Advertisement
This story is over 5 years old
News by VICE

Porn Is Finally About To Be Taken Seriously

Scholarly journal

by Rachel Barth
Mar 29 2014, 12:50pm

Photo via Flickr

Let's face it. Most adults study porn — devotedly. Though sometimes we don't reach the end of a video lesson before dropping out.

Like everything else in the world, sex ed is evolving to fit the digital age. First there was the birds, bees, and bananas of sex education, then came the come-to-class-naked courses called Sexuality Education.

Now welcome porn education, with Routledge's Porn Studies — a scholarly journal exploring pornography and sexual representations through a deeper, um, lens.

Upskirt Photos and Revenge Porn Share Barely Legal Gray Area

The academic journal, first publicized in the summer of 2013, has delivered its first issue on the porn industry, straight from the hairy palm that feeds it: the internet.

"We believe it is the right time to launch this journal because the subject is so politically and emotionally charged. Pornography has a public presence as an object of concern and as a metaphor used to designate the boundaries of the public space," University of Sydney Professor Gerard Goggin said in a statement.

With articles like "Gonzo, trannys, and teens - current trends in US adult content production, distribution, and consumption," "Porn and sex education, porn as sex education" and "Fair-trade porn + niche markets + feminist audience" — which asks if feminist porn is an oxymoron — the journal scopes the industry, its methodologies, and its effects, by combining a cocktail of academic voices, in-depth research, and a forum for users to engage on topics and issues.

"My goal is not to get all people to like porn, but to understand that it is worthy of discussion," Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, author of "Gonzo, trannys, and teens…" told VICE News. "Porn is a part of society and involves social actors. These social actors work, have families, and myriad interests. Porn is just one part of their lives."

The journal's change in approach to an industry often addressed with heated emotion and right-wrong debate brings further academic insight into an arena that, according to a 2013 study by porn site Paint Bottle, consumes nearly 30 percent of all data transferred across the web.

From lewd pop-up ads and X-rated movie trailers, to mobile apps for porn on the run, it's becoming incredibly easy to consume visual sex. Yet porn has the rare distinction of being everywhere and nowhere at once.

Trying To Sell Safe Sex to the Developing World

Viewed mostly alone, behind closed doors, sometimes with embarrassment, in the privacy of the incognito browser on Google Chrome, it's one of the only industries where concerted efforts are made by the product, and its delivery vehicles, to keep its consumption unseen.

Porn Studies challenges the societal norm of porn-shame, but beyond that, it addresses the serious impacts and tactics of a major industry.

The journal's publishers state in "Porn Studies: an introduction" that they are not interested in work that is either antagonistic or celebratory."

"We do not simply want to reach those areas where porn studies are quite well established — for instance, in film and media studies —we also want to reach out to those where there is hardly any sustained publication of academic work — for instance, business, marketing, and human/computer interaction … By offering a space for researchers to develop conversations across different disciplines, the study of porn will move in new directions. This is how areas of study grow and develop over time."

Uganda's 'Miniskirt Ban' Is No Joke

An area of study ready for growth. Choice words.

Eva Margot Kant, who teaches Human Sexuality at the Columbia University School of Social Work, told VICE News that putting porn in a peer-reviewed academic journal gives it true significance.

"The more we can have discussions around sexuality without demonizing it or devaluing someone's experience, I think the better off we'll all be, whether we agree with it or not," she said. "But I think anything in this realm has to have guidelines, even in an academic setting. A porn journal, if it is information-based, and not done as a titillating sort of thing, then I think it's valuable."

The first issue of the journal is available to view free online until May 31. Following that, consumers can purchase online articles individually, or order a complete hard copy for $104.

Photo via Flickr

VICE News' Drennon Kimpton contributed to this report.