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Applications of Intersectionality to Sexology and Sexuality

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Intersectionality continues to be taken up across several healthcare disciplines as an interdisciplinary enterprise (Bowleg, 2021; Chan et al., 2018; Hankivsky et al., 2014). Drawing from its social justice ethos (Collins, 2019; Collins & Bilge, 2020) and roots in Black feminism (Cole, 2020; Combahee River Collective, 1977/1995; Crenshaw, 1989; Lorde, 1984), intersectionality provides a platform for merging theory, research, and clinical practice and tackling power inequities that shape culture, barriers, and access (Buchanan & Wiklund, 2021). Notably, intersectionality builds upon a central analysis of power and determines the cultural and political implications of sexology and sexuality (Bowleg et al., 2015; Bowleg & Bauer, 2016). Due to its larger analysis of culture, politics, and policy, intersectionality offers opportunities to reinforce a sex-positive approach for a number of historically marginalized communities, especially multiply-marginalized communities (Hargons et al., 2020; Semlyen et al., 2018).

To connect intersectionality’s core tenets, the presentation will draw from an extensive theoretical base to responsibly use intersectionality (Collins & Bilge, 2020; Grzanka, 2020) and describe the richness and genealogy of the theory (Hancock, 2016). The presentation will integrate an overview of key exemplars of extant research that synthesize intersectionality, sexology, and sexuality. To bridge theory with practice, the presenter will illustrate multiple takeaways for clinical practice and systemic interventions for dismantling inequities in sexology and sexuality. The presenter will also involve a case example to foreground future possibilities for clinical practice.

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