Student’s research into how he masturbated with young boys in erotic comics comes under fire – Reuters

Top UK university investigates PhD student’s article about his use of ‘shota’ manga

A student at a top UK university has published a research paper in which he details his experience of masturbating to a type of Japanese erotic manga that sexualizes underage boys. The university and the peer-reviewed journal that published the study are investigating the matter following an online backlash.

The University of Manchester and the journal Qualitative Research are investigating the publication of a work by doctoral student Karl Andersson, entitled “I am not alone – we are all alone: ​​using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on the shota subculture in Japan.”

Andersson claimed to have researched the “shota” manga to explore “if or how sexual desire for fictional boys is related to sexual attraction for real children” – a question, according to him, that aficionados of such content sometimes express.

His method was to masturbate to such examples and record his sessions over three months, according to the newspaper. Andersson said he did not have sex with other people during his research and did not consume other types of pornography. He noted that living alone was beneficial for the project.

In the conclusion, Andersson expressed his appreciation for his search tool. He said he was wondering “if all sex is masturbation” in the sense that participants are focused on their own enjoyment, and suggested that self-gratification connects people to authors and other consumers of explicit content, making the act a “activity during which we are the least alone.”

The 4,000-word article was published in late April, but came to public attention this week, when some readers, academics and politicians voiced their disapproval.

Conservative MP Neil O’Brien demand Why “hard-working taxpayers” in his constituency of Harborough should pay for such research. “The non-STEM side of higher education is simply far too big, producing too many things that are not socially useful,” he added.

According to Anderson’s article, he received no financial support to publish it. But his profile on the university’s webpage says his doctoral research is funded by its School of Arts, Languages ​​and Cultures.

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Andersson, who announced he was enrolling as a PhD student at the University of Manchester in September 2021, has a background as a provocative artist in his home country of Sweden. Early in his career, he published a magazine called Destroyer, which featured nude photos of pubescent boys and was aimed at a male audience, according to a 2012 interview he gave to Vice News.

He said he started the project “Out of frustration with the current politics of the gay movement, which is increasingly becoming non-inclusive of less flattering expressions of homosexuality, notably male attraction to boys.”

Andersson was involved in similarly themed posts after Destroyer was dropped by Swedish bookstores, prompting Vice News to say he was “Like the Larry Flynt of sexualizing children, which is absolutely not a good thing.”

Following the outcry over the doctoral research paper, the university announced that it was “undertake a detailed investigation of all aspects” of Andersson’s work and declined to comment further. Qualitative research said it would be “carefully review all guidelines from the publication’s ethics committee and ensure that all actions taken are in accordance with COPE standards.”

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