Understanding Sexuality and Disability: Using Interpretive Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approaches

  • Tinashe DuneEmail author
  • Elias Mpofu
Reference work entry


Disability, and those who live with disability, has been researched widely by scholars across a number of fields. However, there has been relatively little research on how people with cerebral palsy (CP) construct their own sexuality and the importance of the sexual scripts involved in this process. Given that sexuality is a fundamental human right with links to identity, health, and belonging, it is important for researchers in this area to engage deeply with understandings of how people with CP construct, understand, and experience their sexuality. This chapter introduces readers to researching constructions, understandings, and experiences of sexuality by applying an Interpretive Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach (IHPA) with people with moderate to severe CP. It discusses the rational and processes for applying IHPA to engage participants in these sensitive and complex discussions on their lived experiences of understandings of sexuality. The chapter also provides procedural guidelines for applying IHPA to studying sexuality with CP in addition to the strengths and limitations of this approach. IHPA provides a unique advantage to studying heath issues with hidden populations or socially sensitive topics with the general population.


Physical disability Sexuality Hermeneutic phenomenology Qualitative methodology Trustworthiness 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia
  3. 3.Educational Psychology and Inclusive EducationUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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