Alan Santinele Martino
“It is easier not to think about it”: Silences and Possibilities at the Intersection of Disability and Sexuality
The intersection of disabilities and sexualities remains a taboo topic in our society. Additionally, research at this intersection remains under-researched and under-theorized in both the sociology of sexualities and critical disability studies, resulting in significant gaps in our understanding of the sexual and intimate lived experiences of disabled people. People with intellectual disabilities have romantic and sexual feelings and desires, make decisions based on their own understanding of the world, and should be entitled to the same sexual rights, protections, and choices as non-disabled people. Drawing on qualitative interviews with adults with intellectual disabilities and support workers, my research makes space for people with intellectual disabilities, especially, to talk about their romantic and sexual lives in their own words. Their narratives bring into view instances of (dis)empowerment and power struggles as well as creativity and resilience to access romance and remain sexual.
Alan Santinele Martino is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has been awarded prestigious research awards, including the Ontario Trillium Award. His primary areas of interest include the sociology of sexualities, sociology of gender, and critical disability studies, as well as their intersections. His main body of work investigates the romantic and sexual experiences of adults with intellectual disabilities in Ontario, Canada, by putting into conversation theories from the sociology of sexualities and critical disability studies. It uses a sexual fields analytic framework (Green 2014) to explore the consequences of sexual stratification on the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities.