Fueling the Lamps of Sexual Imagination
This chapter discusses the recent discourse surrounding sex work and pornography that uncannily recalls the rhetoric of the Victorian age. Current bad-faith efforts to combat “sex trafficking” and regulate pornographic access and content signals a return to the sex panic of the nineteenth century. Porn studies as a pedagogical movement is vital in turning the tide toward a more informed and helpful understanding of sex work and sexual representation. Ironically, much of what pornography has to say about the Victorian era applies to the present day, an echo that pornographers are all too aware of. The chapter advocates for further developments in porn studies, greater attention to meaningful engagement with porn as a media product and sphere of labor, and porn literacy as a standard component of education.
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