Sexuality, Masculinity, and Intellectual Disability

Beyond a Focus on Regulation and Vicarious Illusions

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
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  • 1 Western Sydney University, Australia n.wilson@westernsydney.edu.au
  • 2 University of Nottingham, UK david.charnock@nottingham.ac.uk
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Abstract

The intersection of sexuality, masculinity, and intellectual disability remains underresearched and only partially theorized. What has been studied identifies that, for these men and boys, the expression and embodiment of their male gendered identity is controlled, to a varying extent, by others. This article unpacks key issues related to identity and intellectual disability, and then describes two ideas. First, the concept of the “conditionally masculine” will be explored. This concept proposes that greater degrees of intellectual disability can change one's perceived or actual gendered identity. Second, the theoretical model entitled “doing intellectual disability boys to men” explores how boys with intellectual disability aspire to be like other boys, yet this embodiment and the hopes and dreams they build are sometimes realized vicariously.

Contributor Notes

Nathan J. Wilson is an Associate Professor and a registered nurse with over 30 years’ experience working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families as a nurse, manager, clinical specialist, clinical educator, applied researcher, and independent consultant. In addition to holding an academic role in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University, Nathan provides expert consultancy to a range of disability services around Australia. His applied research is focused on enhancing the health, well-being, and social participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with an underlying emphasis on chronic illness, men's health, masculinity, participation, and social inclusion. He has published over 90 scientific papers about disability and regularly presents his findings at national and international conferences. Email: n.wilson@westernsydney.edu.au; orcid.org/0000-0002-6979-2099

David Charnock is Assistant Professor in Learning Disability Nursing at the University of Nottingham. His interests include health promotion, working with vulnerable groups, sexual identity, and most recently masculinity and boys with intellectual disability. Before joining the university, he was employed in a number of senior roles for a large mental health and learning disabilities NHS trust, managing both community nursing and allied health services. He is currently working on a book proposal based on his work with boys with intellectual disability. Email: david.charnock@nottingham.ac.uk

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