Researching Masculinity and Men’s Sexual Health in Bangladesh: Methodological Reflections
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Sex and sexuality are deemed “sensitive” issues in relatively conservative, predominantly Muslim countries. Men’s sex and sexualities research within such cultural contexts confronts certain challenges and raises important methodological issues. This paper reflects on some of the methodological issues and challenges encountered when carrying out a study in Bangladesh. It reports on a male researcher’s qualitative study of men’s sexual health and masculinity in Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country where sexuality is largely constituted as a taboo subject. The researcher faced challenges in gaining access and in discussing sex and sexuality issues in interview settings. Moreover, the interview context emerged as a site for expressing, negotiating, challenging men and masculinities. Drawing upon experiences in navigating the “field” in Bangladesh, some of the useful ways of researching “sensitive” issues such as sex, sexuality, and masculinity within these settings are suggested, highlighting what works when researching men’s sexual health and masculinity.