That Obscure (S)object of Desire. Gender Normativity and Sexuality in the Life Experience of People with Disability




Asexual, neutral gendered, eternal child, angel, obsessive: the sexuality of people with disability is still considered in terms of deviance from normalcy. The processes of desexualisation act on disabled bodies in a plurality of ways that are strictly involved with the normativity attending the construction of masculinity and femininity. Meanings, concepts and actions related to the expression of an intimate and sexual life – as desire and pleasure – will be discussed through the narrativities of Italian men with physical impairment and health care professionals. In this frame, disability appears as an opportunity to rethink sex, bodies and the relations among them, calling into question the dichotomic relationship between sexuality and disability.

Keywords: sexuality, disability, gender normativity, desexualisation, pleasure.

Author Biography

Chiara Paglialonga, University of Padova

PhD student in Scienze Sociali (FISPPA)