Strategies for neutralising sexually explicit language

Professor George Weir

While scales for the 'strength' of pornographic images have been developed and used in research and for judicial purposes, the potential emotive impact of text‐based pornography has received little attention. In this research we describe our approach to characterising dimensions of sexually explicit language and outline their use in strategies for neutralising such language. Our primary application of this work is contexts where we may wish to affect the content to which a student, trainee or other professional may be exposed. By controlling the quantity and degree of such content, we aim to minimise any detrimental effects (observer impact) that such content may have on ill‐prepared individuals. A corollary of this approach is that we are able to provide a variety of measures for gauging the sexual explicitness of a text. In turn, this may prove effective as a basis for classifying highly sexualised text such as the content of on-line grooming.

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