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Source: (consider it) Thread: Erotica versus Pornography
Huia
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The thread about "shades of Grey" raised this question in my mind - what is the difference between erotica and pornography? Is there a difference?

Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it? Or is it just "we enjoy erotica, s/he is addicted to porn"?

I would be interested in other people's views. I'm coming at this without a definite viewpoint myself, except that exploitation of vulnerable people is never acceptable.

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Stetson
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quote:
Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it?
If that were the case, then only photographic material(eg. films and magazines) would qualify as pornography. Because real-life people usually aren't being exploited in the production of comic books, animation, stories, etc.

But I think most people who make the porn/erotica distinction WOULD want to classify, say, Penthouse Letters as pornography.

quote:
Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it? Or is it just "we enjoy erotica, s/he is addicted to porn"?

I think this is basically it. Most attempts to draw a distinction seem to come down to tautologies, in which the person starts off saying that pornography is "exploitative", and then, when asked for clarification, throws up another word that is just a synonym for expolitative(eg. "degrading"). Of course, it's not always in that particular order(somtimes "degrading" is the first word offered), but that's the general gist of it.

Having said that, most of the stuff that gets classified as "pornography" is stuff which, I will admit, I probably wouldn't be thrilled about having a female relative involved in. This distinction is probably rooted in partiarchy, because I don't think it would bother me as much if a male were involved.

I'm out of time at this public computer. Interesting topic.

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it?
If that were the case, then only photographic material(eg. films and magazines) would qualify as pornography. Because real-life people usually aren't being exploited in the production of comic books, animation, stories, etc.
I also don't think exploitation is the right way to draw the line, because you can have exploitation of people involved in (for example) producing the printed materials at a printing press in a developing nation, so you then have to draw a line between different forms of exploitation. Those involved in the 'feminist porn' sector of the industry would also argue that involvement in porn is not necessarily exploitative, and that 'good porn' is possible.

I also don't think it's right to simply say that everything using this medium is porn, everything using that medium is erotica. The example above of Penthouse Letters is good proof of that, and I would add stuff like 50 Shades Of Grey to that category as well because the only difference is who it's aimed at and what tactics are used to turn them on. I think there is only one real difference between pornographic literature* aimed at giving men mental pictures and that aimed at giving women fantasies - mental pictures get enjoyed while fantasies get acted out.


In the end, my opinion is in line with the one Huia wrote about - porn and erotica are exactly the same thing, with erotica just being a different label that a person can apply to porn they consider 'good' - i.e. I get turned on by good erotica, you get turned on by dirty porn. This is the way the 'feminist porn' sector of the industry works, by claiming their 'erotica' is good because it's not patriarchal porn. In my opinion that's just an insidious marketing tactic designed to get people who object to 'traditional' porn hooked another way.


* 'literature' is used loosely of course, we are of course talking about porn based on fan fiction derived from some of the worst-written books in history.

[ 08. July 2012, 08:43: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]

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Doublethink.
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For legislative purposes, I would want to make the distinction about medium. Anything some one has to do in order to be photographed or filmed, is qualitatively different in terms of its impact for those producing it - than something that is written.

The erotica / porn distinction is probably a matter of taste - but it is a convenient short hand for the written/drawn versus photo/film distinction.

Thought experiment, is it acceptable to *write* material intended to be arousing about sex with underage children ? And/or produce non-photographic images of the same (e.g. drawings or digital images). If not (my opinion) why not ? And can this thought experiment tell us anything about how can we derive reasonable rules for the acceptable parameters of erotica and/or porn ?

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
In the end, my opinion is in line with the one Huia wrote about - porn and erotica are exactly the same thing, with erotica just being a different label that a person can apply to porn they consider 'good' - i.e. I get turned on by good erotica, you get turned on by dirty porn.

I disagree. In the Bible, the Song of Songs is very erotic, but not at all pornographic.

Moo

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Trudy Scrumptious

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But the Song of Songs, while it may be justifiably considered erotic by some, surely would not be classified as erotica in any modern sense. All the allusions to sex are couched in metaphor; there's not an explicit or graphic sexual image in the whole thing, and no genitals are named. "Breasts" are mentioned by name but only a general sense, there's nothing even as explicit as "Let me fondle your breasts, my beloved" which would simply be mainstream fiction today, not erotica at all.

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
"Breasts" are mentioned by name but only a general sense, there's nothing even as explicit as "Let me fondle your breasts, my beloved" which would simply be mainstream fiction today, not erotica at all.

quote:
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”

Song of Songs 7:7-8 NIV

Sounds explicitly like, "I will fondle your breasts" to me.

