1st Edition

Exploring Sexuality and Disability A Guide for Human Service Professionals

Edited By Shanna Katz Kattari Copyright 2024
    412 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    412 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Offering a current, comprehensive, and intersectional guide for students, practitioners, and researchers, this book synthesizes existing scholarship on culturally responsive practices that assist in exploring, understanding, and affirming the sexuality(ies) of disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, and Mad individuals.

    Drawing on an intersectional framework, it integrates insights drawn from an interdisciplinary body of scholarship including psychology, social work, sociology, history, political science, women and gender studies, cultural studies, and education along with perspectives from the practitioners who are actively defining the next generation of best practices.

    By highlighting the incredible resilience and resistance of disabled individuals’ and communities’ sexuality and sexual well-being, this book challenges narratives that rely primarily on a one-dimensional view derived from the medical model and the view of disability as something to be “fixed” – or at least tolerated – rather than celebrated. In a world that pathologizes and devalues the sexual existence of disabled individuals, it illustrates how to create thriving communities and relationships, and how they can organize to find their voice, providing a counter-narrative of empowerment that fosters hopefulness, power, and health.

    It will be of interest to all scholars, students, and professionals across a variety of professions, including social work, psychology, counseling, policy, healthcare, education, community organizing, and multiple social service settings.

    Shanna K. Kattari

    Part One – History and Community Work

    Chapter One – A (Very Brief) History of Disability and Sexuality Policy
    Sarah E. Gzesh, Shanna K. Kattari, Nicolás Juárez and Madelyne J. Mayer

    Chapter Two – Able-Bodied Women Killing Disabled Babies: How Modern Narratives on Disability and Abortion Erase Disabled People from the Reproductive Justice Movement
    Elena Gormley

    Chapter Three – For Us, By Us: Mutual Aid Efforts in Disabled Queer and Trans Communities
    Brendon T. Holloway, Jax Kynn and Hannah Boyke

    Part Two – Exploring the Specifics

    Chapter Four – Infinity and rainbows: Supporting the sexuality of neurodivergent people
    Shanna K. Kattari, E.B. Gross, Kari Sherwood and C. Riley Hostetter

    Chapter Five – Access Isn’t Optional: Sexuality and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
    Shanna K. Kattari and Kari Sherwood

    Chapter Six – Sexuality, Hearing Loss, and d/Deaf Individuals
    Kari Sherwood, Shanna K. Kattari and Alison Wetmur

    Chapter Seven – "Love is Merely a Madness": Sexuality and Madness in a Cisheteropatriarchal Culture
    Laura Yakas

    Chapter Eight – Blindness and Sexuality
    Robin Mandell and Hillary K. Hecht

    Chapter Nine – No Spoons for Spooning: Navigating Sexuality, Chronic Illness, and Chronic Pain
    Shanna K. Kattari

    Part Three – Diverse Types of Practice

    Chapter Ten – Disability-Affirming Sex Therapy
    Erin Martinez and Emma Hertzel

    Chapter Eleven – Exploring a methodology of care: Creating research with disabled queer individuals and community
    Bri Noonan and Elisabeth Z. Lacey

    Chapter Twelve – Ready, Willing, and Able: Sexuality Education for Disabled Individuals
    Autumn Dae Miller and Tiffini Lanza

    Chapter Thirteen – Disabled and/or Chronically Ill Survivors of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence
    L. B. Klein, Rose C. B. Singh, Jax Kynn, and Kiley J. McLean

    Chapter Fourteen – Exploring the Intersections of Sex Work and Disability: What Helping Professionals Should Consider
    Kimberly Fuentes, Adrienne Graf and Meg Panichelli

    Chapter Fifteen – Resisting "Too Young": Anti-Adultism in Disability and Sexual Health Justice Advocacy
    syd lio riley

    Part Four – Across Intersecting Identities

    Chapter Sixteen – Racialization of Disability and Sexuality: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective within the U.S.
    Natasha M. Lee-Johnson and Nahime Aguirre Mtanou

    Chapter Seventeen – Navigating Disability and Sexuality in Old Age
    Jess Francis and Hillary K. Hecht

    Chapter Eighteen – Trans Enough, Queer Enough, Disabled Enough: Exploring Issues of Gatekeeping and Legitimacy of Trans, Queer, and Disabled Identities through Sexuality
    Al Wauldron, Flyn Alexander and Shanna K. Kattari

    Chapter Nineteen – We’ll Make Our Own Space: Making LGBTQ+ Spaces Accessible
    Jax Kynn, Hannah Boyke and Brendon T. Holloway

    Chapter Twenty – Sexual Well-Being Among Young Disabled People
    Ami Goulden

    Chapter Twenty-one – Compulsory Monogamy is Disabling: Connecting Disability Justice and Critical Non-monogamy
    Laura Yakas and Nicole Ariel Lopez

    Chapter Twenty-two - Caring for Disabled Kinksters: Context & Practical Guidance for Providers
    Maria Morrero, Nicole Ariel Lopez, Hillary K. Hecht, Erin E. Dobbins and Grace Argo

    Chapter Twenty-three - Weight Stigma, Desirability & Disability
    Hillary K. Hecht, Erin N. Harrop and Ben Lemanski


    Shanna Katz Kattari, PhD, MEd, CSE, is a certified sexuality educator, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and the director of the [Sexuality | Relationships | Gender] Research Collective. Their work focuses on disability and ableism; sexuality and sexual health; and queer- and trans-affirming care. Find out more about their work at ShannaKattari.com.

    "By centering a disability justice framework and the various intersections of disability and sexuality, Exploring Sexuality and Disability: A Guide for Human Service Professionals challenges readers to reflect and unlearn existing biases and to expand their worldview to not only consider but prioritize the sexual rights of disabled communities. This comes at a pivotal time as the world still grapples with the realities of an ongoing pandemic yet continues to marginalize the needs and priorities of disabled people. This is an essential, practical resource that will serve as a catalyst for meaningful and necessary conversations for human service professionals and will undoubtedly lead to increased best practices in the field, as well as amplify the voices and demands of disabled people."

    Jayleen Galarza Patterson, PhD, LCSW, CST, Associate Professor of Social Work and Gerontology, Shippensburg University


    "This book does a phenomenal job of providing a much needed, intersectionally aware resource for professionals in the fields of sex and disability. It is also a necessary read for anyone working or training in the fields of health, wellness, communication, relationships, and more. The topics explored here are of vital importance to so many clients and patients, and the editor and authors have done an exceptional job of providing accessible, compassionate, and authentic perspectives."

    Ruth Neustifter, PhD, RP, RMFT, Associate Professor University of Guelph, ON, Canada


    "Discussing sexuality and disability with nuance, dissecting privilege, acknowledging neurodivergence, and not shying away from the fact that all people need to have access to sexuality education is refreshing. The abuse of disabled people has been living in the dark for far too long and this book not only brings to light the fact that it happens, but also gives ways to interrupt abusive cycles through concrete examples backed by research methodologies. I can’t wait to use this text in my classroom and teachings." –

    Lexx Brown-James, PhD, LMFT, CSE, CSES, Founder @ The Institute, Swarthmore, PA, 19081


    "This book is an impressive and fresh knowledge-share on disability and sexuality, providing an invaluable personal and professional resource with its research, lived experience, and observations. It covers an inclusive breadth of topics discussing how social, physical, and mental processes intersect and impact the sexual expression of disabled people. With Disability Justice rooted in every article's framing, readers can experience a unique educational opportunity by exploring modern-day sexual issues and best practices in a well-researched and comprehensive text."

    Robin Wilson-Beattie, Disability Sexual and Reproductive Health Educator