© 2016

Sexuality, Disability, and the Law

Beyond the Last Frontier?

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Michael L. Perlin, Alison J. Lynch
    Pages 1-12
  3. Michael L. Perlin, Alison J. Lynch
    Pages 29-93
  4. Michael L. Perlin, Alison J. Lynch
    Pages 95-117
  5. Michael L. Perlin, Alison J. Lynch
    Pages 119-143
  6. Michael L. Perlin, Alison J. Lynch
    Pages 145-157
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 159-209

About this book


Sexuality, Disability, and the Law approaches issues of sexual autonomy and disability from multiple perspectives, including constitutional law, international human rights, therapeutic jurisprudence, history, cognitive psychology, dignity studies, and theories and findings on gender constructs and societal norms. Perlin and Lynch determine that if our society continues to assert that persons with mental disabilities possess a primitive morality, we allow ourselves to censor their feelings and their actions. By denying their ability and desires to show love and affection, we justify this disparate treatment. Our reliance on stereotypes has warped our attitudes and our policies, and has allowed us to avoid important issues of humanity and of dignity that should be at the basis of any policies that affect this population.


Sexuality mental disability psychiatric hospitals institutionalization therapeutic jurisprudence patients' rights gender hospital human rights Institution Nation social policy

About the authors

Michael L. Perlin is Professor Emeritus of Law at New York Law School, USA; Founding Director, International Mental Disability Law Reform Project, and Co-Founder, Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates

Alison J. Lynch is Staff Attorney at Disability Rights New York.

Bibliographic information


"Q: When do we not even want to THINK about sex? A: When institutionalized persons with mental disabilites are involved! The complete lack of attention has led to diametrically opposed views, ranging from "they have no interest and will be exploited" to "they are uncontrollable predators who will put many at risk." Now, finally, a full-volume full-discussion by Michael Perlin and Alison Lynch in a beautifully written and analyzed book brings therapeutic jurisprudence to the rescue, arguing for carefully constructed policies based on the "3 Vs" of voice, validation, and voluntary participation. It is a wonderful book that will bring this issue to center stage in disability law circles. " - David B. Wexler, Professor of Law and Director, International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence, University of Puerto Rico; Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Arizona, USA