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Trudy Scrumptious

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No, it isn't. Saying "your breast are like clusters of fruit; I will climb the tree and take hold of the fruit" is using a SIMILE. Saying "I reached over and grabbed her breasts" is explicit (though only very mildly so, by contemporary fiction standards).

That's the exact point I was saying; references to sexual activity in the Song are always couched in figurative language, whereas I think to qualify as erotica at least to the modern reader, while there may be figurative language used, there would also need to be many direct, explicit statements of body parts touching other body parts.

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
No, it isn't. Saying "your breast are like clusters of fruit; I will climb the tree and take hold of the fruit" is using a SIMILE. Saying "I reached over and grabbed her breasts" is explicit (though only very mildly so, by contemporary fiction standards).

That's the exact point I was saying; references to sexual activity in the Song are always couched in figurative language, whereas I think to qualify as erotica at least to the modern reader, while there may be figurative language used, there would also need to be many direct, explicit statements of body parts touching other body parts.

But what if I write a poem about sex, all in similies, but the purpose of which is to arouse the reader sexually? And let's further assume that my poem is succesful in that regard, at least for some of my readers.

Is there another literary category besides "erotica" into which such a piece of writing could be classified?

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Fool on the hill
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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:


Thought experiment, is it acceptable to *write* material intended to be arousing about sex with underage children ? And/or produce non-photographic images of the same (e.g. drawings or digital images). If not (my opinion) why not ? And can this thought experiment tell us anything about how can we derive reasonable rules for the acceptable parameters of erotica and/or porn ?

No, I don't think so. Porn, written, drawn, photographed or videotaped is definitely meant to arouse. I do think that one of the reasons 50 shades is so successful is that it has given women ideas and some people's sex lives are changing in response. Apparently, sex toys are on the rise since the book has hit the best sellers list. And that's ok, because the sex portrayed in a positive light in the book is perfectly acceptable.

If sex with underage children is portrayed in a positive titillating light, that's wrong because it could definitely arouse someone to go and seek it out.

However, I have read lots of books that also graphically describe crimes, and some of a sexual nature, Lovely Bones, comes to mind and they are not meant to titillate but to horrify. I guess, though, that section of the book (I think it was graphic in the book, it's been several years) could be read by a child molester and it could serve to arouse. But I guess there is no way to really prevent that, other than book banning and that's just not ok.

And to add that I don' think the porn industry is a very bad thing, because most people are not coerced into doing porn. One of the fastest growing porn genres is amateur porn. Some people may be coerced of course, or exploited but you would have to judge that on an individual basis.

My son (18), thinks it's hilarious that the books are such a hit. He said that men watch porn and now he realizes that women read their porn. He also literally fell to his knees when I told him that Scarlet Johansen might play the lead female in the movie. haha. Men are said to be visual and women tend to be more verbal or internal in what they find arousing.

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it? Or is it just "we enjoy erotica, s/he is addicted to porn"?

Neither.

To tackle the second point first, there has to be an objective definition. It isn't porn if I enjoy it isn't objective enough.

But exploitation isn't the key either. Amateur porn, where a couple film their foreplay and lovemaking and release it on to the internet, wouldn't be porn if that were the case.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:

Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it? Or is it just "we enjoy erotica, s/he is addicted to porn"?

Would it be right to say erotica is mostly read by women, whereas porn normally viewed by men ?
If the former should have positive effect on female sexuality it's generally viewed as a good thing . If the later has a positive effect on male sexuality it's often viewed with suspicion.

Therefore is it that erotica, by definition, is associated with the greater good ,(healthy relationships etc.), as opposed to porn which is often, (possibly wrongly), associated with men and sex crimes ?

Exploitation is an issue with porn production . But done legitimately it is merely a money-making exercise as is producing erotica . It's just that one involves taking your clothes off and the other doesn't.

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Fool on the hill
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Tbh, I always referred to written porn as erotica and films and pictures as porn. I didn't place any judgement on either.

According to wikipedia, (i know, haha) Erotica, is porn with a higher art aspiration and porn is meant for a quick titillation.

So, porn is a quickie.

Art is always a subjective thing. So what is porn and what is erotica can't be objectively defined.

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lilBuddha
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Tricky thing, exploitation. While wrtitten/drawn works might not directly exploit people, the thoughts/attitudes/etc., can indeed promote exploitation. Especially as in Think's example.
Another issue with erotic fantasy is one I mentioned on the 50 shades thread: unrealistic expectations. There are researchers who suggest romance films and literature harm real relationships. Erotic fantasy would fall into this as well.
I've not a hard and fast definition of porn vs erotica, but would currently lean towards no substantive difference. Their goal is the same, some being more direct.

