A "Ph.D. in masturbation" has gotten a UK university lots of criticism. Karl Andersson detailed his controversial research in a recently published article.
Andersson revealed that, during the study, he masturbated to erotic Japanese comics called "shota." He would make notes afterward.
His thesis pointed out that the comics usually involve "young boy characters in a cute, or most often, sexually explicit way."
The visual anthropologist argued that the purpose of the study was to help explain how people "experience sexual pleasure when reading shota."
Initially, he did interviews and surveys, but this form of research did not go anywhere. At this point, he decided to take matters into his own hands and play a more active role in the study.
He decided to masturbate to the comics and make detailed notes about his experiences. Throughout the study, he also had a self-imposed ban on other forms of porn or sex with another person.
Andersson's article has been published in the Journal of Qualitative Research. The title read: "I am not alone - we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan."
The article says he started reading the comics while masturbating, just as his research participants told him they did.
He went on to explain that he had established a research method that involved masturbating to shota comics.
Andersson noted that his observations had allowed him to better understand his research topic. It also gave him a chance to think of loneliness and ways to deal with it as a driving force of the culture of self-published erotic comics.
The researcher also pointed out that he had just left a long-term relationship when he started the experiment. This, he admitted, contributed to his "eagerness" to conduct the unusual study.
He only masturbated to shota comics for three months using dojinshi and commercial volumes he had bought or gotten from people during his fieldwork in Japan.
Basically, he would masturbate as his research participants would be expected to. However, he would put down his thoughts and feelings after each session.
Some of the things he noted include the material he had used, where he had done his "experiment," and how long it had taken.
During the research, he was not allowed to have any other form of sexual relief. That meant he could not watch regular porn, have sex with another person, fantasize, or even have memories about different kinds of sex. It had to be about shota and nothing else.
Fortunately for him, he lived alone during the period of the study after having recently become single. He agrees that these factors clearly contributed to his decision to conduct this kind of research.
After the study was released, Andersson faced quite a bit of criticism. Some call his work a Ph.D. on "w**king," while others think the study he did is "hugely disturbing."
Since then, the Unversity of Manchester has claimed that it has started investigating the matter.
A spokesperson for the learning institution claimed that the research had raised "significant concerns and complaints," which the institution was not taking lightly.
The spokesperson assured the public that a detailed investigation was being done into all aspects of the research, the processes involved, and any concerns it had raised.
"It is very important that we look at the issues in-depth."
The university said it would not be making further comments on the issue since the investigation was still underway.