“It is totally a power struggle”: Struggles over the sexuality of some intellectually disabled individuals in Southern Alberta.

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Santinele Martino, Alan
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology.
This study explores the attitudes and experiences of five individuals with intellectual disabilities regarding their sexual expression and practices, and inquires whether and how their direct care workers impact these expressions and practices. Additionally, the attitudes and experiences of six direct care workers were analyzed. Drawing from standpoint theory, I explore the participants’ experiences as embedded in multifaceted social relations and power struggles. Intellectually disabled individuals discuss their struggles in developing sexual and romantic relationships, having privacy and control over their space, and dealing with workers and guardians who insist on speaking on their behalf. Conversely, direct care workers highlight their fear of discussing sexuality and getting in trouble with their organizations or the guardians or families of their clients. The experiences of these social actors indicate broader struggles that disempower them both, and reveal a culture commonly understands disability and sexuality as something that will land people in trouble.
intellectual disability , sexuality , standpoint theory , disability and sexuality , Alberta, Canada , People with disabilities -- Sexual behavior , People with mental disabilities -- Sexual behavior , Developmentally disabled -- Sexual behavior , Interpersonal relations , Caregivers , Dissertations, Academic