Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Gay pornography-Psychological aspects, Pornographic films-Psychological aspects, Heterosexual men-Psychology, Heterosexual men-Sexual behavior, Gender identity, Non-monogamous relationships, Masturbation, Anal sex, Strap-on sex, Pornography, Porn, Porn studies, Identity, Desire, Sexual orientation, Gay, Queer, Bisexual, Questioning, LGBT, LGBTQ, Straight, Queer theory, San Francisco, Polyamory, Non-monogamy, Cheating, Sexual behavior, Pegging


This exploratory study was conducted to determine what potential pornography might hold as a productive space for exploring desire and identity, in addition to influencing sexual behaviors or preferences outside of pornography use. Specifically, this research set out to understand how and why individuals may watch pornography that represents identities or acts that are not considered to be in alignment with their stated or felt sexual orientation. In-person semistructured interviews were conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area, with 11 straight- or formerly straight-identified men. From there, interview data was organized and coded with thematic analysis. Although the findings were not generalizable due to the small number of participants and limited racial diversity, some results indicate the need for future research. First, participants indicated that while use of gay porn had had made them think about their sexuality, it did not threaten an identification with straightness. Eight of the participants instead indicated that a primary motivation for watching was that gay porn and the sex acts portrayed therein seemed more authentic and less fake that straight porn. Additionally, interviewees found gay porn to be a site for learning about male sexuality and stereotypically gay sex acts such as anal penetration, which several had then practiced with female partners. Finally, 7 of 11 participants indicated that they felt identification with a non-monogamous lifestyle and/or childhood experiences had influenced both their interest in gay porn and their feelings about how use of gay porn impacted their own identities.




iii, 84 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 65-69)