Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Temporality in Phenomenology: Utilizing the Principles in Practice for Significance of a Sex Research

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Temporality in Phenomenology: Utilizing the Principles in Practice for Significance of a Sex Research

Article excerpt

This article aims to demonstrate how the researcher can utilize the principle of temporality in phenomenology as a method to explore and to reveal the human experience through its application in sex research. Although phenomenological studies have been increasingly adopted for qualitative inquiry in the field of social science, the idea of the horizon of temporality and its practical utilization is rarely demonstrated explicitly. In this study, the researcher has investigated the interpretation of marital experience of Chinese spouses in Hong Kong who have been assessed with sexual dysfunctions with attention to the couples' perspectives. Having adopted a synthetic qualitative research orientation in line with an interpretive research paradigm and with an emphasis on phenomenological principles, this article elicits the research paradigm, its philosophical orientation and the related research principles for a framework of utilizing temporality and its application for research. Keywords: Temporality, Phenomenology, Lived Experience, Chinese Marriage, Sexual Dysfunctions

When diagnosis is making towards sexual dysfunctions, physiological or biomedical models are usually adopted in the views that explain its etiology, such as the categorization in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Biological aspect dominates our understanding of sexuality that has developed to conceal our views of the individual, relational and psychosocial dimensions of sexual expression that may eventually prove stultifying to sex therapy in the professional field. In general, critiques of the physiological definition of sexual dysfunctions refer to its overemphasis on the penile-vaginal intercourse, reproduction, orgasm and sexual performance imperatives. In other words, it promotes genital function as the centerpiece of sexuality with a biological reductionist approach and a mind-body split, stripping the phenomena of context (Birke, 1999; Good, 1994; Grace, 1998, 2000; Nicolson, 1993; Tiefer, 1996, 2010). Hence, the physiological model of sexual dysfunction has to be re-examined and expanded that pave the way for the background of this study about sexual dysfunctions (Kwan, 2014).

With the concern focused on sexual functioning, sex therapy has been adopting an approach of clinical expert making diagnosis and advocating treatment. Besides, clinical practitioners may also apply a client-driven approach in addressing comprehensive and genuine needs of the clients, who are situated in their own contexts. Hence, the human experience is prime concern for understanding the meanings of sexual dysfunctions prior to deliberating the treatments. This research attempted to investigate the marital experiences of Chinese spouses in Hong Kong who had been assessed with sexual dysfunctions, whereas the significance of sexual dysfunctions was investigated at the dyadic level. The interpretation of the spousal experiences in the present study was specific to clinical social work in a wider socio-cultural context. It had been working towards a bio-psycho-socio-cultural model of understanding that was articulated by the principles of descriptive phenomenology and philosophical hermeneutics, and the results of the study were published with an overview (Kwan, 2015). However, the most striking part of the study, "temporality of sexual dysfunctions" in marriage had not been fully elaborated, and I would like to seize the following part of this article in focus of this original idea for the experience and meaning of sexual dysfunctions in alignment. Interpretivism is adopted as the research paradigm for this study with the objectives of understanding a complex world of lived experience from the view of the persons who live it (Schwandt, 1994).

Phenomenology

Phenomenology is usually considered as part of the interpretive research paradigm (Clark, 1998; Guba & Lincoln, 1994; Monti & Tingen, 1999). …

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