The Erotic in the Interview: Exploring Erotic Feelings in in-depth Interviewing

Jaime Garcia Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


How do researchers negotiate their participants' or our own sexual arousal during interviews? How can an informative intimacy be established through and/or despite of sexual feelings? Previous research in the ethical quagmires of in-depth interviewing has focused on issues such as participant safety, capability of consent, and the management of relationship expectations. The work of Plummer, Ellis and Tillmann has served to advance meaningful considerations of the emotional challenges of interviewing. However, remarkably little work has been produced particularly exploring the development and management of sexually arousing emotions during interviewing. In this work, I respond to Plummer's 2003 call for an ethnography of the body that takes into account lustful and erotic desires. This paper collects methodological anecdotes from my fieldwork which consisted in fifteen online in-depth interviews with men about their sexual fetishes and practices. The autoethnographic analysis of these methodological challenges reveals how sexual arousal frame the informational and emotional exchanges inherent to research: at times, these sexual flows facilitate communication while, at others, they problematize consent-giving and expectations. Overall, this exploration serves to highlight the ways in which sexual emotions need to be openly considered and explored as part of the dynamics at play in interviewing, their role in researcher training and wellbeing and in the capacity of participants to sustain consent throughout the process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019
EventBSA Annual Conference: Challenging Social Hierarchies and Inequalities - Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


ConferenceBSA Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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