THERE IS NO PORNOGRAPHY IN HOSPITALS: THE HOSPITAL AS A DESEXUALIZING SPACE

While visiting a hospital for a routine blood test, in the midst of a seminar dealing with Porn Studies, I began to wonder about how inpatients could live out their sexualities. I pulled out my phone and quickly found that all websites labeled ‘Pornography’ are blocked on the hospital WiFi, thus implicitly disallowing certain forms of sexual behaviour in patients. In response to this censorship, this article theorizes the institutional barriers and ideological attitudes which deny access to online pornography within a major research hospital in a large Canadian urban centre, and I explore some ways in which patients may get around the desexualizing barriers baked into the public WiFi network. Research shows that in clinical contexts, pornography consumption is restricted to sanctioned medical uses such as research or sexual rehabilitation programs. By thinking with Michel Foucault’s Surveiller et Punir and drawing on scholarship from sexuality, disability, and media studies, I will outline the ways in which the hospital functions as a disciplinary space in the context of internet usage, frames its policies as being in the best interest of patient health, and makes a moral judgement about pornography and the sexuality of patients.

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