most recently I was National Service Manager at Manawanui.

Today I run workshops and offer one on one or group education sessions for support workers, families/whānau, teachers, corrections staff, disabled people, older people, and anyone who has some kind of need for education relating to sexuality.

I have a special interest in working with people who have challenging or offending sexual behaviour and have delivered workshops to Safe and STOP. I provide education and advice – I am not a therapist or counsellor.

I’ve delivered numerous conference presentations across the world and my work has made headlines for my promotion of intimacy and disability. It led to a Ministerial enquiry, with MPs debating whether nudity for disabled people should be encouraged or not.

I live and run my practice on the beautiful Otago Peninsula – but can be at your beautiful place in a jiffy!

Claire Ryan, To Be Frank Founder

Claire Ryan, To Be Frank Founder