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Fool on the hill
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Another issue with erotic fantasy is one I mentioned on the 50 shades thread: unrealistic expectations. There are researchers who suggest romance films and literature harm real relationships. Erotic fantasy would fall into this as well.

Yea, 50 shades was hilarious in that every orgasm was mind blowing and she could have like 8 a day. However, it's only harmful if you already live in a bubble.
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Maybe they are simply different words for the same thing. Both are designed to create sexual feeling. Thus, porn is to erotica as screwing is to making love?

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Keromaru
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I've always thought of it this way:

Porn is all about titillation, start to finish. There is no point other than sex, no other meaning or significance besides sex.

So if, in porn, sex is an end in itself, Erotica treats sex as a means to an end, to develop characters, advance a story, express a deeper theme, or otherwise make some effort at artistry.

And whether these definitions have anything to do with reality is another question.

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Stetson
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quote:
So if, in porn, sex is an end in itself, Erotica treats sex as a means to an end, to develop characters, advance a story, express a deeper theme, or otherwise make some effort at artistry.


Ah, but it's that "otherwise make some effort at aritstry" at the end which trips you up, I think.

Because who is to say that a pure and simple attempt at sexual arousal can't be artistic?

We would probably consider, say, a talented slapstick comedian to be an artist, even if his only purpose is to elicit an apolitical, socially irrelevant laugh from his audience. Ha ha ha, look, he stepped on a rake!

So, what about a talented writer of dirty stories for top-shelf mags, whose only point is to elicit sexual arousal from his readers? Why does that have to be a priori any less artistic than what the pie-in-the-face man is doing?

I read somewhere that when Kenneth Tynan(whose argument I've shamelessly cribbed here) commissioned Oh Calcutta!, he deliberately instructed his writing team(made up mostly of well-known creative types) to make it entirely without any redeeming value besides the appeal to titillation, in order to challenge the very parameters that you reference in your defintion. having seen the play, I can't say to what extent it succeeds in its endeavour.

[ 08. July 2012, 17:53: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Stetson
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quote:
having seen the play, I can't say to what extent it succeeds in its endeavour.


Blah. That should read "Not having seen the play..."

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Fool on the hill
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I saw Oh Calcutta! Years ago....wow

I thought it was artistic from what I remember. They didn't just stand around or stand and gyrate. I remember dancing. It was about 25 years ago. I was 19, on a date and I loved it.

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Cedd
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Isn't erotica an artful portrayal of sex, whereas porn is simply sex without the art?

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Fool on the hill:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:


Thought experiment, is it acceptable to *write* material intended to be arousing about sex with underage children ? And/or produce non-photographic images of the same (e.g. drawings or digital images). If not (my opinion) why not ? And can this thought experiment tell us anything about how can we derive reasonable rules for the acceptable parameters of erotica and/or porn ?

No, I don't think so. Porn, written, drawn, photographed or videotaped is definitely meant to arouse. I do think that one of the reasons 50 shades is so successful is that it has given women ideas and some people's sex lives are changing in response. Apparently, sex toys are on the rise since the book has hit the best sellers list. And that's ok, because the sex portrayed in a positive light in the book is perfectly acceptable.

If sex with underage children is portrayed in a positive titillating light, that's wrong because it could definitely arouse someone to go and seek it out.

However, I have read lots of books that also graphically describe crimes, and some of a sexual nature, Lovely Bones, comes to mind and they are not meant to titillate but to horrify. I guess, though, that section of the book (I think it was graphic in the book, it's been several years) could be read by a child molester and it could serve to arouse. But I guess there is no way to really prevent that, other than book banning and that's just not ok.

And to add that I don' think the porn industry is a very bad thing, because most people are not coerced into doing porn. One of the fastest growing porn genres is amateur porn. Some people may be coerced of course, or exploited but you would have to judge that on an individual basis.

My son (18), thinks it's hilarious that the books are such a hit. He said that men watch porn and now he realizes that women read their porn. He also literally fell to his knees when I told him that Scarlet Johansen might play the lead female in the movie. haha. Men are said to be visual and women tend to be more verbal or internal in what they find arousing.

So your assumption is that the content of porn / erotica may shape the reader/viewer's behaviour - so this would suggest that we should legislate against the production of any porn that portrays sexual situations which would be illegal if enacted as described, e.g. date rape (even when half way through the woman suddenly comes round to the idea she likes it after all - which I understand is not an uncommon scenario in porn). Frankly, I think that would be an entirely sensible legislative framework for erotica/pornography. I suspect there would be a storm of protest if you tried to implement it though.

