Navigating sexual honesty: a qualitative study of the meaning-making of pornography consumption among gay-identifying Malaysian men

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Malaysian laws prohibit the personal and public production, dissemination and storage of written, pictorial and digital representations which are deemed indecent and obscene, including pornography. In a country where sexuality remains a largely taboo subject, and where any sexual identities, behaviours and acts that fall outside of heteronormative socio-cultural and religio-political realms are hastily upbraided, prohibitions of pornography share similar spaces with the criminalization of non-heteronormative sexual expressions. Such approaches occlude insights that may be gleaned from the meaning-making of gay-themed pornographic material by gay-identifying Malaysian men. Drawing on a larger socio-theological qualitative project involving interviews with 30 non-heteronormative Malaysian men, I examine the narratives of two gay-identifying men. By analyzing, interpreting and theorizing their lived realities through a constructivist grounded theory methodology, aided by an analytical framework consisting of queer theoretical ideas and further fortified by pornography and sexuality studies, I demonstrate how pornography consumption is understood by gay-identifying men as: a means to perform and make sense of sexuality; a self-validated avenue of pleasure; and a site of interior struggle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-462
Number of pages16
JournalPorn Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Constructivist grounded theory methodology
  • gay
  • Malaysia
  • pornography
  • queer

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