Publication details

How much screaming is an orgasm : the problem with coding female climax



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Porn Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Female orgasm; sexual agency; sexual objectification; content analysis; authenticity
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Description 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.
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