Date of Degree

9-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Women's and Gender Studies

Advisor

Linda Alcoff

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Keywords

: Chronic Sexual Pain, Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/ Penetration Disorder, Vaginismus, Feminist Disability Studies

Abstract

Historically, gender and sexuality have been privileged sites of analysis in feminist theory. Critical feminist engagements with “sexual dysfunction” employ gendered analysis’ of medical and pharmaceutical interventions to sexuality in capitalist modernity in order to underscore the ideological dimensions of modern sexuality. Although sexual disorders of pain received little attention from feminist academics until recently, contemporary feminist work on sexual pain disorders mimic the previous work on sexual dysfunctions in terms of analysis. Analysing recent major feminist contributions employing different epistemological orientations to the study sexual disorders of pain, I show that gender continues to be the privileged common category of analysis in studying sexuality and sexual disorders with major weaknesses. On the one hand, these feminists are able to present a critique of gendered sexual oppression reminiscent of second-wave feminist interrogations of sexual oppression and heterosexuality in what is considered a post-feminist era of sex. On the other hand, they use sexual disabilities as a shortcut, sacrificing its difference as a specific form of embodiment/oppression, along with its potential for producing a productive and transformative politics. I use a feminist/queer disability studies perspective to discuss these shortcomings and to suggest a different way to conceptualize sexual politics.

Keywords: Chronic Sexual Pain, Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/ Penetration Disorder, Vaginismus, Feminist Disability Studies, Crip Studies, Sexual Oppression

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