Why Talk About Sex and Disability Anyway? - #ccondisability

CatalystCon Robin Mandell, Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:30am-11:40am


  1. Ability is a temporary condition for most people, and disability is an invisible condition for many more. The topic of sex and disabilities intersects with the areas of healthy body image, self-esteem, and accessible sex education for all. We talk about sex and disability because of what these discussions can teach us about sexuality in general. We’ll start with a basic overview of disability. We will then look at some of the common sex and disability myths, and some of the realities people with different kinds of disabilities do face when negotiating their sexualities. This workshop is a collective learning experience. Participants are invited to bring ideas and resources. This workshop will help us reimagine a more inclusive view of sexualities.
  2. Robin Mandell is a feminist sex educator based in the Washington D.C. area. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies from Queen’s University in Canada and has recently studied professional and technical writing. Robin blogs on equality issues and sexual pleasure and empowerment at robinstoynest.com. She believes that making choices around sexuality is everyone’s birthright. Recently, through her volunteer work with young people at scarleteen.com, she has developed a firsthand understanding of the need for effective and empowering sexuality education, particularly for marginalized populations. Through her academic studies and volunteer crisis line work, Robin has discovered that disability issues receive significantly less attention in academia and social justice movements than do concerns of other minority populations. She has developed a passion for starting dialogues on sex and disability, and has come to the realization that, as much as she just wants to be like everybody else, she can use her visible reality as a blind woman to start these dialogues.

    Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence has a Doctorate of Education in Human Sexuality and holds another doctorate in health care, which informs his sexological perspective. He’s served as a sex industry consultant, educator, media voice, and academic author, and has lectured both nationally and internationally about human sexuality and health. He has been an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Sexology, the Chapter Secretary for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and a member of the San Francisco Coalition for Healthy Sex. From 1979 Lawrence served on the switchboard and training staff, then as coordinator, of SF Sex Information. He and his partner Dr. Carol Queen left the organization to pursue their own projects, including the Center for Sex & Culture.

    Lawrence has covered many sexuality-related topics during 35+ years of teaching. He has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities, and has appeared in places as far-flung as Amsterdam, London and Beijing. Lawrence and Queen have produced events of many kinds, including the live Masturbate-a-Thon. He has been active as a safer-sex educator since 1980.

    Since 1999 Robert has been disabled with a chronic pain condition that limits mobility.