Eta: E.g. If you have read Maya by Richard Adams, you'd know half the sex scenes are a) clearly intended to arouse and b) involve non-consexual violence and rape of slaves - but this is main stream fiction marketed as sci-fi/fantasy.

[ 08. July 2012, 18:24: Message edited by: Think² ]

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Fool on the hill
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I'm not sure about legislating anything. I would say that what you describe as date rape porn I would NOT find enjoyable. And hubbie and I do watch porn on occasion. (But my complaint is that he rarely lets me watch it longer than 5 minutes). But date rape porn or porn with young looking girls (like barely legal titled programs) turn me off completely. Yuck. I would not complain if there was legislation against date rape porn. However, once you start making these kinds of censorship decisions, you get into everyone's idea of what is harmful and what is not. So, then, for instance gay porn could be censored. I would think that providing a warning would suffice. I would rather err on the side of non censorship when in doubt.

Going to download Maya right now. Not because I would find that arousing, but because I am curious. And I think that books are different than videos of date rape porn because there might be more context in the book. I'm curious to see if I agree with you or not.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Cedd:
Isn't erotica an artful portrayal of sex, whereas porn is simply sex without the art?

A doctoral student in the history of photography told me that erotica was in black and white, while pornography was in colour.
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Fool on the hill
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Actually, let me clarify something. I have read or watched many sexual practices that I would not actually engage in. Take for instance, fifty shades. Some of the tied up positions described don't sound very comfortable to me. But it was fun to read. Other situations that are similar are threesomes, gay sex, etc. That's what fantasy is for, for situations that you would not engage in for varied reasons but you can read about. I would not want to climb mount everest either, but I would read a book about it if I liked how it was written.

Other situations are so distasteful to me, like date rape, or young girls that turn me off so much that I would not want to watch or read it. In fifty shades there is one scene where she kneels before him, waiting for his command and keeps her eyes downward. Although I understood her actions in the context of the story, I didn't find that part particularly enjoyable to read.

Porn, artistic or not, can arouse a person's sexuality in the way that that person expresses their sexuality in the context of their relationship. I don't think that it arouses a specific desire for a certain practice unless that person already has that proclivity.

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irish_lord99
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Asking out of total ignorance here:

Do people regularly masturbate to erotica?

Do people regularly view porn without masturbating?

Could that be the difference? The intent of the average viewer?

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irish_lord99
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To put it another way, Monarch Vodka and Dom Perignon are both alcohol, but the latter is always for sipping socially and the former is always for getting shit-canned.

They can have the same effects to a degree, but the intent of purchasing one versus the other is different.

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Doublethink.
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I think many people buy stuff labelled erotica because they'd be too embarrassed to buy stuff labelled porn - but the basic intent is likely to be the same.

Lady Chatterly's Lover is supposed to be literature, but almost any extended discussion of it will mention that the actual book will tend to fall open in predictable places.

From the point of view of most stories, there is no need to write about sex - any more than there is a need to write about any other bodily function. It is a stretch to devise an artistic necessity to go beyond, they made love, or they had sex but it felt no better than the internal with the gynecologist last week, or he took her brutally or whatever emotional tone the author is going for. When they start writing acres of description it is for the sake of the readers extracurricular pleasure.

Fool on the hill, why is written material promoting one kind of illegal activity so much more likely to be acted on than one promoting some other kind of illegal activity ? It think the fact that we recognise the potential that written material designed to pair sexual arousal with under age kids will corrupt, ought to tell us something of the likely impact of other writing that pairs non-consensual sex with arousal. (I think that if you were legislating it would have to be along the lines of material promoting sexual activity that would be illegal if enacted - rather than, it has to be what everybody agrees is 'nice' or 'moral'.)

[ 08. July 2012, 19:47: Message edited by: Think² ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Fool on the hill
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quote:
Originally posted by irish_lord99:
Asking out of total ignorance here:

Do people regularly masturbate to erotica?

Do people regularly view porn without masturbating?

Could that be the difference? The intent of the average viewer?

Absolutely not. It would be hard to do anyway, while holding an ebook. [Biased]

Ime, masturbation is not the purpose of porn.

