ABSTRACT

In this chapter, the author considers the lived and material realities of impairment that were most prevalent in informants' sexual stories. She explores the meaning of such bodily difference in informants' understandings and experiences of (hetero)sex, gender, pleasure and eroticism. The author identifies heteronormative sexuality and its prescriptive rules, rather than bodily impairment/disability, as the problem. Disabled people routinely spoke of feeling a 'failure', 'inadequate', 'disgusting' and 'abnormal', despite the fact that their own bodies often expanded what the people know about sex and pleasure. Gender was a key factor in determining how informants experienced sexual and intimate relations with self and other. The author explains how the sexual pleasures, practices and interactions of disabled people in her research are shaped by both their 'anomalous embodiment' and dominant discourses of heteronormative sexuality. She also explores informants' experiences and celebrations of sexual pleasure, considered by Tepper as 'the missing discourse' within disabled sexual dialectics.