‘I’m just curious and still exploring myself’: Young people and pornography

Feona Attwood*, Clarissa Smith, Martin Barker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Young people’s encounters with sexual media are the subject of intense concern, but the research underpinning policy debate and public discussion rarely pays attention to the complexity of these. In this article, we show how encounters with pornography are increasingly presented as matters of health and well-being, but often from a standpoint of ‘exposure and effects’ that offers little in the way of understanding the significance of pornography in people’s lives. We consider what our recent research on porn consumption suggests about young people’s encounters and engagements with pornography – focusing on porn as an ‘outlet’, the development of porn tastes and the relation of porn to young people’s developing sex lives and imaginations. We argue that it is productive to understand pornography as a site for developing sexual identities and relationships, as a form of sexual leisure and play, and in relation to the broader emergence of mediated intimacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3738-3759
Number of pages22
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume20
Issue number10
Early online date2 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

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