Doing the Unconventional, Doing ‘Dirty’ Work: The Stigmatization of Sexuality Work and Unforeseen Encounters with Love

  • Aliraza JavaidEmail author


We are storytellers to our own lives. When we do sexuality research, which Irvine (2014) calls ‘dirty’ work, we are in the midst of creating a story. In this book chapter, I provide a snapshot of my story in respect of doing sexuality research. I have encountered numerous pitfalls, dilemmas and problems when doing such ‘dirty’ work, but here I only tell a few by drawing on the qualitatively derived research method tool known as autoethnography. It is a method that requires the writer to use hindsight in order to resurrect not only memories of pain, torture, and stigma but also of liberation and freedom. I mainly refer to the dark memories in this book chapter to raise awareness of them for other like-minded queer writers. I argue that it is possible to write from both our heads and hearts, rather than solely from the former because we are pressured from institutions to sustain sheer ‘objectivity’ when that may not always be possible to do given that human values always enter at the beginning and the end of research. Human values are present when we interview participants. In sexuality work, the process of interviewing participants is a creative space. Interviews, whether online or offline, are spaces where subjectivities are actively created and where emotions are involved and formed.


Mistakes Errors Failure Sexuality research Male sexuality 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East LondonLondonUK

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