Sexuality in interview relations:
deciphering a methodological taboo
Sexuality—here referring to a set of words and acts potentially exchangeable between a male or female interviewer and a male or female interviewee and involving sexed bodies and imaginations—raises methodological issues of consequence in sociology. Manifestations of sexuality may destabilize or facilitate field surveys, causing more and less serious incidents in some. The fears often elicited by sexuality are likely to affect how surveys are constructed and how the initial research question is defined. And yet sexuality is almost never mentioned, and is therefore extremely unlikely to be analyzed from a methodological standpoint, outside studies bearing specifically on sexuality itself. This article, based on a critical review of methodological literature, deciphers the reasons for this remarkable silence, a silence that impedes knowledge acquisition. The suggestion is that ideal survey proceedings actually contain a hidden sexual script, and that recognizing that script would help us objectify manifestations of sexuality in the field.