Gendered power relations in women-to-men interviews on controversial sexual behavior

Ayelet Prior*, Einat Peled

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores gendered power relations in studies of stigmatized sexual behavior, through a poststructuralist feminist theoretical perspective. Interviews conducted by a female interviewer with twenty men who pay for sex were analyzed using the interpretive constructivist method. We applied the concept defended subjects to suggest that the subjects–both interviewer and interviewees–defended themselves against three major threats that characterized the gendered power relations in the interviews: the threat of forced intimacy, the threat of deviancy, and the threat of objectification. We then propose a new heuristic concept–defensive interactions–to discuss these interview dynamics as they relate to three key aspects of gendered power relations in qualitative interviews: the establishment of intimacy, identity management, and objectification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Qualitative interview
  • defended subjects
  • defensive interactions
  • feminist methodology
  • gendered power relations


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