The Pornographic Paratexts of Pornhub

Rebecca Inez Saunders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


“The Pornographic Paratexts of Pornhub” analyses the evolving paratextual elements of the popular porn site Pornhub and considers how its evolving virtual frames interact with the visual texts it displays—online porn films. Engaging with Gérard Genette's Paratexts, some fundamental aspects of this late-twentieth-century paratextual theory are reconceptualised in this contemporary, sexually explicit digital environment. Pornhub is considered in relation to its maturing paratextual elements. Despite the virtual amorphousness and (para)textual porousness of the digital environment—the relevant relationships between text, epitext, peritext and intertext, though clearly delineated with regard to the printed book, become more blurred in a virtual space of infinite, hyperlinked pages—Pornhub has developed numerous tangible frames and stable paratextual features since its emergence in 2007. Given the rigid political, judicial and media conception of what online porn films constitute, it is important to consider the possibility that monolithically negative definitions of filmic pornography may derive not from the hardcore content itself, but from the way in which the films are framed online. How, then, do the paratexts of Pornhub interact with and affect users' reading of the films displayed? In this chapter, individual films from the site are descriptively analysed in relation both to how these visual pornographic texts are influenced by their paratext and how paratextual theory is complicated and renewed through this application.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExamining Paratextual Theory and its Applications in Digital Culture
EditorsNadine Desrochers, Daniel Apollon
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781466660038
ISBN (Print)9781466660021, 1466660023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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