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Madness, distress and the politics of disablement$
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Helen Spandler, Helen Spandler, Jill Anderson, and Bob Sapey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447314578

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447314578.001.0001

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Social models of disability and sexual distress

Social models of disability and sexual distress

(p.139) Ten Social models of disability and sexual distress
Madness, distress and the politics of disablement

Meg John Barker

Alex Iantaffi

Policy Press

Social models of disability have much to offer our understandings of sex, particularly in relation to the social components of sexual distress. There is also great value in extending social models of disability to encompass the sex and sexuality of disabled people. Medicalised perspectives on sex and disability have often restricted the sexual experience and expression of disabled people, as well as ‘disordering’ or ‘disabling’ people with sexual experiences outside of a limited notion of what constitutes sex. For these reasons, this chapter brings social models of disability into dialogue with current approaches to sex and sexuality. It argues for a shift from medical to social thinking about sexual ‘dysfunctions’, as well as for an intersectional approach to disability which includes considerations of sex and sexuality. The chapter suggests that more social, critical and intersectional understandings of both sexuality and disability could inform thinking and practice around both these areas.

Keywords:   sex, medicalization, sexual dysfunction, sexual distress, intersectionality, sexuality, disability, social models

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