Engaging with pornography: an examination of women aged 18–26 as porn consumers

Feona Attwood*, Clarissa Smith, Martin Barker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
185 Downloads (Pure)


In this article we discuss a large scale research project aimed at uncovering people’s everyday engagements with pornography. We focus on women aged 18–25; the only category of our participants in which women outnumbered men. Looking at responses from women in this group we examine their narratives, views, feelings, positions and judgments. We focus in particular on the elements of pornography that engaged them in terms of content and scenario, style and aesthetics, emotion and thought, tone and mood, and identification, and we consider the accounts of four participants in more detail. Our discussion illustrates what different forms of engagement with pornography can look like and outlines what they suggest about the possible relations of porn engagement and sexuality. We situate our discussion in relation to qualitative cultural studies work, a tradition of feminist audience studies, an emerging porn studies, and accounts which understand both sexuality and media and consumption as part of everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number2
Early online date25 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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