To go on a date, adult residents generally have to obtain permission in advance, then go out under the watchful eyes of paid staff.
More ambitious requests — such as spending the night in bed with a partner — can trigger a long sequence of meetings and consultations.
Often, the barriers are imposed by group home operators that place safety above intimacy.
In the isolating confines of Minnesota’s more than 4,500 group homes, true intimacy can be impossible.
Ninety minutes to watch their favorite wrestler, John Cena, on television.
The clock starts to tick the moment Duncan shuts the bedroom door of his room at a Fergus Falls group home.
“They set their watches and say, ‘Your time starts now,’ ” said Duncan, who is 46 and has a cognitive disability.
One in five residents of state-licensed group homes has a severe and persistent mental illness, and most have cognitive disabilities, which can limit their capacity to consent to sex.
In some cases, disabled adults arrive at group homes having been sexually abused as children or adolescents, heightening the need for supervision.