1st Edition

The Intimate Lives of Disabled People

By Kirsty Liddiard Copyright 2018
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    Disabled people are routinely assumed to lack the capabilities and capacities to embody and experience sexuality and desire, as well as the agency to love and be loved by others, and build their own families, if they so choose. Centring on the sexual, intimate and erotic lives of disabled people, this book presents a rare opportunity to understand and ask critical questions about such widely held assumptions.


    In essence, this book is a collection of sexual stories, told by disabled people on their own terms and in their own ways. Stories that shed light on areas of disability, love and life that are typically overlooked and ignored. A sociological analysis of these stories reveals the creative ways in which disabled people manage and negotiate their sexual and intimate lives in contexts where these are habitually denied. In its calls for disabled people’s sexual and intimate citizenship, stories are drawn upon as the means to create social change and build more radically inclusive sexual cultures.


    In this ground breaking feminist critical disability studies text, The Intimate Lives of Disabled People introduces and contributes to contemporary debates around disability, sexuality and intimacy in the 21st century. Its arguments are relevant and accessible to researchers, academics, and students across a wide range of disciplines – such as sociology, gender studies, psychology, social work, and philosophy – as well as disabled people, their families and allies, and the professionals who work with and for them.



    Chapter 1. Exploring Disability and Sexuality

    Chapter 2. Theorising Disabled Sexualities: Constraints and Possibilities

    Chapter 3. Reflections on the Process of Researching Disabled People’s Sexual Lives

    Chapter 4. "Can you have sex?" Intimate Citizens and Intimate Selves

    Chapter 5. "I need to stick with this because I might not find anybody else": The Labour of Love

    Chapter 6. "If I ever wanted an affair I’d have to send my lover to lifting and handling classes first!" Sexual Normativity and Othered Bodies

    Chapter 7. "…They finish off with a blow job": Politics, Power and the Precarity of Pleasure

    Chapter 8. Drawing Some Conclusions



    Kirsty Liddiard is a Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, where she also co-leads the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman).

    'This book brings a much-needed critical disability studies lens to stories of intimacy, affection, care, eroticism, desire and love in the lives of dis/abled people. The author’s position as a researcher, scholar and disabled woman shapes the inquiry, but participant voices are brought to the fore. These voices challenge the ‘sexual normalcy’ that haunts the lives of dis/abled people, and offer, instead, possibilities for an affirmative sexual selfhood – outside the shadow of the ‘norm’. A must read for everyone with an interest in the fields of sexuality and disability.' - Katherine Runswick-Cole, Professor of Critical Disability Studies & Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University

    'Weaving together theory with rich, empirical data, in this book Liddiard makes clear the importance of taking seriously disabled people's stories of their sexual and intimate lives. The clear, careful and attentive thesis means it is a must read for those engaged in the politics of disability and/or sexuality.' - Jen Slater, Reader in Disability Studies and Education, Sheffield Hallam University