Investigating mediated sex and young peoples' health and wellbeing


  • Prof Clarissa Smith

    University of Sunderland

Project summary

Pornography is increasingly prominent in discussions of sexual health. It is often portrayed as a public health issue as it can be addictive, and it can be a factor in erectile dysfunction, loss of sexual desire, changes to brain functioning as well as worries about wellbeing and ‘healthy’ relationships. Sex and relationship education will be compulsory in the UK from 2019 and pornography will be covered, but it is not clear how.

This collaboration will examine the evidence base on mediated sexuality, enabling better understanding of interventions that will be most useful to young people. We will review the disjuncture between dominant ideas of pornography and the evidence about pornography, health and sexuality emerging from critical forms of humanities and social sciences. We will also investigate how media may be used in sex education and sexual health interventions.

Our findings will contribute to networking and scoping activities which will lead to a larger funding application to develop effective educational resources regarding pornography.