Research on human sexuality has over the years raised various ethical concerns since they often involve human subjects. These ethical issues have brought controversy on such studies on sexuality. Researchers, who come from different backgrounds, therefore, have to put a lot of attention into the study to address the sensitivity of human sexuality as a topic of research. The various topics discussed are sexual identity, politics that are related to sexual issues, sexual values and conduct. (Ringheim, 1995). Some of this information that has to be obtained from human subjects are intensely personal which may make the interviewee to become uncomfortable. Ethical issues that may arise in sexuality research are the willingness of participants to share personal information, communitys perspective about various sexual activities, the risk of legal action in case the research involves illegal sexual activities such as prostitution, consideration of a particular interview pool. This paper aims to elaborate the various ethical issues that may arise while studying human sexuality.
One of the major problems that affect research on sexuality is the willingness of participants to give out information to researchers. More often than not, the researchers are to obtain this information directly from the subjects. These survey interviews usually attempt to determine the sexual encounters that a person has come across in his or her life. Individuals attitude towards issues related to sex may also be necessary to identify. Obtaining such information may, therefore, be difficult as the interviewee may easily get uncomfortable and become reluctant to answer the questions. In such a case where the interviewee becomes reluctant, the researcher cannot coerce the subject to give such information. Such an ethical issues can easily affect the study as no valuable information may be obtained from the subject.
Interviews of subjects during research on sexuality need to be in a conducive environment. The researcher should ensure that the interviewee is as comfortable as possible so that as much information can be obtained. A researcher should not force information out of a subject. Other ethical issues like communities perspective on various issues about sexuality should also be addressed. The researcher should ensure that the community appreciates the role of research on sexuality by giving them a brief explanation and making them understand the importance of investigation. In some research, there may be the risk of legal actions. This is as a result of some sexual activities being considered illegal. Some of these are activities prostitution, gays or transgender issues. In a situation where legal actions may be taken, the researcher needs to seek permission from the local authorities to carry out t6he research. An understanding of the confidentiality of such information should also be addressed. The authorities should be asked to allow the research to be done by the researchers without meddling with the whole process.
In conclusion, researchers that are carried out on human sexuality are significant for the development of the community. It is from the good research that sexuality issues that affect the community are addressed. Ethical issues should, therefore, be considered first before a research has been done. As much as sexuality is a sensitive subject, it is important that research on it be done to improve the well-being of the community.
Reich, W. T. (1978). Encyclopedia of bioethics.
Ringheim, K. (1995). Ethical issues in social science research with special reference to sexual behavior research. Social Science & Medicine, 40(12), 1691-1697.
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