In this article, we explore young New Zealanders’ use of sexual scripts in talk about Internet pornography (IP) to perform ‘smart’ sexual selves. Using sexual scripting theory, as developed by feminist discursive psychologists, our analysis of interview data generated with 10 youth (aged 16–18 years) highlights two commonly constructed sexual identities across youth talk; (i) the proficient Internet pornography user, and (ii) the astute Internet pornography viewer. The way these young people talk about portrayals of sexuality and gender in IP – and their ability to discern its artifice – suggests they are savvy consumers who are capable of using IP as a cultural resource (e.g. for learning, entertainment) while at the same time acknowledging it as a flawed representation of sex and sexuality. We discuss the implications of our findings for strengths-based sexuality education that supports sexual agency, proposing a justice-orientated approach grounded in the notion of ethical sexual citizenship.
CAUL read and publish agreement 2023