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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
Think back, for a moment, to the year 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Beatles released the “White Album.” North Vietnam launched the Tet offensive. And American women discovered the clitoris. O.K., that last one may be a bit of an overreach, but 1968 was when “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” a short essay by Anne Koedt, went that era’s version of viral. Jumping off of the Masters and Johnson bombshell that women who didn’t climax during intercourse could have multiple orgasms with a vibrator, Koedt called for replacing Freud’s fantasy of “mature” orgasm with women’s lived truth: It was all about the clitoris. That assertion single-handedly, as it were, made female self-love a political act, and claimed orgasm as a serious step to women’s overall emancipation. It also threatened many men, who feared obsolescence, or at the very least, loss of primacy. Norman Mailer, that famed phallocentrist, raged in his book “The Prisoner of Sex” against the emasculating “plenitude of orgasms” created by “that laboratory dildo, that vibrator!” (yet another reason, beyond the whole stabbing incident, to pity the man’s poor wives).
It’s no secret that men usually outnumber women in key leadership roles — and the gaming industry isn’t any different.
Adult-film actress Jessica Drake made it clear that she did not plan to use her appearance at a four-day porn industry convention here to discuss her alleged encounter with Donald Trump in 2006.
Formal sex education is in decline in the United States.
Articles Featuring Lynn Comella
Professor Lynn Comella on the adult store industry, a highly profitable segment of popular culture that scholars and policymakers know surprisingly little about.