Wheelchair bound not sex bound explores how individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) create a new sexual self and identity after their injury. Graduate student Elisabeth Mumford in the Sociology and Corrections Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato examined how individuals reconstruct a new sexual self. Physical disabilities have become more prevalent with the increase of sport injuries. Most of these disabilities are often result in SCI leaving individuals in a wheelchair. In the hospital, individuals receive information on how to live with this new injury, but often rehabilitation programs ignore the aspect of sexuality. Without this aspect being covered individuals with disabilities are required to reconstruct a new sense of sexual selfhood. Most research on this topic lacks a theoretical framework and the purpose of this paper is to use symbolic interactionism and connect this theoretical framework to the literature on the sexuality of spinal cord injuries. This study uses symbolic integrationist's Mead, Cooley, and Goffman in understanding the process and problems of reconstructing one's self and sexual identity after an SCI. In interviewing ten individuals with a SCI in 2013-2014 it was found in order to create a new sexual self and identity individuals with SCI need to rewrite their own sexual scripts, find a partner who is educated and has an open mind to experiment what is possible, and men and women will experience the reconstruction of sexuality differently.


Dennis Waskul

Committee Member

Vicki Hunter

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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