Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 882–899 | Cite as

“Getting It”: Identity and Sexual Communication for Sexual and Gender Minorities with Physical Disabilities

  • Shanna K. Kattari
Original Paper


People with disabilities (PWD) make up a significant portion of the population in the US; the 2010 United States Census reported that 21.3 % of the population age 15 and up has a disability. Research and scholarship around sexuality and disability has grown internationally, yet much of the existing research on the sexuality of PWD is focused on sexual self-esteem and social attitudes on sexuality, not how PWD negotiate sex/engage sexually. This study focuses on themes that emerged from interview data in a subsample of a larger study that identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer, kink/BDSM practicing and/or polyamorous/in open relationships. It examines the themes of kink as a form of communication and boundary setting, as well as identity influences; how the process around coming out regarding sexually marginalized identities, and how these two themes impact coming out and communicating sexual needs regarding disabilities. PWD who are sexual or gender minorities experience unique understandings of communication with sexual partners. The findings suggest that their identities as part of marginalized communities actually serve to support and enhance this communication, leading to more self-reported positive outcomes.


Sexuality Disability Qualitative research Kink LGBTQ Polyamorous 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Social WorkUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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