Project

How much screaming is an orgasm? Reviewing methodologies for content coding of pornography

Goal: Building on the feminist “sex wars” debate, content studies of pornography interpret orgasms in pornography to argue for sexual objectification, sexual agency, and unequal power distribution among men and women in porn. While male orgasms are easily coded because of the visible male ejaculation, female orgasms pose a particularly tricky obstacle due to their ‘invisibility’ and possible inauthenticity. This project aims to map the ways in which female orgasms were coded and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches.

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16

Project log

Michaela Lebedíková
added a research item
Building on the feminist ‘sex wars’ debate, content studies of pornography interpret orgasms in pornography to argue for sexual objectification, sexual agency, and unequal power distribution among men and women in porn. While male orgasms are easily coded, female orgasms pose a particularly tricky obstacle due to their ‘invisibility’. I investigated peer-reviewed studies of the content of pornography published in the last 20 years to explore the different coding practices of female orgasms. I assessed the different approaches to measurement, authenticity, and theoretical assumptions connected to the number of orgasms. The analysis shows that methodologies are not always transparent and that researchers do not acknowledge the possible effects of methodologies on their results. This is especially alarming when taking into consideration that most of the studies argue with orgasms for inequality of men and women in pornography. Based on the analysis I offer a ‘best practice’ approach to coding orgasms.
Michaela Lebedíková
added a project goal
Building on the feminist “sex wars” debate, content studies of pornography interpret orgasms in pornography to argue for sexual objectification, sexual agency, and unequal power distribution among men and women in porn. While male orgasms are easily coded because of the visible male ejaculation, female orgasms pose a particularly tricky obstacle due to their ‘invisibility’ and possible inauthenticity. This project aims to map the ways in which female orgasms were coded and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches.