The concept of pornography begins with religion and its concept of sin. In the West, prior to the intrusion of The Christian church, sexual representations were "erotica," which is purely a descriptive term. Once the church got involved, erotica became "pornography" (literally, graphics of whores). "Pornography" (the word) isn't a descriptive term, it's a negatively judgmental term.

I think if more atheists understood that pornography as something bad is an invention of religious folk, and not something which is necessarily wrong or bad, tolerance of it in the atheist community might result. This isn't to say that some sorts of porn are necessarily good, such as pedophile porn, but we need to understand that erotica isn't new, and that it's a natural expression of natural interests and tendencies.

What's unnatural is the attitude that there is something inherently wrong with it.

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What separates porn from art and erotica? Who decides? Fun job!

Pompeii has such erotic art that minors must be accompanied by adults to even get a look. I think porn is a mono-theistic label that originated with the book of Genesis.

I don't really enjoy your typical made-for-internet porn, it just seems fake and formulaic. Ethically, my only issues with porn involve the sex worker's labor/health rights.

Then you'd like the homemade stuff, I suppose. 

In many ways, the commercial porn of today is better than ever in several regards:

First, no more elaborate plotlines like in The Opening of Misty Beethoven or Deep Throat. If she's not engaging in fellatio or anal sex within 2 minutes, you're being cheated. (Vaginal sex is so old hat and passe.)

Secondly, no more moody lighting. Just flat lighting from several angles to eliminate any shadows.

If you think I'm being tongue-in-cheek, I'm not. The purpose of contemporary porn is to be wank material. Anything that detracts from that is unprofessional.

Now, when you call "typical made-for-internet porn" "fake and formulaic," I think two things.

First, sex is rather limiting. It's not formulaic, it's just that sex doesn't offer a very wide array of possibilities.

Secondly, if it's real sex, it's not fake.

Third, other than that, porn relies on an established erotic vocabulary. Deviate far from that, and you lose the effect.

porn relies on an established erotic vocabulary.

Yeah, Yeah, Oh God, Oh God, Yeah, Yeah, Oh God, Oh God. When I was in college, I lived in a low rent apartment. The rather large woman upstairs would have sex every Sunday night. You would think it was Sex with Jesus. I got some good headphones.

One does have to bear in mind that the porn scene was a lot different and a lot smaller during the time of Nixon's commission on porn than it is now. In 1969—and talking about porn beyond the limits set by Playboy—porn magazines (which, then, more like picture folios almost totally devoid of text) were sold almost totally in the underworld of adult bookstores or, to a lesser extent, by mail order. Video was on film, since this was before the digital revolution. You either bought an 8mm or 16mm real and played it at home on your projector or you went to an adult movie theater, which typically was located in the local cultural sink.

Today, visual porn is part of everyday life for probably 80% or more of males and perhaps 45% or more of females (females talk about it less, so stats are hard to come by). It's readily available at home. No need to go to a cruddy part of town to obtain it.

Another big change over the years is that, for a while, the local store's magazine rack (usually in a drug store or convenience store) was the go to place for "men's magazines." You'll still find men's magazines there, but the market has shrunk considerably, and only magazines with a following, or which are particularly raunchy (Hustler, Penthouse), or exploit a particular niche (Juggs, Barely Legal) are surviving. 

A totally new phenomenon is amateur porn put out by individuals or couples. Sure, people used to make private porn which was put up on a shelf at home or traded between private parties, but today some couples make money by having sex in front of the camera and sending it to a website specializing in such things. Often, they do this voluntarily, receiving no compensation.

Yesterday, I was watching a Netflix movie named Pornography: The Secret History of Civilization, and it inspired me to start this thread.

One thing porn has given us is a visual vocabulary of allure and sexiness. Looking at the original photographic porn of the late 1800's and early 1900's, one is struck by how UN-sexy it is. The models (usually prostitutes) are just there most of the time. When they make a pose, it conveys nothing resembling sexiness. As time went by, porn producers became more artistic and professional, and gradually a vocabulary of visual sexiness was worked out. It's become part of the culture to such an extent that you can ask a 12 year old girl to strike a pose for the camera, and it's likely to be a sexy pose. 

Porn brought the erotic into the everyday world, and I feel the world is all the richer for it.


Is pornography and erotica the same thing?

I might not mind if my 12 year old daughter came across something that was erotic but I would be worried if she came across some nasty porn.

To me … porn is about people using other people, or animals or objects to masturbate into. Child porn is about adults masturbating into little kids….

Erotic … well … shoes can be erotic.



Of, relating to, or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.



Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity.

One of these things is not like the other ....

It follows that because "printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity" can "arouse sexual desire or excitement," pornography is erotica by dint of being a subset thereof.

You somehow set the color of your text to black. Hard to read. Maybe someone can tell you how to fix it. 

"One person's porn is another person's erotica." 

I don't get the whole "objectivization" argument. Whenever two people meet, they automatically see the other person as an object due to the subject/object dichotomy. I only know you through your posts and yet I've objectified you. As for pictures on a page or a screen, they are just images designed to stimulate the imagination. 

Women are sex objects? Men are success objects. 

Don't worry about the models. Having worked in the sex industry as a photographer for about 15 years, shooting solo girls (18 and up, of course), I can tell you hardly a one of them would profess to being an old-school feminist. Grousing about objectification largely defines the old school. If they weren't hostile toward feminism, they professed to be "sex-positive" feminists. In fact, I am a member of "Feminism is for Everybody" on Facebook, which is a sex-positive. feminist group open to men as well as women. There you'll run into a lot of posts promoting things like supporting sex workers. You won't hear a lot of talk about objectification there. 

So, seriously, you're against masturbation material? Do you realize what an extreme position that is? 

"You somehow set the color of your text to black. Hard to read. Maybe someone can tell you how to fix it."

I was wondering about that myself .... How do I fix it?



"So, seriously, you're against masturbation material? Do you realize what an extreme position that is?" 

No but you keep mansplaining porn as of its something special ... its not.

A lot of the images in porn nowadays borders on abuse ... I find a lot of it quite shocking.


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