New Research on Sexuality and Disability Featured in Special Issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC Issue Also Includes a Policy Article on the Religious Right's Impact on Sexuality Policy

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Critical Research and Policy Debates in Disability and Sexuality Studies is the title of the new special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of the NSRC (SRSP) made available exclusively online at

Critical Research and Policy Debates in Disability and Sexuality Studies is the title of the new special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of the NSRC (SRSP) made available exclusively online at This special issue of the journal, guest edited by Russell Shuttleworth, covers a range of topics concerning sexuality and disability including the psychological perspectives on disabled LGBT persons' physical sexual expression; the sexual expression of LGBT people with intellectual disabilities and how staff supports them; the relationship between disability and alternative sexual expression; and the sociopolitical dimensions of the consideration of sexuality and disability. For our policy section in this issue, Diane di Mauro and Carole Joffe have contributed an article focusing on the Religious Right's impact on sexuality policy since the 1970s. In a final original article, Mark McClelland and Seunghyun Yoo use the Japanese practice of Yaoi to examine current legislation of child pornography.

"For the past thirty years, and especially during the first six years of the George W. Bush presidency, the Religious Right has had a significant and disturbing impact on sexuality-related policy in the United States," stated Carole Joffee, co-author of the policy article entitled The Religious Right and the Reshaping of Sexuality Policies: An Examination of Reproductive Rights and Sexuality Education. "In the field of sexuality education, 'abstinence only' educators have offered teenagers false and misleading information, putting these young people at unnecessary risk. The Religious Right's anti-abortion campaign has escalated to a war on contraception itself, leading to cutbacks in family planning services -- and ironically, to a greater need for abortion among those who are dependent on publicly funded contraception."

Dr. Carole Joffe is available to discuss her article, which she co-wrote with Dr. Diane di Mauro. The article chronicles the impact of the Religious Right's ability to create moral panics about sexuality, specifically regarding abortion and sexuality education. Ultimately, the authors conclude, political meddling and moral proscriptions, disregard for scientific evidence, and the absence of a coherent approach regarding sexual and reproductive health rights have undermined sexuality policy in the United States.

Joffe is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis, and a visiting professor at the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health and Research at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v. Wade. Joffe frequently writes on reproductive politics for a general audience in both major newspapers and on-line publications. She is often quoted in the media, including the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The history of medicalized, apolitical, and individual biases in disability and sexuality research is finally being corrected by approaches that take account of disabled people's voices, the diversity of their experiences, and the sociocultural contexts in which they live their everyday lives," stated Dr. Russell Shuttleworth, guest editor of this special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, Volume 4, Issue 1 on the topic of Disability and Sexuality. "Critical social science research can reveal how disabled people's sexuality challenges the cultural and sociostructural framework of normative expectations surrounding sexual desiring and desirability, the myriad barriers to disabled people's sexual well-being that these expectations create, and the embodied resistance and modes of sexual relationality by which disabled people often find sexual meaning in their lives. This research pushes the conceptual envelope and exposes underlying assumptions of our understanding of sexual subjectivity, sexual health, and sexual rights."

Dr. Russell Shuttleworth is available to discuss the articles in this special issue on the topic of Disability and Sexuality. Shuttleworth is a lecturer in the Human Sexuality Studies Program at San Francisco State University and at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California, Berkeley. He is a medical anthropologist and social worker whose primary research interest is disability and sexuality. He has published widely in the areas of masculinities and disability, anthropology and disability, social work and disability, and qualitative research methods. He reflexively incorporates his experiences as a personal assistant for disabled men into his research and writing. Dr. Shuttleworth is an outspoken ally in the struggle for sociosexual justice for disabled people.

Articles in Special Issue on Disability and Sexuality:

Guest Editor Russell Shuttleworth provides a broad overview of the conceptual and practical issues relevant to the topic of sexuality and disability in his Introduction to Special Issue: Critical Research and Policy Debates in Disability and Sexuality Studies.

In Sexual Lives of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People With Disabilities: Psychological Perspectives, Sarah S. Fraley, Linda R. Mona, and Peter S. Theodore explore how people with disabilities (PWD) who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) have received little attention in the areas of social policy, sexuality studies, and psychological research and practice and have experiences similar to other double minorities. They demonstrate that existing research has focused on sexual identity and the psychology of the individual instead of on the actual physical experience of sexual expression. This article also provides practical strategies for the disabled LGB community to overcome barriers to sexual expression.

What's Love Got to Do With It?: Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People With Intellectual Disabilities in the United Kingdom and Views of the Staff Who Support Them, by David Abbott and Jan Burns reports on research that highlights that, despite barriers, LGB people with intellectual disabilities want to develop sexual and intimate relationships. The article also focuses on the roles that staff can play to help facilitate these relationships.

Disability and BDSM: Bob Flanagan and the Case for Sexual Rights, by Dawn Reynolds. The author explores the relationship between disability and BDSM in the life of performance artist Bob Flanagan. Flanagan's performances ruptured tropes of the disabled body as sick, immobile, and asexual and signaled the necessity for disability sexuality studies and policymakers alike to incorporate the desires and creative practices of all their constituents.

Contested Pleasures: The Sociopolitical Economy of Disability and Sexuality, by Margrit Shildrick. The article investigates a social policy consensus that focuses on disabled people's rehabilitation or compensation instead of their full sexual citizenship. This is because, Shildrick argues, our culture fears nonnormative sexuality as being a potential point of societal breakdown.

In addition, Volume 4, Issue 1 of the journal includes the original article, The International Yaoi Boys' Love Fandom and the Regulation of Virtual Child Pornography: The Implications of Current Legislation, by Mark McClelland, Seunghyun Yoo. The authors look at current international legislation regulating child pornography, particularly at the category of virtual child pornography, or purely fictional images and textual representations of young people defined as minors and its inadvertent criminalization of a large, predominantly female group of manga fans.

Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC is published by the National Sexuality Resource Center in partnership with University of California Press and is available exclusively online at For full versions of articles contact Isaac Goldstein at 415-437-1472.

The National Sexuality Resource Center gathers and disseminates the latest accurate information and research on sexual health, education, and rights. NSRC initiates constructive dialogues -- both online and face-to-face -- on sexuality to promote social justice and to improve the quality of life in the United States.

The University of California Press is one of the largest nonprofit publishers in the United States, introducing over 180 new books and 56 journals each year in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Visit or


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