Feeling sexual inside and out: bodies and boundaries in forensic mental health    


  • Prof Paula Reavey

    London South Bank University

Project summary

It is widely acknowledged that positive experiences of sexuality and intimacy play a key role in recovery from mental health challenges. In forensic mental health settings service users’ lived experiences of sexuality and relationships have remained overshadowed by concerns surrounding risk and reoffending.

We will conduct qualitative empirical research to investigate how service users in secure and community forensic mental health settings experience and make meaning regarding their sexuality, sensuality and intimate relationships. We will identify the role of sexuality in recovery and examine barriers that might exist with respect to sexual and emotional expression in these settings. Data will be collected from about 30 service users using semi-structured one-to-one interviews that will involve using visual and creative methods, such as drawing and modelling, which help participants' embodied, relational experiences. Data will be analysed using phenomenological and process theory which helps make sense of the person in context, with emphasis on embodiment, affectivity and intersubjectivity.