What is "Women on Porn?"

Women on porn is the largest ever study solely focused on the range of women's experiences and views of pornography in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to enter the notoriously divisive pornography debates, and bring in an empirically informed philosophical perspective. The need for a new perspective is timely, both with the lack of new questions in the academy and the desire for easy answers underpinning recent changes in regulation. It is here that a philosophical framework offers particular possibilities for mobilising what Lois McNay terms a "reworked phenomenology." Applying an existential-phenomenological approach enables us to ask questions beyond cause and effect, turning instead to a study of embodiment and the lived experience of pornography. It is in the possibilities such a framing offers to understanding the complex ways women make sense of, respond to and negotiate pornography in relation to their situation, and their freedom, that the research has the potential to mark a significant leap forward in how pornography is conceptualised. 

The project began in October 2016 with an online survey that was live for three months and received over 2,000 responses from women across the UK. After cleaning the data it looks like we have around 1,680 responses to analyse. Analysis of the survey has begun, and publication is intended for the end of 2017. The updates section of this site will start to give emerging findings from the second half of 2017.

The survey was supported by in-depth research conversations with 100 women. Some of these women did complete the survey but some had not. The conversations explored a range of topics, from women's experiences of pornography, to their experiences of masturbation, ideas about sexual freedom and sexual pleasure, and how experiences of pornography and sexuality are racialised. They were informed by an understanding of the need for space: space for women to express and explore what they think, feel, and believe, in relation to their lived experiences. A space without judgement, obligation or expectation. A space to be.

These conversations finished on the 30th of June, 2017 and some initial analysis will be available early 2018. All findings will be made available through this website to ensure that the conversation builds in a public, open way, rather than in spaces where access is restricted.