The periodical put out a call for submissions last summer, soliciting papers from sociologists, criminologists, technologists and experts in cultural, media and gender studies for "the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic."
The debut issue includes articles like "Gonzo, trannys, and teens -- current trends in US adult content production, distribution, and consumption" and "Revisiting dirty looks."
Widespread high-speed Internet access has seen the proliferation of pornography become inescapable in recent years. Yet this is the first serious scholarly endeavor to engage porn from the perspective of media studies.
And even with so much porn everywhere and seemingly everyone watching it -- porn sites get more traffic than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, the Huffington Post reported -- many Americans still say watching pornography is wrong.
“This is a profoundly uncomfortable situation for a nation,” Alexis Madrigal pointed out in the Atlantic, calling porn “a national contradiction baked into the daily ablutions of hundreds of millions of people.”
Madrigal notes how pornography hovers at the edge of our national discourse yet remains a taboo topic, and welcomes the scholarly examination and discussion of how the widespread consumption of mediated forms of sex is affecting culture.
Researchers in the field are hopeful the journal will lead to a deeper popular understanding of our relationships with pornography.