Sex in the field—the dilemma of whether to cover up or display sexual identities and desires during the course of anthropological fieldwork—is one of the best-kept secrets in the discipline. Contending that the conventional pose of a genderless, asexual, ethnographic researcher is impossible to sustain, this volume brings sex and sexuality into the open as essential components of ethnographic study that must be overtly recognized and proactively addressed. Sex, Sexuality, and the Anthropologist recounts the real-life experiences of anthropologists who are forced to acknowledge that their hosts in the field view them as gendered beings in a social context, not as asexual, objective observers. Far from controlling the research environment and defining the terms of interviewer-informant relationships, these researchers find they must engage in a process of negotiating their position—including their sexual position—within the communities they study.
Ranging from public baths in Austria to lesbian bars in Taiwan and from Mexico to Nigeria to Finland to Japan, Sex, Sexuality, and the Anthropologist raises critical questions about ethnographers' reflexivity, subjectivity, and detachment, confronting the challenge of a holistic approach to the anthropological enterprise.