Keynote: Susanna Paasonen – re-interpreting critiques of online porn

Susanna Paasonen, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Turku, Finland

Much is lost between the translation of real porn activity, which is located in a range of sensual modalities (touch, taste, smell, etc.) and reduced to one: the visual. Susanna is interested in how porn works and how it produces its effects in the end-user.

A key way in which porn works is through creating bodily resonance between the viewer and the actor. It relates to moments when an individual is moved, touched, affected when moved by images resonating at the right frequency: a bond is formed before conscious processing happens.

Negative resonance or dissonance occurs when something unpleasant is viewed – such as in “Two girls, one cup”.

No two experiences are ever the same. In porn, the effect on men is mediated through cognition of elements such as movement, and rhythm. The body constantly learns: so the experience of porn shapes the ways in which the body responds to porn.

Experience shifts between detachment and resonance – so identification between viewer and porn actor is never constant.

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