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Seeking Interview for PhD Project


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Dear all,

My name is Samantha. I forget what gender I listed at the time that I created this account (so I apologize if it reads male on the sidebar), but I am happy to let you know that I am a transgender woman (just finished my first week of being out at work, actually!) and used to go by the name "Alan."

I'm a 3rd-year PhD student in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

My dissertation research is on contemporary practices of sexual fetishism. I read these practices through Silvan Tomkins' theory of affect as a way to move the academic discussion of fetishism away from the overly narrow, linear and deterministic Freudian reading of fetishism that seems to be most scholars' reference point for thinking about fetishism. In other words, Freud thinks a lot about where a sexual fetish "comes from" and what it means unconsciously, but I am interested in asking different, more descriptive questions like: What do sexual fetishes feel like? What is interesting, exciting or novel about a fetish?

Let me add that I am sympathetic with sexual fetishism and that I have no interest in producing the sort of exoticizing descriptions of sexual fetishism that you would find on cable TV (you know, the shows that have that tone of "Look at these wacky people who are into X, Y or Z!"). Rather, I'm interested in producing detailed, sensitive, earnest and completely non-judgmental scholarship on fetish practices. I affirm fetishes as valuable and (of course!) completely acceptable sexual practices and do not find them "weird" in the slightest. In the interest of further disclosure, let me add that I have purposely come to this site to ask for an interview subject because I am not personally aroused by sneezing and, as such, you can rest assured that I am not seeking an interview for romantic or sexual purposes.

I'm currently enrolled in a class called "Image Work: Visual Methods in Qualitative Research." As a final project for this class, I am interested in talking with at least 1 person with a sneezing fetish about the role that images and/or videos play in his or her fetish practice. Do you create images of yourself and/or others sneezing? Do you draw images yourself? Do you collect images and/or videos of sneezes? What do you find interesting or erotic about these images and/or videos? The method I am using for these interviews is called "photo elicitation" where we both look at a photo or drawing together and I record your responses to it, as prompted by some guiding questions.

Given the nature of this project, I would need to speak with someone over 18, who could verify to me that they were over 18. I would also need to speak with someone for whom image-making and viewing practices were important as a part of the sneezing fetish experience. In presenting this project to my class in December, I would go to whatever lengths you would require to protect your anonymity.

This conversation would also need to take place outside of the forum. If you happen to be within an hour of Atlanta, we could interview in person, meeting at a safe, public location. Otherwise, we can interview on Skype.

If you would like to participate, I would be very grateful and you can get in touch with me via e-mail. I would also be happy to respond to any concerns or questions you might have here.

All the best,


MOD NOTE: Samantha's email address is listed in her profile. Please contact her by that method, since she does not yet have access to the Private Messaging system.

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Bumping this thread (which had been hidden) to note that the staff have verified Samantha's identity and story, and we believe she's above-board. Please do not contact her if you're underage, as she won't be able to use your interview material in her research.

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