This article explores the creation and representations of the sexual other (also labeled as a sexual deviant or sex addict) created in the reality TV show Celebrity Rehab: Sex Rehab, the repression of sexual expression, and lastly the “recovery” and the role the confessional plays in trying to lift the silence surrounding the sexual other. This article focuses on the voyeuristic gratification that derives from the viewing of sexual confessions and the identification process as ‘normal’ through the ability to label someone an ‘other’ by their sexual practices. Through the use of Homi K. Bhabha’s work on “modes of representation of otherness” (68), this text explores how the identification of the sexual other can eliminate the ‘deviant’ label that surrounds sex and sexuality — especially when the conversation is in an open forum instead of behind closed doors. Reality television allows viewers to maintain power within the viewer-subject relationship; it also provides the audience an opportunity to label or remove labels placed on those operating outside heterosexual norms as deviant or ‘other.’ Finally, this text explores the power of the confessional — its ability to aid in the removal of the ‘otherness’ label and to open up dialogue surrounding the “taboo” associated with sexual practices (and speaking about it) within American culture.


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pp. 107-128
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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