Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Disability, discourse and desire


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Disability, discourse and desire: analyzing online talk by people with disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2018
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)379-392
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/04/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fran Vicary, who has had cerebral palsy from birth, recently claimed (The Guardian, February 20, 2014) most people with a disability seek to express themselves sexually. Arguing from personal experience, she said the expression of sexual desire is a much contested space for those with disabilities because their sexualities and bodies are controlled by broader public discourses that delegitimise and stigmatise their sexual agency and the possibility of pleasure. It isn’t surprising then that positive and empowering discourses of disability and sexuality are either invisible or missing (Shildrick, 2007; Tepper, 2000). Drawing on discourse analysis (Potter, 1996) I examine electronic talk by people with disabilities in a disability specific online community website. My analysis shows their rejection of mainstream discourses positioning them as asexual and the deployment of mainstream discourses, which draw on gender, sexuality and intimacy, as well as the circulation of disability-specific sexual pleasure discourses with sex workers and caregivers. The use of social media in expressing marginalised sexual identities is also discussed.