Understanding Experiences of Sexuality with Cerebral Palsy through Sexual Script Theory

Tinashe M Dune


This study explored how people with cerebral palsy (CP) negotiated and perceived their sexual interactions with others. In doing so, this research discusses participant conceptualizations of sexuality with CP. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with two women and five men with moderate to severe cerebral palsy from Canada and Australia. The interview discourse focused on how, if at all, interactional constructions of sexuality influenced the way in which participants expressed and negotiated their sexuality. Interview data were thematically analyzed using NVivo and manual line-by-line analysis. Negotiated sexuality with partners, and communication styles influenced understandings of sexuality with CP. Partner validation was important to participant understanding sexuality as was the style and quality of communication about sexuality between sexual partners. Sexuality was meaningful with a sense of closeness, experiences of affection and reciprocity. Personal sexual agency enabled negotiation of preferred sexuality as did perceived levels of socio-sexual compatibility. The findings confirm that sexuality is socially negotiated. For people with CP personal agency yields more satisfying socio-sexual outcomes. In this regard, the ability to make (and exercise) choice when negotiating interactional sexual experiences reinforces conceptualizations of oneself as a sexual being and sexual equal.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v1i1.6


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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