(Sex)abled: Disability Uncensored

(SEX)ABLED: DISABILITY UNCENSORED - celebrates people with disabilities as sexual beings. This documentary increases visibility for an often ignored population by addressing stereotypes that hinder sexual growth. Viewers are introduced to a community of sexually active disabled people. Community members expose the truth by pulling back the curtain to their sexual lives. 

(Sex)abled reveals that everyBODY is capable of being sexual. The documentary features participants of the discussion panel sponsored by University of California Berkeley's Disabled Students Union called "Are Cripples Screwed?" The panel is conducted several times a year and addresses issues surrounding sex, romance and intimacy that people of all bodies can relate to.  

 

Discussion Guide*

(Sex)abled is an educational tool that informs viewers of all ages and body types that everyone is capable of being sexual. 

Themes

  • Increasing visibility for Disability Rights
  • Addressing stigmas and stereotypes
  • Improving Sexual Awareness for everybody

Discussion Questions

  • The world is filled with many people and 43 million people in the United States alone have a disability. We encounter the disabled in our everyday life where some have visible disabilities while others don't. How does being around someone with a disability make you feel? Please take a moment to think about these questions privately.
  • In this film, there are a broad range of people with a variety of disabilities. 70% of disabilities are non-visible. What are societal perceptions of disability?
  • Paul Longmore says that "disability studies scholars have generally tried to range contending views of the disability experience according to one of two paradigms or models." The first model tries to fix the individual through medical treatment. The second model (the minority group) explains that socially constructed factors are the real harm to people with disabilities. What are some examples of social factors that impact people with disabilities?
  • Think of a person in the film, or a person you know with a disability. How might the social life of this person be impacted by a lack of opportunities and access to accommodations?
  • Paul Longmore uses the examples that "physical accessibility, the lack of accommodations such as the absence of a sign language interpreter if you're deaf or braille markings on an elevator if you're blind" to explain key elements of the ways in which people with disabilities are not given the same access or opportunity as able bodied people.  What kinds of social amenities can enhance the living experience for people with different kinds of abilities?
  • We as a society have different views of what is beautiful, hot, and sexy. Olympia says, "they way I feel about myself is just different from how people see me...it's like, especially with men, they see skin...that's sexy. You know, or they see a good body...that's sexy." And we express ourselves physically and intimately in our own ways. What does society consider beautiful, sexy or attractive? How do these representations affect people in the United States?
  • How comfortable are you with your own body? If not, have you ever let these insecurities inhibit your ability to be intimate with someone?  If it does have an effect on you, how do societal perceptions and the media's idea of the perfect body affect you being sexually comfortable and intimate with someone?
  • In the film, Jackson says that he uses his humor to break down stereotypes of disability and "until [he] sees Stephen Hawking on the cover of a trashy romance novel, [he's] forced to make beautifully crafted dick jokes." Can humor be used to discuss disability and sexuality effectively? If it does, how can humor allow the discussion of sex and disability to be much more openly talked about? In what other ways can we bring up the topic of sex and disability?

 

Facts & Resources

Facts

  • Of the 291.1 million people in the population of 2005, 54.4 million (18.7 percent) had some level of disability and 35.0 million (12.0 percent) had a severe disability. (US Census Bureau Census.gov - December 2008 Current Population Reports)
  • Research has shown that disabled persons whom were sexually satisfied and felt good about their sexuality were more likely to have high levels of self-esteem. (Taleporos, George (2002). "The Impact of Sexual Esteem, Body Esteem, and SexualSatisfaction on Psychological Well-Being of People with PhysicalDisability." Sexuality and Disability; Sep 2002, Vol. 20. Issue 3, p177-183)
  • Extensive research has been done on physiology of sexual response in women with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis, but sex partners in surveys reported that emotional closeness and willingness to try a variety of sexual activities were more important for sexual fulfillment than physical ability. (Baylor College of Medicine - Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD))

Resources

  • Disabled Students Union at UC Berkeley http://dsu.berkeley.edu/ A group of UC Berkeley students dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities and educating the campus and surrounding communities about disability issues.
  • Cornucopia of Disability Information http://codi.buffalo.edu/ CODI serves as a community resource for consumers and professionals by providing disability information in a wide variety of areas.
  • DisabilityInfo.Gov https://www.disability.gov/ Disability.gov provides quick and easy access to comprehensive information about disability programs, services, laws and benefits.

 

Meet the Filmmakers

AMANDA HOFFMANN is part activist, part writer, part artist, part socialscientist and silly through and through. She received a B.A. in Psychology with honors from California State University Fullerton in 2007. She has completed a Master's degree in the Human Sexuality studies program at San Francisco State University. She has presented various research projects at several academic conferences andhas worked with The National Sexuality Resource Center at SFSU to helporganize events and projects to further the sexual literacy movement. She is pursuing cinema classes to learn new ways in which visual artscan be used to expand awareness about sexuality issues. She became interested in visibility for people with disabilities after becoming aware of the exclusion of disabled people from sexuality researcher and education. (Sex)Abled is Amanda's first collaborativedocumentary project but it will not be her last. She plans oncontinuing to explore ways in which visual media can be used as a tool to provide visibility for often ignored populations.

      
    DAN NOVAKOVICH was born and raised in San Diego and moved to San Francisco, where he attended San Francisco State University. Dan was motivated towork on the film (Sex)abled when his sister became legally deaf and brought to his attention the need for disability awareness. Dan produces web based media for the commercial real estate website Creopoint.com.As well as providing media Dan contributes data and moderates the online community. For more information on Dan Novakovich please visit this website novaflick.com

    DAVID KNOPPEL

    LESLIE KERNEY has always been drawn to many fields of interest but has always came back tothe arts. She studid San Francisco State University with a double major in Cinema with a concentration on Production and Psychology. With her background in photography and various mediums of art, she has found a passion for cinematography and creating aesthetically beautiful scenes in the films that she makes. Leslie also has a passion for traveling to exotic locales, experiencing different cultures, and getting to enjoy local cuisine. She intends to pursue a career in film which allows her to travel around the globe filming the parts of the world where the road is less traveled.Ultimately, Leslie loves working on films that serve a purpose andserves the community which lead her to being involved in this documentary.

       

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      *The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute