Lynn Comella

Associate Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Expertise: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Adult Entertainment Industry, Pornography, Popular Culture


Lynn Comella is an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies in the department of interdisciplinary, gender, and ethnic studies. An expert on the adult entertainment industry, her research explores a number of broad sociological themes, including the relationship between gender, sexual politics, and consumer culture.

Her work on the history of the women’s market for sex toys and pornography has been published in the International Journal of Communication, Porn Studies, Feminist Media Studies, The Feminist Porn Book, Sex for Sale, and New Sociologies of Sex Work, among other venues. She has also published more than 50 articles about sex and culture in local and national media outlets, including Bitch magazine and Pacific Standard.

She is the author of Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2017) and co-editor of New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law (Praeger, 2015). Comella was the recipient of the 2015 Nevada Regents’ Rising Researcher Award in recognition of early-career accomplishments and is a frequent media commentator.


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • M.A., Gender Studies and Feminist Theory, The New School for Social Research
  • B.A., Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University

Lynn Comella In The News

October 17, 2019
Her black hair falls on her face. A rose gold chain with a pendant rests on her denim dress. At first glance, the Instagram photo is nothing special. Indeed, nobody notices that this elegant pendant is a sex toy with a USB connection.
De Tijd
October 16, 2019
The newest sector that is upset by - especially female - designers and start-ups? Sex toys. These days they look like minimalist design objects.
September 4, 2019
The ubiquitous masturbation device marketed to men was ahead of its time—and became the bellwether for a more fluid, inclusive future.
July 22, 2019
Pornhub launched a "porn for women" category last year, but the adult content monolith certainly isn’t the first or only corporate entity to identify a demand for "female-friendly" porn. Platforms like Bellesa, ForHerTube, and are now more accessible than ever, and that’s mostly a good thing. Women deserve affirming adult content that centers women’s agency and portrays them as active, consenting players enjoying realistic sexual experiences.

Articles Featuring Lynn Comella

woman in front of chalkboard
ResearchSeptember 20, 2017
Professor Lynn Comella on the adult store industry, a highly profitable segment of popular culture that scholars and policymakers know surprisingly little about.
Business and CommunitySeptember 11, 2014
Professor Lynn Comella hits on the highlights of the city's brothel history — from the rise of Block 16 to the raid on Roxie's.