Sex, Commerce, Media and Technology in Contemporary Society

This research network draws together international experts in order to respond to the new visibility or ‘onscenity’ of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life. It responds to public concerns about a range of issues including the new accessibility of pornography, the mainstreaming and normalization of sexually explicit representation, the commercialization of sex, the role of the internet in circulating ‘extreme’ images, and the use of communication technologies, often by young people, for sexual purposes. It is supported by leading academics in the field and bringing together scholars from Europe, the US, Hong Kong and Australia at a series of workshops, seminars and symposia.

The aim of the network is to investigate the ways in which sex is increasingly intertwined with commerce, the media and new technology in our lives. We live in a changing landscape surrounded by media, where our use of technologies is changing the way we live and offering new opportunities and new risks. Sex is presented as central to our experiences of identity and relationships, and it is increasingly a part of the lifestyle and leisure practices of a consumer culture where many forms of commercial sex have experienced unprecedented and global growth. Media and communication technologies are widely used as information resources about sex, to access pornography and other sex-entertainment materials, and increasingly to fashion home made sexual representations and experience new types of sexual encounter in virtual environments.

The network will work towards developing new approaches to the relationships between sex, commerce, media and technology. Drawing on the work of leading scholars from around the world, it will map a transformed landscape of sexual practices and co-ordinate a new wave of research.