Annotated bibliography on
women and pornograpy, page 2
by Gina Marchetti

from Jump Cut, no. 26, December 1981, pp.
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1981, 2005


Berkowitz, Stan. "Russ Meyer: Sex, Violence and Drugs — All in Good Fun." Film Comment, 9, No. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1973), pp. 46-51.

Corliss, Richard. "Radley Metzger: Aristocrat of the Erotic." Film Comment, 9, No. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1973), pp. 18-29.

Chambers, Marilyn. Marilyn Chambers — My Story. New York, 1975.

Lovelace, Linda (with Mike McGrady). Ordeal. New York: Citadel Press; Berkeley Books, 1980. Personal account of the humiliations Linda Lovelace suffered while she was a pornographic film star and prostitute.

Lowry, Ed. and Louis Black. "Russ Meyer," Film Comment, 16, No. 4 (July-Aug. l980), pp. 44-48.

Peary, Gerald. "Woman in Porn: How Young Roberta Findlay Grew Up and Made SNUFF." Take One, 6, No. 10 (Aug.-Sept 1978), 28-32. Interview with one of the few women porn directors. Findlay directed both SNUFF and ANGEL NUMBER NINE.

Peary, Dannis. "From Vixen to Vindication: Erica Gavin Interviewed." The Velvet Light Trap, No. 16 (Fall 1976), pp. 22-27. Interesting discussion of the making of VIXEN, Gavin's relationship with Russ Meyer, and of her subsequent difficulties finding work as an actress.

Turan, Kenneth and Zito, Stephen F. Sinena: American Pornographic Films and the People Who Make Them. New York: Praeger; Signet, 1974. Includes interviews with Russ Meyer, Radley Metzger, Marilyn Chambers, and Harry Reams among others.

Yakir, Dan and Davis, Bruce. "Beyond the Big Breast — Can Russ Meyer Keep It 'Up'." The Thousand Eyes Magazine, 2, No. 4 (Dec. 1976), pp. 67 ff.

Wells, John Warren. Different Strokes. New York, 1974. Personal account of the making of a porn film, which was never distributed because of new regulations.



Because the field of psychology since Freud has been particularly interested in the study of sexual psychopathology, it is not surprisipg that pornography has become a major area of psychoanalytic and other forms of psychological research.


The following are some preliminary readings which may prove useful for those unfamiliar with psychoanalysis.

Chodorow, Nancy. The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Beginning with the question of why women are the primary caretakers of children, Chodorow covers the entire area of family structure, sexual differentiation, and society's interest in both. Both using and critiquing Freud's approach to the psychology of gender differences, Chodorow's research is particularly useful in that it gets to the roots of men's fears and desires to dominate women — a combination of sexual desire and hatred which is keenly felt in pornography. Extremely well researched; particularly valuable for those well versed in psychoanalysis.

Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise. New York: Harper and Row; Colophon, 1976. Covers essentially the same ground as Chodorow's book; however, this is a bit less academic and may be easier reading for those unfamiliar with psychoanalysis.

Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. Standard Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1960. Freud's most thorough foray into the area of aesthetics/popular culture. This work is of particular importance to the student of pornography because of its provocative discussion of obscene humor (an important element in many forms of pornography) — smut. Freud examines both the social and psychological implications of this type of joking relationship, and pinpoints the links between this type of humor and sexual aggression.

Friday, Nancy. My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies. New York: Pocket Books, 1973. Survey of women's sexual fantasies based on interviews.

Friday, Nancy. Forbidden Flowers: More Women's Sexual Fantasies. New York: Pocket Books, 1978. Continuation of the above.

Hall, Calvin S. A Primer of Freudian Psychology. New York: World, 1954. Good starting point for those totally unfamiliar with psychoanalysis. Short — frequently sketchy — introduction to Freud's major ideas.

Henley, Nancy M. Body Politics: Power, Sex, and Nonverbal Communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1977. Although this book does not deal with either the graphic representation of sexuality or with the phenomenon of pornography, it is important to the study of both in that it examines the way in which the power relationships between men and women are played out in gesture, posture, facial expression, and body contact. Thus it is important for understanding how women play out their subordination in their movement and posture in pornographic films.

Irigaray, Luce. "Un Autre Art de Jouir." Les Femmes, la Pornographie, l'Erotisme. Eds. M.F. Hans and Lepouge. Paris: Seuil, 1978. One of the foremost French feminist psychoanalytic theorists discusses pornography and women's responses to it.

Kronhausen, Eberhard and Phyllis. Pornography and the Law: The Psychology of Erotic Realism and Pornography. New York: Ballantine, 1959. A rather eclectic discussion of pornography which includes a survey of erotic literature, a study of censorship laws, and an outline of themes common to pornographic literature. Argues that the "realistic" depiction of sexuality is psychologically healthy and should be encouraged rather than condemned. Bibliography.

Lederer, Wolfgang. The Fear of Women. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; Harvest, 1968. Useful discussion of the history of men's fear of women's sexuality and that sexuality's portrayal in myths and legends. Pinpoints many of the stereotypes and attitudes found in pornography today. Particularly useful for its discussion of men's fears as a source of women's oppression.

Lurie, Susan. "Pornography and the Dread of Women: The Male Sexual Dilemma." In Take Back the Night, op. cit. Clear psychoanalytic discussion of why men fear women and need to control female sexuality in order to fulfill their own sexual needs. Sheds valuable light on the reasons behind the way women are depicted in male fantasies.