But then again, I have a regular sex partner. I don't know about other's practices

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Fool on the hill
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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:


From the point of view of most stories, there is no need to write about sex - any more than there is a need to write about any other bodily function. It is a stretch to devise an artistic necessity to go beyond, they made love, or they had sex but it felt no better than the internal with the gynecologist last week, or he took her brutally or whatever emotional tone the author is going for. When they start writing acres of description it is for the sake of the readers extracurricular pleasure.

Fool on the hill, why is written material promoting one kind of illegal activity so much more likely to be acted on than one promoting some other kind of illegal activity ? It think the fact that we recognise the potential that written material designed to pair sexual arousal with under age kids will corrupt, ought to tell us something of the likely impact of other writing that pairs non-consensual sex with arousal. (I think that if you were legislating it would have to be along the lines of material promoting sexual activity that would be illegal if enacted - rather than, it has to be what everybody agrees is 'nice' or 'moral'.) [/QB]

If the sexual practices goes directly to the characterization of the character in the book, there is a need to write explicitly. Also, writing "he took her brutally" might not fully express the way that he took her in its complexities. You can express tenderness, passion, fear, love, or any combination of emotion while describing the sex act. Also, "the sex was no better than a gyno visit" is just not poetic. And just like I would rather read a description of a sunset or mountains using metaphors and similes and graphic descriptions than "they were beautiful", I would rather read a poetic description of intimacy in some stories. I'm not saying that every book that has sex included in the plot needs to describe it graphically, just like I'm not saying that every physical setting in a book needs to be expressed poetically. But sometimes it is needed.

Did you see my "let me clarify" post? I don't think that seeing videos of sex with under age kids is corrupting in the way that you seem to be saying. (I mean, I think it is corrupting or damaging if a child saw that.) But I don't think at all that simply viewing something makes it more likely to happen unless that person already has that proclivity. And if that is the case, any number of things might serve the same purpose. Which is why I fall into the "if in doubt, don't censor" idea.

And on that note, I am wondering why the idea of bondage is so enticing to women, so much so that sex toys like cuffs are starting to sell, if non consensual sex is so frowned upon? Hmmmm. I mean, bondage must have at least the illusion of non consensual sex.

To answer my own question, I suspect that hints of non consensual sex is a turn on for women, because women are socialized somewhat to "reign in" their sexuality and freeing it without the guilt is attractive. But being too graphic or violent is a turn off for most women because it's too close to the reality of the danger that women actually really face. Bondage creates the illusion, but with the complete consent of the woman.

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Doublethink.
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Assuming paedophilia is not a sexual orientation (for which there is little evidence) then it is a learned behaviour - so how do you think it is learned ? Lots of sexual expression is learned - as are attitudes to women, acceptable behaviour etc. My grandmother died in 2009 at the age of 98, I remember discussing the Mike Tyson rape case with her years before. She wasn't too sure about whether he should have been jailed, because nice girls who don't want sex don't go up to a man's room with him. She wasn't some kind of psychopath - it is just what her generation of men and women were taught.

Surveys show fairly often that men admit to date rape behaviour apparently either not recognising it as rape or not caring anyway. I believe that common porn scenarios have a role in this. In some ways, fantasies like Maia are less dangerous - because they are so far removed from reality.

[ 08. July 2012, 21:41: Message edited by: Think² ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Palimpsest
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In gay culture pornography doesn't have the stigma it does in traditional mainstream culture. There's still a differtence between erotica and pornography which is not an irregulation congugation (I'm eccentric, you're dotty, they're mad).

In general pornography is intended to arouse a sexual urge, erotica is intended to engage an aesthetic response. However your mileage may vary. Few consider dancing the waltz or showing an ankle pornographic these days. Also artists and connoisseurs have a fondness for aesthetic use of the normally utilitarian. I knew a reference librarian who had a second job running a gay porn store. He knew what each studio was doing and what each of his customers would appreciate. It was he who told me about a S&M bondage studio who rejected films where the bondage knotting was assymmetrical. In some ways pornography becomes as stylised as opera, and no wonder, it's the same audience.

There was also a gay film director I liked who would make commercial gay porn films that actually had characters and plot sliding in and independent art films that included sex.

Even the US Supreme Court had to resort to "contains artistic merit" as a way to tell non pornography. Any theory of pornography will be trumped by artists who make work that the theory finds contradictory.

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Gramps49
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Can't add much to the differences between erotica or porn, but it reminds me when the US Supreme Court considered the question back in 1964.

The writer of a concurring position put it this way:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that. [Emphasis added.]
—Justice Potter Stewart, concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964), regarding possible obscenity in The Lovers.

But I do have a question: why are we so obsessed about the difference between erotica and pornography when very little is said about violence?

