Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mann, Susan A.

Second Advisor

Luft, Rachel E.

Third Advisor

Compton, D'Lane R.


This thesis is an exploratory study of the everyday lives of four women with various physical disabilities and how these women came to view themselves as sexual beings. Using an intersectional analysis and in-depth interviews, it examines these women's perceptions of expectations of normalcy in regard to life style, body image, and sexual practices, especially the expectations of their able-bodied family members and friends. It also explores how these disabled women deal with the stigmas they encounter in their everyday lives. Special attention is focused on how disabled people are often viewed as asexual or without sexual desires. By contrast, this thesis highlights the sexual agency of the disabled and includes policy implications that entail new ways of defining sexual practices, as well as the need for sex education for the disabled.


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