Disability and Sexuality Negative Viewpoints

There was an interesting article in the Independent newspaper

Here is an important quote from the article.
Research has shown that disabled people are less likely to have a long-term partner or marry than non-disabled people (although this is dependent on impairment type). When a 2014 newspaper poll asked Britons if they had ever had sex with someone who had a physical disability, 44 per cent said: “No, and I don’t think I would.”

Disabled people’s sexuality has been suppressed, exploited and, at times, destroyed, over many centuries. It has been seen as suspect, set apart and different from the sexuality of non-disabled people. So how can we shift the negative images of disability and sexuality that still dominate society’s attitudes? Well, disabled people and their allies have been campaigning for change for decades and, while it is not going to be easy, change is on the way. But with it comes new controversies.

Dr Tom Shakespeare, a disabled academic, wrote The Sexual Politics of Disability nearly 20 years ago, and it remains one of the few evidence-based studies in the field. “Images of disability and sexuality either tend to be absent – disabled people being presented as asexual – or else perverse and hypersexual,” he says.

He believes that, in the wider community, disabled men (and, to a lesser extent, women), are rendered impotent and sexless by disability, and thus are seen as unattractive and vulnerable to mockery and exploitation. (As Cicero wrote: “In deformity and bodily disfigurement, there is good material in making jokes.”) And this may explain an assumption often made in the past – that it was better to shield disabled people from reaching out for sexual relationships rather than risk the chance of them being rejected. There was an expectation that disabled people’s sexual desires should be set aside and ignored, because they should not – or could not – be satisfied.

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