I remember once a national network chose to show a movie considered to be soft porn, but the local station showed "Get Rommel" instead. Get Rommel was very violent. The local station could not distinguish between which was the more obscene.

Take a look the video games your kids play. Ask yourself which is really the more obscene: the video game or Playboy.

[ 08. July 2012, 22:43: Message edited by: Gramps49 ]

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Fool on the hill
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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Assuming paedophilia is not a sexual orientation (for which there is little evidence) then it is a learned behaviour - so how do you think it is learned ? Lots of sexual expression is learned - as are attitudes to women, acceptable behaviour etc. My grandmother died in 2009 at the age of 98, I remember discussing the Mike Tyson rape case with her years before. She wasn't too sure about whether he should have been jailed, because nice girls who don't want sex don't go up to a man's room with him. She wasn't some kind of psychopath - it is just what her generation of men and women were taught.

Surveys show fairly often that men admit to date rape behaviour apparently either not recognising it as rape or not caring anyway. I believe that common porn scenarios have a role in this. In some ways, fantasies like Maia are less dangerous - because they are so far removed from reality.

Well, to answer your question directly, I do think that sexual behavior is learned and I think that there are many many factors that contribute to that learning. As is with learning almost anything.

Are you saying that you would like date rape porn outlawed? As I said before, I wouldn't object to that. What I would object to is where that would lead next. Would then Shades of Gray be banned? Because come to think of it, there was one scene where he asked her to "fight him". She gave a wimpy fight, of course, because she was so overcome with love and passion. [Roll Eyes] So, is that "date rape porn"? I think there is a big difference between a video showing a woman in physical distress and showing a couple wrestling for fun.

To be more specific, I think that pedophilia is a learned behavior from trauma. I don't think that anyone becomes a pedophile because they watched a video.

I think that date rape is a learned behavior. But it's learned both from what they have actively learned through visual media but also very much what they have not learned, which is empathy, critical thinking, and common decency. Are these surveys of men in general or men who were accused or found guilty of date rape?

Your grandmother was told over and over again what good girls should not do. She learned her values by repetition. Today, I believe that boys who don't know that "no means no", were not taught to care about human values. So, since porn is hardly the only factor in learning inappropriate sexual behavior and the wide disagreement over what is inappropriate sexual behavior, I would not champion a cause for legislation against "date rape porn".

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Fool on the hill
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Totally agree Gramps49!
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Timothy the Obscure

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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:

From the point of view of most stories, there is no need to write about sex - any more than there is a need to write about any other bodily function. It is a stretch to devise an artistic necessity to go beyond, they made love, or they had sex but it felt no better than the internal with the gynecologist last week, or he took her brutally or whatever emotional tone the author is going for. When they start writing acres of description it is for the sake of the readers extracurricular pleasure.

But from the POV of getting the story told, there is no reason to bother with detailed description of anything. Why bother describing a delicious meal and how it was experienced by a hungry man? Why bother describing a beautiful landscape, or a battle (why should Tolstoy have described the Battle of Borodino when he could have just summarized the result?) The point of art is to convey subjective experience, and there is no reason, other than the general prejudice against sex that still persists, to treat sexual experience differently from any other. If you write well about sex, the result should be sexual arousal in your reader, just as writing well about food should arouse a different appetite (I admit that sex is easier in that regard).

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:

From the point of view of most stories, there is no need to write about sex - any more than there is a need to write about any other bodily function.

But from the POV of getting the story told, there is no reason to bother with detailed description of anything.

Yes, exactly. Good writers have made good stories about all sorts of things. None of them, I suppose, "needed". If the subject has an emotional resonance for the reader or hearer, they can be drawn in to the story.

quote:


If you write well about sex, the result should be sexual arousal in your reader, just as writing well about food should arouse a different appetite (I admit that sex is easier in that regard).

Which is the problem with sex scenes in stories that aren't otherwise about sex. I think on the whole I prefer reading novels that don't have the almost obligatory sex scene in them because its too distracting. If they work well they get in the way of enjoying the rest of the story because the reader has other things on their mind. Like those library books that always seem to fall open at page 212. If they work badly they are just icky.

In a way a straightforward pornographic novel is more honest. The purpose of the sex scenes in porn is to provide material for the reader to fantasise about when masturbating, so just string a whole load together in one book, with very little in the way of plot or characterisation.

Plenty of writers have written porn under pseudonyms because it helps pay the rent. If they have a good idea for a story its probably better that they keep it out of the porn and save it up for a straight novel so we can get to read it. And maybe if they have a good idea for a sex scene they should keep it out of the straight novel and save it for the porn.

