At Home with Pornography: Women, Sexuality, and Everyday Life

Overview

Twenty-five years after the start of the feminist sex wars, pornography remains a flashpoint issue, with feminists locked in a familiar argument: Are women victims or agents? In At Home with Pornography, Jane Juffer exposes the fruitlessness of this debate and suggests that it has prevented us from realizing women's changing relationship to erotica and porn.

Over the course of these same twenty-five years, there has been a proliferation of sexually explicit materials geared ...

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At Home with Pornography: Women, Sexuality, and Everyday Life

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Overview

Twenty-five years after the start of the feminist sex wars, pornography remains a flashpoint issue, with feminists locked in a familiar argument: Are women victims or agents? In At Home with Pornography, Jane Juffer exposes the fruitlessness of this debate and suggests that it has prevented us from realizing women's changing relationship to erotica and porn.

Over the course of these same twenty-five years, there has been a proliferation of sexually explicit materials geared toward women, made available in increasingly mainstream venues. In asking "what is the relationship of women to pornography?" Juffer maintains that we need to stop obsessing over pornography's transgressive aspects, and start focusing on the place of porn and erotica in women's everyday lives. Where, she asks, do women routinely find it, for how much, and how is it circulated and consumed within the home? How is this circulation and consumption shaped by the different marketing categories that attempt to distinguish erotica from porn, such as women's literary erotica and sexual self-help videos for couples?

At Home with Pornography responds to these questions by viewing women's erotica within the context of governmental regulation that attempts to counterpose a "dangerous" pornography with the sanctity of the home. Juffer explorers how women's consumption of erotica and porn for their own pleasure can be empowering, while still acting to reinforce conservative ideals. She shows how, for instance, the Victoria's Secret catalog is able to function as a kind of pornography whose circulation is facilitated both by its reliance on Victorian themes of secrecy and privacy and on its appeals to the selfish pleasures of modern career women. In her pursuit to understand what women like and how they get it, Juffer delves into adult cable channels, erotic literary anthologies, sex therapy guides, cyberporn, masturbation, and sex toys, showing the varying degrees to which these materials have been domesticated for home consumption.

Representing the next generation of scholarship on pornography, At Home with Pornography will transform our understanding of women's everyday sexuality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Juffer discusses how in recent years women have been more active in producing erotica for their own enjoyment and shows how this has affected the nature of erotica itself. She chronicles the rise of literary porn written by women for women, showing how books like Nancy Friday's collections of female fantasies helped pave the way . . . Juffer . . . is a sharp observer of the media."

-Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Illuminates the complex politics of sex in women's everyday lives. At Home with Pornography is an important contribution to a new model of cultural studies and an exciting and valuable addition to contemporary struggles over sexual politics."

-Lawrence Grossberg

Booknews
Juffer (women's studies and English, U. of Illinois-Urbana- Champaign) takes a position not of liberation or transgression, but of domestication. She explores how women are bringing sex under their control for their own pleasure in everyday life through such means as women's literary erotica, masturbation discourse, adult cable programming, couples' video porn, cybersex, sex toys for women, lingerie catalogs, and sexual self-help books. Sorry guys, not illustrated. Paper edition (4237-8), $17.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742365
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Juffer is an associate professor of English and women's studies at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of At Home with Pornography: Women, Sex, and Everyday Life (also available from NYU Press).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: From the Profane to the Mundane 1
1 Home Sweet Pornographic Home? Governmental Discourse and Women's Paths to Pornography 32
2 The Mainstreaming of Masturbation? Making Domestic Space for Women's Orgasms 69
3 Aesthetics and Access 104
4 The New Victorians: Lingerie in the Private Sphere 145
5 Behind and Beyond the Bedroom Doors: From John Gray to Candida Royalle 167
6 Eroticizing the Television 200
Conclusion: Revisiting Transgression 233
Notes 239
Works Cited 253
Index 265
About the Author 273
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