Sex & Social Media

Project ID: 20285
Project title: Sex and Social Media

Dr Emily van der Nagel
School of Media, Film and Journalism, Faculty of Arts
Phone: +61 3 990 34398

You are invited to take part in this study. Please read this Explanatory Statement in full before deciding whether or not to participate in this research. If you would like further information regarding any aspect of this project, you are encouraged to contact the researcher via the phone number or email address listed above.

What does the research involve?

My name is Emily van der Nagel, and I am currently writing a book called Sex and Social Media for Emerald Publishing with Katrin Tiidenberg (Associate Professor of Social Media and Visual Culture at Tallinn University, Estonia). The book is part of Emerald’s Society Now series, which offers thoughtful, concise responses to major social and cultural trends of our time.

In the wake of Tumblr’s 2018 decision to ban all NSFW (Not Safe For Work, adult, or sexually explicit) content, and where dominating platforms like Facebook and Instagram delete a huge variety of images of naked bodies, while people use Tinder as well as Twitter for hookups and finding their kinks and communities, how exactly is sex restricted on social media, and where does it flourish?

In Sex and Social Media, Tiidenberg and I examine the anxieties around digitally mediated sex, including platform dynamics, social practices, and sexual identities.

Conducting online interviews with people about their personal experiences with sex and social media will mean adding important voices to the book, as the best people to tell us about this topic are those involved in all kinds of NSFW identities, practices, and communities.

As a participant, ensuring your comfort with the conversation is of paramount importance. Because people communicate in a variety of different ways over the internet, you are free to chat with me by voice or video chat on Skype, or text-based chat on Twitter DMs, WhatsApp, Telegram, Kik, or Facebook Messenger. You are welcome to either create your own anonymous profile to chat, or reach out through an established profile.

You’ll be asked to fill out a pre-interview survey with some demographic questions and to indicate which kinds of topics you’d like to talk about in your interview. These may include your personal experiences of using social media to share nude photos, host NSFW content, seek out people or groups with specific kinks or fetishes, or create a specific NSFW account – or something completely different!

We’ll then schedule an interview on a platform, and at a time, that suits you. Interviews will last approximately 30 minutes. No question is compulsory, and you are free to terminate the interview at any time. All interviews will be recorded, and the voice, video, or text transcriptions will be kept on Emily’s password protected staff computer at Monash University in a locked office.

Why were you chosen for this research?

You have been chosen for this research as you have a connection to the researcher through Twitter or Twitter retweets.

Consenting to participate in the project and withdrawing from the research

Consent for participation in this research involves filling out the Google Form and choosing an interview platform, date, and time that suits you. You can choose to terminate the interview at any time. Data from terminated interviews will not be used, and the interview data will be deleted.

Possible benefits and risks to participants

The benefits to participants include a chance to reflect on their experiences of sex and social media, and to have your own perspectives and practices included in research in this area. The community will benefit from having these responses written and published as scholarly research, as the project is designed to give an insight into the media practices of a small group of people.

The interview may include sensitive topics such as sex, sexualities, or sex work. There is a risk of you becoming uncomfortable discussing these topics.

Services on offer if adversely affected

If the interviews bring up any issues you’d like to discuss with a mental health professional, you can contact:

In Australia:
• beyondblue: Organisation with information and resources associated with depression and anxiety.; 1300 22 4636.
• Lifeline Australia: Free, confidential, 24-hour telephone counselling service.; 13 11 14.

• IMAlive is an instant messaging crisis centre:
• CheckPoint is an organisation focused on the gaming community, but offers links to mental health services around the world, including emergency numbers and websites:


Participants’ survey responses may be quoted in research outputs or news or blog articles. Participants are welcome to either provide a name or pseudonym to have their responses credited to, or to remain anonymous throughout the interview process. If a participant chooses to be named, they will be asked to sign an interview release form for Emerald Publishing so that their response may be published in the book.

Storage of data

Data will be stored on Emily’s password protected computer at Monash University in her locked office. It will only be accessed by Emily, although her co-author, Katrin Tiidenberg, will be provided with some interview results during the writing process. Data is to be deleted five years after it has been collected through the survey.

Use of data for other purposes

Data (interview transcripts) from this research project may be used in the book Sex and Social Media, as well as other academic publications, including books, book chapters, journal articles, or conference presentations, or other publications such as news articles or blog posts.


The results may be published in academic books, book chapters, journal articles, or conference presentations. In addition to these traditional academic outputs, Emily is also planning to include results of the survey in the publicly accessible form of one or more news or blog articles.


Should you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the project, you are welcome to contact the Executive Officer, Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC):

Executive Officer
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)
Room 111, Chancellery Building D,
26 Sports Walk, Clayton Campus
Research Office
Monash University VIC 3800 Tel: +61 3 9905 2052
Email: Fax: +61 3 9905 3831

Thank you for considering participating in this research project,

Dr Emily van der Nagel
Lecturer in Social Media
Communications and Media Studies
School of Media, Film and Journalism
Monash University

Begin pre-interview survey