Though that might be of historical relevance only. I suspect (I really don't know) that the paying market for written porn has collapsed in the last ten or fifteen years.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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rugasaw
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quote:
Originally posted by Balaam:
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
Is it to do with whether or not anyone was exploited in the making of it? Or is it just "we enjoy erotica, s/he is addicted to porn"?

Neither.

To tackle the second point first, there has to be an objective definition. It isn't porn if I enjoy it isn't objective enough.

But exploitation isn't the key either. Amateur porn, where a couple film their foreplay and lovemaking and release it on to the internet, wouldn't be porn if that were the case.

But what makes amateur porn porn.

I suspect it is more who you market it to. They are likely to enjoy erotica so I will declare and market this as erotica. They are likely to enjoy porn so I will declare and market this as porn.

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Treat the earth well, It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children. -Unknown

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Evangeline
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:

Though that might be of historical relevance only. I suspect (I really don't know) that the paying market for written porn has collapsed in the last ten or fifteen years. [/QB]

Again this supposition depends on your definition of porn and I think an unconscious gender bias might be showing Ken, although like you I don't really know. In terms of books, the romance genre has grown over the last few years despite most other book markets collapsing. In addition the erotic content of most books in this genre has also become a lot more explicit and there are new online publishers (eg Ellora's Cave) specialising in this, as well as traditional publishers like Harlequin M&B putting more explicit content in their books as well as launching online imprints specialising in erotic/pornographic books eg Historicals Undone and Spice Briefs. So I think women are probably buying a lot more written porn than they used to.
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Palimpsest
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Some thought questions;

If the complaint is that pornography exploits women does gay pornography get a free pass?

If it's written description of unpleasant behavior are murder mystery fiction novels bad? How about true crime books? How about television versions of Agatha Christie novels?

How about people who receive sexual thrills from things that other people find mundane such as ankles.

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Robert Armin

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I found Evangeline's point about romance illuminating. I enjoy stories about vampires, werewolves etc, and in recent years there has been an explosion of these. But (to my mind) most of these are spoiled by boring and repetitive sex sequences. I would be much happier if one chapter ended with the bedroom door closing, and the next began with a happy feeling the next morning, and I think the books would be better for it. Then again, such things sell by the bucketload, so what do I know?

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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Sir Pellinore
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I think the distinction between erotica and pornography is one on which the debate will continue.

Whist I appreciate what ken; Evangeline and Robert Armin said on written pornography I think that most pornography these days is available on the web in an amazing variety of subjects. So much so that I think the porn industry in Southern California rivals the legitimate cinema in terms of revenue.

Kingsley Amis made an interesting comment on the effects of this sort of porn. He deplored the effect it had on young people - he'd been talking to some Cambridge undergraduates - in that it seemed to psychologically convince them you could have sex, even a relationship with another person, without any emotion being involved: sex as a purely mechanical process.

Much sex has been exploitative and emotionally non-involved through the centuries for a variety of reasons. It is just that great art: poetry; song; painting etc. sometimes hints at something more. That something more is often hinted at rather than explicitly portrayed.

Modern people seem to want everything clearly displayed: like a butterfly in a specimen case. The problem is the butterfly - whose life would have been short - was killed to be a beautiful specimen.

I think we live in an age of emotional deadness of which pornography as it exists is a symptom. There seems this dreadful modern need for love and yet inability to emotionally engage with another real, living, breathing human being.

--------------------
Well...

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
I think the distinction between erotica and pornography is one on which the debate will continue.

Whist I appreciate what ken; Evangeline and Robert Armin said on written pornography I think that most pornography these days is available on the web in an amazing variety of subjects. So much so that I think the porn industry in Southern California rivals the legitimate cinema in terms of revenue.

Kingsley Amis made an interesting comment on the effects of this sort of porn. He deplored the effect it had on young people - he'd been talking to some Cambridge undergraduates - in that it seemed to psychologically convince them you could have sex, even a relationship with another person, without any emotion being involved: sex as a purely mechanical process.


The California porn industry is in severe decline; like journalism the business model is ruined by the internet.


To quote Wikipedia
Amis was by his own admission and as revealed by his biographers a serial adulterer for much of his life. Not surprisingly, this was one of the main contributory factors in the breakdown of his first marriage. A famous photograph of a sleeping Amis on a Yugoslav beach shows the slogan (written by wife Hilly) on his back "1 Fat Englishman – I fuck anything".

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Sir Pellinore
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
...The California porn industry is in severe decline; like journalism the business model is ruined by the internet.
...

