“Sexuality, Disability, and Aging: Queer Temporalities of the Phallus” by Jane Gallop— A Sense of Self

Gallop, Jane. “Sexuality, Disability, and Aging: Queer Temporalities of the Phallus”, Duke University Press, 2019.

A Sense of Self

Amos Lassen

Jane Gallop uses her own experiences of the impact of disability on her sex life when becoming disabled late in her life. She explores how disability and aging seem to undermine one’s sense of self and she challenges common conceptions that equate the decline of bodily potential and ability with a permanent and irretrievable loss. Gallop argues that this loss can be both temporary and positively transformative. Sexuality transforms and becomes queerer in the lives of the no longer young and the no longer able while at the same time we see how disability can generate new forms of sexual fantasy and erotic possibility. This is Gallop looking at concerns with sexuality and gender and giving them a new way to examine them in the context of aging and disability studies. She invests feminism with the queerness that she locates in aging and disability .

Traditionally aging is often conceptualized as decline accompanied by a loss of sexual attraction, desire, and potency and this is what Gallop refutes by insisting on the pleasures of perverse sexuality that “refuse the once-and-for-all of castration.” She reminds us that “disabled people have long since decisively queered sex.” All of Gallop’s ideas are carefully thought out and she addresses issues from both anecdotal and theoretical aspects.

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