With(out) pleasure: Desexualization, gender and sexuality at work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores desexualization in massage therapy as a complex interaction between therapists and clients wherein sexual subjectivities are co-constructed, reified and in one case revised to highlight how workers can create a professional sexual identity in the spaces between desexualization and re-eroticization. Findings suggest that organizational mandates for desexualization as well as therapists' own framing maintains gendered subjectivities that paint men as aggressors and women as victims. It also offers, through the philosophy of one female therapist, an alternative to desexualization that seeks to encourage sexuality based on professionalism, respect and choice. A key implication of this study is that a more holistic and context-dependent view of work and workers is necessary for scholars and practitioners to understand the promise and perils of organizational desexualization.


  • Katie Sullivan
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • re-eroticization, gender, ethnography, professionalization, desexualization
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-364
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch