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Sex for LifeFrom Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives$
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Laura Carpenter and John DeLamater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772522

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.001.0001

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Secrets and Magic Pills

Secrets and Magic Pills

Constructing Masculinity and Sexual “Normalcy” Following Spinal Cord Injury

Chapter:
(p.198) 10 Secrets and Magic Pills
Source:
Sex for Life
Author(s):

Alexis A. Bender

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.003.0010

This chapter focuses on how men reconstruct masculinity and sexual “normalcy” following spinal cord injuries. There are at least four paths for men's sexual trajectories following spinal cord injury (SCI). Men who used “Adaptation” strategies appeared to be most successful, and satisfied, in their sex lives. Their high level of agentic control offered ways to overcome some of the negative stereotypes facing people with SCI. Men in the second group, Performers, are also able to assert control over their sexual trajectories. However, their narratives reflect a high reliance on hegemonic masculine presentation. Men in the remaining two groups indicate more feelings of powerlessness in relationships. The Conformers were the oldest men in the sample and therefore faced ageist stereotypes about their inability to have or desire sex. Finally, the Relinquishers have internalized many idealized aspects of masculinity but are prevented from meeting these standards in part because of their lack of social and financial resources.

Keywords:   masculinity, sexual normalcy, spinal cord injury, hegemonic masculinity, ageist stereotypes

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