It was the readily available internet porn, with much material produced in California, I was referring to.

My apologies, a bad cold has affected my posting, I was referring to Martin Amis, not his deceased father.
[Hot and Hormonal]

--------------------
Well...

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lilBuddha
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quote:

Originally by Sir P:

to psychologically convince them you could have sex, even a relationship with another person, without any emotion being involved: sex as a purely mechanical process.

One certainly can have emotionless sex, the question is whether it is healthy or not. Leads me to a differentiation:
Porn damages your sex life, Romance damages your love life and Erotica damages both.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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Unreformed
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Sorry about the need to get graphic, but I define pornography as something you would get bored with after you finished masturbating to it.

Not a perfect definition, but close enough for me.

And no, I don't think pornography is spiritually healthy in any way whatsoever.

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The Kat in the Hat
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I have a friend who was the inspiration for someone to write "erotica". They thought she would be flattered. She felt violated.

--------------------
Less is more ...

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Evangeline:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:

Though that might be of historical relevance only. I suspect (I really don't know) that the paying market for written porn has collapsed in the last ten or fifteen years.

Again this supposition depends on your definition of porn and I think an unconscious gender bias might be showing Ken, although like you I don't really know. ...
I don't think he would have included the word paying if he wasn't talking about suspecting that cost-free content (whether truly free* or not) on the web has made that market collapse.

I just used Bing (don't want it on my Google history!) to look up the search strings "free erotic stories" and "free porn stories" and got a combined 260,000,000 results. Those sites wouldn't exist if there wasn't a market for it, and when nobody would pay for it when there is free stuff that is just as good (websites have ratings buttons for a good reason) then that's going to impact the paying market.
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
If the complaint is that pornography exploits women does gay pornography get a free pass?

If it's written description of unpleasant behavior are murder mystery fiction novels bad? How about true crime books? How about television versions of Agatha Christie novels?

No, I don't think gay porn is any different. I don't think it's right to complain about pornography exploiting just women, the more correct complaint is that pornography exploits people. I think it's equally worth expressing outrage over the men who are brainwashed into treating sex as just a physical act performed emotionlessly for a camera to earn a few bucks - remember that the "money shot" can't be faked.

Violent video games would be a better comparison to talk about than crime mystery stories (whether expressed in print or on screen). A good mystery story/film/show doesn't actually describe the criminal act, otherwise theres no mystery!
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
One certainly can have emotionless sex, the question is whether it is healthy or not. Leads me to a differentiation:
Porn damages your sex life, Romance damages your love life and Erotica damages both.

Interesting way to differentiate, but I would say porn damages both because sex is so closely linked to love. I saw this with some of my peers in the teenage years, they thought porn was real ant it fucked up the way they looked at women. One of my biggest regrets was that I just said no and never said anything to anybody else, if I did it might have stopped one of them hurting two girls I know so badly.

I do agree that erotica damages both, relationships are going to take a hit when the real sex doesn't live up to the fantasies or one person is more present to their fantasy than their partner.
quote:
Originally posted by The Kat in the Hat:
I have a friend who was the inspiration for someone to write "erotica". They thought she would be flattered. She felt violated.

That's so horrible [Votive]


* we can debate whether websites that throw adverts in your face or install tracking cookies are genuinely free or just free with strings attached some other time.

[ 11. July 2012, 19:06: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]

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If I give a homeopathy advocate a really huge punch in the face, can the injury be cured by giving them another really small punch in the face?

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Sir Pellinore
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The late Malcolm Muggeridge once described pornography as "masturbatory imagery". Game, set and match to Malcolm.

Is "erotica" e.g. antique Japanese netsuke; Chinese or Rajput erotic painting really all that different?

Both porn and erotica seem to lead one to imagine something that is not there.

--------------------
Well...

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Evangeline
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quote:
Originally posted by the giant cheeseburger:
quote:
Originally posted by Evangeline:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:

Though that might be of historical relevance only. I suspect (I really don't know) that the paying market for written porn has collapsed in the last ten or fifteen years.

Again this supposition depends on your definition of porn and I think an unconscious gender bias might be showing Ken, although like you I don't really know. ...
I don't think he would have included the word paying if he wasn't talking about suspecting that cost-free content (whether truly free* or not) on the web has made that market collapse.

\

I don't understand your point GCB, I know exactly what Ken meant and I was responding that women are
paying for more written porn (M&B aren't free ya know) than they used to in the past, QED the free porn hasn't made the paying market for erotic/pornographic novels collapse.

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