‘I want that power back’: Discourses of masculinity within an online pornography abstinence forum

  • Kris Taylor, Sue Jackson
  • Sexualities, January 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1363460717740248

How men reject pornography while staying masculine and denying feminism

What is it about?

Research on pornography often speculates upon the impacts of pornography, frequently suggesting that such media causes harm to its users. However, such research is often inconclusive. In the current research, we set aside whether pornography causes harms, to instead look at the perceived harms some men presented in a pornography abstinence forum (NoFap). The findings suggest that these users frame pornography as dangerous because of its capacity to interfere with idealized masculine behaviors, most prominently seeking and achieving real sex.

Why is it important?

Firstly, this research offers a novel arena in which pornography research can be expanded, both with pornography viewers and abstainers, and online in open discussion forums. Secondly, our research also suggests that for some, the refusal of pornography via an addiction discourse co-opts, redistributes, and preserves normative (and perhaps outmoded) masculine conduct. Where pornography refusal could be seen as a site for possible shifts or challenges to in ideas around masculinity, sexuality, and pornography viewership, we instead found that these did not simply go unchallenged, but were instead reinforced.


Kris Taylor
University of Auckland

This article came out of some work I had done as a postgraduate researcher, and looking back on it now there a few elements that I would now do differently. However, as a piece of work I think that its novel approach and seemingly counter-intuitive findings offer some valuable food for thought and possible avenues for future inquiry and research.

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The following have contributed to this page: Kris Taylor