Congratulations to our Contract Instructor, Alan Santinele Martino for defending this thesis with the department of Sociology at McMaster University on October 8th!

His dissertation is entitled “The Romantic and Sexual Lives of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in Ontario, Canada”

Alan’s research focused on the romantic and sexual lives of adults with intellectual disabilities in Ontario, Canada, by putting into conversation theories from the sociology of sexualities and critical disability studies. It uses a sexual fields analytic framework (Green, 2014) to explore the consequences of sexual stratification on the experiences of disabled people.

Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 46 adults with intellectual disabilities, this research explores how they are kept out of sexual fields through a series of disabling social processes. It also examines how participants make sense of their gender and sexual identities based on gender habitus acquired in their lives and how they are often confined to “hetero-romantic” forms of sexual expression and traditional gender roles. Finally, this project explores how participants navigate the sexual fields available to them and their strategies for negotiating those fields.

This research brings to view previously unexplored sexual fields within the existing sexual fields literature. It discusses what Alan calls intellectual disability sexual fields, spaces exclusively for people with intellectual disabilities, as well as more mainstream sexual fields.