Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Victoria Kannen on Love, Sex, and Disability

Sarah Smith Rainey, Love, Sex, and Disability: The Pleasures of Care. Disability in Society. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2011, 197 pp. $US 49.95 hardcover (978-1-58826-777-1)

In Sarah Smith Rainey’s Love, Sex, and Disability: The Pleasures of Care, she invites readers to reimagine notions of intimacy, care-work, and the body. Her text is a study of how dominant (and often problematic) narratives of care and intimacy of disabled/nondisabled couples are circulated in social discourse and the counter-narratives that these couples offer. Using popular culture representations, autobiographical reflections, and the analysis of focus group discussions, Rainey explores the intersections of care and intimacy for partnered relationships where one person is disabled (in the case of this work — physically disabled) and the other (seemingly) nondisabled. Her strategy here is clear: she endeavours to confront stereotypes of victimization and valorization where care and disability intersect in order to disrupt the limited (and often heteronormative) understandings of intimacy and the “able-bodiedness of love.” Read more