Disability, Sex Radicalism, and Political Agency
Abby Wilkerson's essay focuses on how sex relates to, as well as the social stigmas and stereotypes associated with, different groups of people.
One such group include disabled people. She describes the struggles that disabled people face in medical treatment, especially in relation to sex and sexuality. Disabled women are denied birth control. Society and those in the medical profession assume that disabled people are no longer capable of having sexual relationships. Doctors do not acknowledge sexual relationships, occasionally causing misdiagnoses because of this.
A large reason for this behavior is the societal construct which dictates that sex is solely about "normal" vaginal sexual intercourse between males and females. There is also an association with procreation. For obvious reasons, disabled females may not be able to procreate safely.
Women are another group who have been stereotyped and with whom social stigmas have been attached. There is a desire to protect women from sex and sexuality as much as possible. This same "protection" is applied to all of society, restricting availability of resources pertaining to glbtq members of society.
TherIe is also a shame associated with Sex and sexuality. Wilkerson mentions the ever-noted "walk of shame." This walk of shame only applies to females who spend the night in a male's room, and has no effect on the opposite case or same-gendered sleepovers. Regardless of the sexual or non-sexual nature of these sleepovers, the walk of shame exists for females.
Shame has incredible influence on both women and queers. While there is no apparent stigma associated with being female, the shame is a factor whenever women are involved in sexually charged actions. By observing the shame associated with sexual acts, women contribute to social hierarchies which portray female sexuality negatively.
Gayle S. Rubin's article was rather difficult to understand for me. I'm not entirely sure I grasped the concepts written about. That said, here is what I gathered.
Society has created a line within the spectrum of sexuality and desire which defines "acceptable" relationships in contrast to "unacceptable" relationships. People who do not follow the idea of the "normal" relationship, that is, a monogamous, heterosexual, married relationship in which both parties are of similar age, consenting for the purpose of procreation in their own home with no other people present and only their bodies. This is in contrast to the "extreme" relationship in which homosexual, non-married partners are having casual orgies in public areas, partaking in a multitude of fetishes. The members of this may be of any age or may be paying for the experience. These hyper-contrasting views of sexuality define the line of what is proper and what is not. If a person commits a single act that is outside of the bounds of normalcy, he or she becomes "bad." Rubin illustrated that while some of these "unacceptable practices are becoming more respectable, there is still hostility.