Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Ménage à moi – A study on the representation of masturbation on mainstream television and film
Rita Alcaire

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T11
Date: 2015-09-26 11:30 AM – 01:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


How is masturbation currently viewed and represented in mainstream film and television? And how do these representations relate to its historical, medical and religious heritage?

I examine attitudes towards masturbation in western culture, as reflected in film and television, including Portuguese productions, and try to understand how culture influenced the depiction of several sexual behaviours and how these behaviours are faced by society. The aim is to emphasize the contrast between religious, medical and social theories in general and the complexity of real life, the behaviour of ordinary people, which we don’t usually think about, tensions that are rarely analyzed by historians.

I argue that the negative attitudes toward masturbation that still exist, and that are visible in its representations in maisntream film and television, are equally shaped by both the anti-masturbation panic of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as by contemporary attitudes of this practice.