New paper: ‘Like, pissing yourself is not a particularly attractive quality, let’s be honest’: Learning to contain through youth, adulthood, disability and sexuality

I’m really pleased to say that I have a new article published with my colleague, Kirsty Liddiard in a fabulous special issue of Sexualities, Disability and Sexuality: Desires and Pleasures. The article is called ‘Like, pissing yourself is not a particularly attractive quality, let’s be honest’: Learning to contain through youth, adulthood, disability and sexuality and the link to journal’s version of the full article is here – but there is also an open access version. I have copied and pasted the abstract below:

In this article, the authors (re)conceptualize containment in the context of youth, gender, disability, crip sex/uality and pleasure. The article begins by exploring eugenic histories of containment and traces the ways in which the anomalous embodiment of disabled people remains vigorously policed within current neo-eugenic discourse. Drawing upon data from two corresponding research studies, the authors bring the lived experiences of disabled young people to the fore. They explore their stories of performing, enacting and realizing containment: containing the posited unruliness of the leaky impaired body; containment as a form of (gendered) labour; and containment as a marker of normalization and sexualization, and thus a necessary component for ableist adulthood. Thus, they theorize crip embodiment as permeable, porous and problematic in the context of the impossibly bound compulsory (sexually) able adult body. The authors suggest that the implicit learning of containment is therefore required of disabled young people, particularly women, to counter infantilizing and desexualizing discourse, cross the ‘border zone of youth’ and achieve normative neoliberal adulthood. Crucially, however, the article examines the meaning of what the authors argue are important moments of messiness: the precarious localities of leakage that disrupt containment and thus the ‘reality’ of the ‘able’, ‘adult’ body. The article concludes by considering the ways in which these bodily ways of being contour both material experiences of pleasure and the right(s) to obtain it.

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