Person, Ethel Spector. "Sexuality as the Mainstay of Identity: Psychoanalytic Perspectives." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 5, No. 4 (Summer 1980), pp. 605-630. Survey of various theories of sexual identity and sexual motivation, focusing primarily on psychoanalysis and object-relations theory. Contains a useful discussion of female sexuality and the dynamics of power in sexual functioning.

Stoller, Robert J. Sexual Excitement. Dynamics of Erotic Life. New York: Pantheon, 1979. Psychoanalytic study of the relation of sexual fantasy to sexual desire. Focuses on one woman's sexual fantasy and its analysis. Extensive bibliography.


Recently, a number of film scholars interested in psychoanalysis have turned to pornography as an object of study.

Ellis, John. "On Pornography." Screen, 21, No. 1 (Spring 1980), pp. 81-108. Attempts to define pornography according to the various political approaches one can take to the subject — feminist, liberal, conservative — and to transcend these perspectives by applying principles gleaned from psychoanalysis and film theory to pornography. Includes a lengthy discussion of fetishism and argues that pornography may be socially beneficial in that it shows women's sexual pleasure, thus serving to educate its viewers.

Giles, Dennis. "Angel on Fire: Three Texts of Desire." The Velvet Light Trap, No. 16 (Fall 1976), pp. 41-45. Orthodox Freudian approach to pornography as a fantasy symptomatic of deep-seated desires and dreads. Analysis of a specific film, ANGEL ON FIRE, includes an interesting discussion of the use of a female figure as the locus of the male fantasy.

Giles, Dennis. "Pornographic Space: The Other Place." The 1977 Film Studies Annual: Part II. Eds. Ben Lawton and Janet Staiger. Pleasantville, NY: Redgrave, 1977. Contains some of the same information as the above article. Veering away from orthodox Freudianism, Giles draws on the work of the French psychoanalytic theoretician, Jacques Lacan, in order to explore the importance of voyeurism to male sexuality. Also includes an informative discussion of why women are degraded sexually in pornography and its importance to male sexual fantasies.

Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Screen, 16, No. 3 (Autumn 1975), pp. 618. Anthologized in Women and the Cinema: A Critical Anthology. Ed. Karyn Kay and Gerald Peary. New York: E.P. Button, 1977. Although Mulvey does not discuss pornographic films, this essay is essential to the understanding of the importance of psychoanalysis to current feminist work on the representation of female sexuality on the screen and its relationship to male fantasy.

Pajaczkowska, Claire. "The Heterosexual Presumption: A Contribution to the Debate on Pornography." Screen, 22, No. 1 (1981), pp. 79-94. A response to both John Ellis' article on pornography (see above) and to his remarks at a conference on the issue of pornography. Critiques Ellis' psychoanalytic reading of pornography and suggests an alternative psychoanalytic model of pornographic fantasy. Pajaczkowska argues that the depiction of women in pornography is directly related to feelings of homosexual anxiety on the part of the viewer. Includes Ellis' reply.

Pajaczkowska, Claire. "Imagistic Representation and the Status of the Image in Pornography. Cine-Tracts, 3, No. 3 (Fall 1980), pp. 1323. Psychoanalytic study of the representation of female sexuality in pornography. Heavily influenced by Lacan and the French feminist psychoanalytic tradition.

Willeman, Paul. "Letter to John." Screen, 21, No. 2 (Summer 1980), pp. 53-66. Critique of John Ellis' essay on pornography. Argues against Ellis' positive assessment of pornography as the exploration of female desire. Includes an interesting discussion of voyeurism and the control of female sexuality in pornography. Includes Ellis' reply.


A massive mount of research has been conducted to determine the effects — beneficial or detrimental — of pornography on social behavior. Based on clinical observation, general surveys, statistical inferences, or controlled experiments in the laboratory, these studies usually come to one of three conclusions: l) Pornography is beneficial in that it serves a cathartic or educational function. 2) Pornography has no measurable effect on violent behavior or antisocial tendencies. 3) Pornography and violent behavior are directly linked. One can find statistics and experimental data to support any of the above positions. The following is just a minute sampling of some of the work in this area.

Cline, Victor B., ed. Where Do You Draw the Line?: An Exploration into Media Violence, Pornography, and Censorship. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1974. One can tell the orientation of this collection of essays from the place of publication — a condemnation of violence and sexuality in the media from the political Right.

Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. The Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. New York: Bantam, 1970. Massive governmental study of pornography. Finds no ill effects from exposure to pornography and recommends the relaxation of censorship legislation.

Eysenck, H.J. and Nias, D.K.B., Sex, Violence and the Media. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.

Feshbach, Seymour and Malamuth, Neal. "Sex and Aggression: Proving the Link." Psychology Today (Nov. 1978), pp. 111-117, 122. Clinical study argues that exposure to violent pornography may remove inhibitions against rape. Criticizes the increased cultural acceptance of the use of violent imagery for sexual arousal.

Goldstein, N.J. and Kant, H.S. Pornography and Sexual Deviance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.

Kant, Harold S. and Goldstein, Michael J. "Pornography." Psychology Today (Dec. 1970), pp. 5963, 76. Study shows pornography use highest among teenagers, with interest in pornography dropping off after adolescence. Typical of clinical surveys conducted by psychologists to determine the uses and effects of pornography. Links sexual crimes to ignorance of sexuality rather than to pornography.

Keating, Charles H., Jr. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography — Dissenting Report, Sept. 1970.

Kemp, Earl. ed. The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. San Diego, CA, 1970.

Edited version of the government report with illustrations of the type of material under investigation.

Rist, Ray C. The Pornography Controversy. Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press, 1975. Essays on a number of topics related to the study of pornography, representing various points of view.