How has the relationship between disability and sexuality been conceptualized in different cultures and changed over time? How have ideas about able-bodies shaped concepts of sexual norms and variance? How have changing ideas about sexuality and disability informed each other?

NOTCHES invites submissions on the histories of disability and sexuality. We welcome blog posts (1000-1500 words); interviews with scholars, archivists, and activists; as well as submissions to our “Archives of Desire” series in which historians reflect on a primary source and its value in research or teaching.

We define the term disability capaciously and seek to include submissions covering any form of impairment or disability identity.

Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)
Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)

Possible questions for exploration include (but are not limited to):

  • How have ideas about able-bodies and disabled-bodies changed over time and in relation to shifting notions of sexuality?
  • What has counted as a sexual disability?
  • In what ways has disability been influential in the creation and perception of sex work?
  • How has disability been historically coupled with non-normative sexuality?
  • What roles do concepts of deviance, asexuality, reproductive issues, and pleasure have in the social construction of disability?
  • How have people with disability (PWD) expressed their sexuality?
  • How have PWD conformed to, complicated, or resisted dominant definitions of disability and sexuality?

Style and image guidelines:

  • Submissions should be written for a non-specialist and international audience. Therefore, avoid jargon and use hyperlinks – not footnotes – to clarify terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to a general readership.
  • Include at least one relevant image for which you have obtained permission, and caption your image with clear attribution information. We welcome your use of a range of sources such as movies or sound files.
  • Include a short hyperlinked author bio and photo with your submission
  • For more information see

Please send submissions or proposals to NOTCHES assistant editor Saniya Lee Ghanoui ( by August 1, 2016. Submissions from outside North America are especially welcome. All submissions to NOTCHES will undergo an internal peer-review process. Proposals and queries are most welcome.

headshotsaniyaleeghanoui-e1440469948463Saniya Lee Ghanoui is a media historian researching the cultural history of sex hygiene films in the United States and Sweden. Her current doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looks at how sex hygiene films transitioned from public theaters to schools and issues of censorship, technology, and sexuality; examines the films’ position and status; and explores their place in sex education curricula. Her research is rooted in gender and women’s studies, STS studies, media studies, and visual culture. She graduated with her MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU; her MA in Journalism from Emerson College; and her BA in Communication Arts from Marymount Manhattan College. Saniya tweets from @saniya1

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NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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One Comment

  1. Thank you for opening up the topic of disability and sexuality. I find the illustration confusing. I’m not sure it shows a disabled person. Like far too many stock disability-related images the photo above shows someone who appears to not need a wheelchair for mobility. If the person does, the wheelchair in the picture is one of the worst for ease of use. It’s a cheap model often referred to as a “hospital wheelchair.”

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