Considering Social Justice and Formal Rights to Sexual Pleasure: The Case for Sexual Surrogacy, BDSM and Body Image

Heather M. Sloane | September 10 | 4:00 - 5:00 PM | Room 2592

Everyday practices that deny sexual pleasure and create barriers to wellbeing also help to encourage human rights violations at the level of sexuality. Cultural expectations surrounding sexual pleasure contribute to oppression. These violations have prompted discussion about the creation of formal sexual pleasure rights by feminist, LGBTQ, and disability scholars. A variety of popular and professional discourses about the cultural expectations surrounding sexual pleasure and barriers to access will be analyzed in this presentation. Health care professionals, in large numbers, do not feel prepared to integrate sexual pleasure into general care and consumers of health care report regular insensitivity on the part of professionals when they pursue assistance with sexual concerns. This paper will explore ways professionals can increase knowledge about sexual pleasure as a complex concept, encourage client-centered attitudes, and build communications skills. Time will be spent considering carefully controversial topics within the fight for sexual pleasure rights like: disability and sexual surrogacy, BDSM and intimate partner violence and body image and relationship expectations that come in the way of young women’s pleasure. Participants will reflect on what influences their personal understanding of pleasure and sexuality and how personal understanding can hinder an environment where people feel sexuality is a permissible subject to talk about. Participants will consider the ethical responsibility of all healthcare professionals to incorporate issues of pleasure and sexuality into practice to combat human rights violations at the level of sexuality.

About the Presenter