Candid Conversations: Narratives of Young Adults with Disabilities in Sri Lanka on Intimate Partner Relationships

  • Shyamani Hettiarachchi
  • Senarath Attanayake


Conversations on ‘disabled sexualities’ are arguably non-existent in Sri Lanka, or if present, muted and peripheral to the dominant discourse on rights of persons with disabilities, poverty and stigma. This chapter explores the narratives of persons with disability (PWD), partners and centre/teaching staff on how PWD navigate intimate partner relationships. The chapter considers the narratives through the lens of the ‘lived experience’ of the narrators using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, critical disability studies and frames of culture and gender. The emergent themes discussed are of sexual agency, gendered experiences, curious enquiry, shaming, alternative relationships, diverse desires and of imbibing hyper-masculinity. The findings suggest that in spite of the ableist, stereotypical, heteronormative and patriarchal views on disability and sexuality in society, Sri Lankan PWD are transgressing boundaries in subtle, complex ways.


People with disabilities Sexual agency Culture Gender Sri Lanka 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shyamani Hettiarachchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Senarath Attanayake
    • 3
  1. 1.University of KelaniyaColomboSri Lanka
  2. 2.Trinity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.ColomboSri Lanka

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