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Reading for realness: porn literacies, digital media, and young people

Reading for realness: porn literacies, digital media, and young people
Reading for realness: porn literacies, digital media, and young people
This paper adds to recent discussions of young people’s porn literacy and argues that researchers must address porn users’ engagements with, and understandings of, different porn genres and practices. As part of a larger interdisciplinary project which consisted of a series of systematic reviews of literature on the relationship between pornography use and healthy sexual development, we reviewed articles addressing the relationship between pornography use and literacy. We found few articles that present empirical data to discuss porn literacies, and those we found commonly frame young people’s porn literacy as their ability to critically read porn as negative and comprising ‘unrealistic’ portrayals of sex. This model of porn literacy tends to be heteronormative, where only conservative ideals of ‘good’, coupled, and vanilla sex are deemed ‘realistic’. Data from the literature we reviewed shows that young people make sophisticated distinctions between different kinds of pornography, some of which could be called ‘realistic’, as per DIY and amateur porn. We extend this discussion to young people’s understandings of ‘authenticity’ across their broader digital and social media practices. From this focus, we propose the need to incorporate young people’s existing porn literacies into future education and research approaches. This includes engaging with their understandings and experiences of porn genres, digital media practice, and representations of authenticity.
Pornography, digital culture, porn literacy, realism, sexuality, young people
1936-4822
Byron, Paul
bbf9e174-ad56-436a-aa7c-ba101981a43f
McKee, Alan
7600163f-b855-4e10-a85e-4b603b32d6a7
Watson, Ash
ff0f0c24-2dfe-4ec9-afaa-d090e38dce69
Litsou, Katerina
ec757999-5c4d-4dfa-a2b0-a51d83f0db97
Ingham, Roger
e3f11583-dc06-474f-9b36-4536dc3f7b99
Byron, Paul
bbf9e174-ad56-436a-aa7c-ba101981a43f
McKee, Alan
7600163f-b855-4e10-a85e-4b603b32d6a7
Watson, Ash
ff0f0c24-2dfe-4ec9-afaa-d090e38dce69
Litsou, Katerina
ec757999-5c4d-4dfa-a2b0-a51d83f0db97
Ingham, Roger
e3f11583-dc06-474f-9b36-4536dc3f7b99

Byron, Paul, McKee, Alan, Watson, Ash, Litsou, Katerina and Ingham, Roger (2020) Reading for realness: porn literacies, digital media, and young people. Sexuality & Culture. (doi:10.1007/s12119-020-09794-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper adds to recent discussions of young people’s porn literacy and argues that researchers must address porn users’ engagements with, and understandings of, different porn genres and practices. As part of a larger interdisciplinary project which consisted of a series of systematic reviews of literature on the relationship between pornography use and healthy sexual development, we reviewed articles addressing the relationship between pornography use and literacy. We found few articles that present empirical data to discuss porn literacies, and those we found commonly frame young people’s porn literacy as their ability to critically read porn as negative and comprising ‘unrealistic’ portrayals of sex. This model of porn literacy tends to be heteronormative, where only conservative ideals of ‘good’, coupled, and vanilla sex are deemed ‘realistic’. Data from the literature we reviewed shows that young people make sophisticated distinctions between different kinds of pornography, some of which could be called ‘realistic’, as per DIY and amateur porn. We extend this discussion to young people’s understandings of ‘authenticity’ across their broader digital and social media practices. From this focus, we propose the need to incorporate young people’s existing porn literacies into future education and research approaches. This includes engaging with their understandings and experiences of porn genres, digital media practice, and representations of authenticity.

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Accepted/In Press date: 4 November 2020
Published date: 8 December 2020
Keywords: Pornography, digital culture, porn literacy, realism, sexuality, young people

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445462
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445462
ISSN: 1936-4822
PURE UUID: e5160ea0-6360-4881-be5f-277f26789d08
ORCID for Katerina Litsou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1632-8946

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Date deposited: 10 Dec 2020 17:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:24

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Contributors

Author: Paul Byron
Author: Alan McKee
Author: Ash Watson
Author: Katerina Litsou ORCID iD
Author: Roger Ingham

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