Porn is good! Erotica is ok, I guess

Way back in the late 20th century, there was a time when good liberals all agreed that pornography was bad.

What Pandora Blake, feminist spanko porn-maker, won in 2015. Honestly, they should just call it The Pandora Blake Award, from now on

Last year Pandora Blake, feminist spanko porn-maker took on anti-porn bigots and won. (Or they took her on and lost.) Honestly, they should just call this The Pandora Blake Award, from now on

The politics of that, and the weird alliance it involved between Christian right activists, feminists who claimed they opposed sex if it had men in it (plus the men they had sex with) is sad and hilarious, but that’s a topic for another day.

The movement still exists, but it’ll never wield the same social or even political power again. However, a by-product of that movement was a passionate debate over the difference between erotica and pornography.

That’s because we – meaning pretty well all humans – like looking at movies and images of sexy people, and sexy people doing sexy things. This is something we share with the other higher primates, as it turns out.

Anyway, it became necessary to say that some sexy movies or images weren’t pornography, so they’d escape any blanket condemnation or ban.

It became one of those irregular verbs:

  • he faps to horrible women-hating filth;
  • you fap to pornography;
  • I fap to erotica. 

Anyway, no-one ever managed a useful way of distinguishing these three terms. Which, for example, is this?

gretel spanked

It’s a picture of a woman glowing red from recent cruel treatment. The model’s head has been removed from the image, and the photograph invites the viewer to focus only on her ass.

Andrea Dworkin, weeping bitter tears, would have said the image steals her personhood: she’s just a body, a woman beaten. That’s the argument for it being porn.

On the other hand, the red is from a hand spanking desired and enjoyed by both parties, and her head was edited out (and her cunt obscured) to respect the model’s wishes. The spanking was given, and the photo taken, by her lover, your humble narrator and servant. It’s a record of love.

So is it erotic, or pornographic? I think it’s both, because to me there’s little difference between the words except for their rhetorical overtones. 

Aristotle, oddly enough, sorted this issue out in the 4th Century BCE, when he said that the difference between a king and a tyrant is that a tyrant is a king of whom the speaker disapproves. Following Aristotle, horrible woman-hating filthy pornography is erotica that someone disapproves of, while erotica is pornography (etc) that someone approves of.

Anyway, I think it’s a sexy image. I hope you like it.

images-8One other suggested distinction is that erotica is indirect, subtle, symbolic, and therefore good, while pornography is blatant and blunt, and therefore bad.

There’s more to be said about that. But I’m out of time.

Also space.

 

Note: This is my first ever Sinful Sunday post!

SinfulSundayLips150

18 thoughts on “Porn is good! Erotica is ok, I guess

    • Thank you! I take lots of photos, but when they’re sexy it’s usually as a lover and not as a photographer. So they seldom turn out well as photos, though they mean a lot to me.

      Once in a blue moon (or a pink one) I get something that works as both memory and image. Comme ça.

    • Thank you!

      And I’m sure you’re qualified, just as I’m sure that Ms Blaize would approve of you! (I wish someone would make a decent film. Two attempts so far, neither up to much.)

      And I think it’s sexy as hell, though I have to give more credit to the model, and nature, than to my phone camera. Still, I’m glad it worked, and that you like it!

    • Thank you, and damn straight! Also, bent!
      I’ve been a tyrant to certain consenting adults, but if I ever ascended to the level of achieving vulgar smut I’d be in very ecstasy. Vulgar smut is my new ambition! Excelsior!

  1. As the saying goes, one persons porn is another persons art….

    Lovely to see you on Sinful Sunday. I hope you enjoy being part of the community

    Mollyxxx

    • Well, the way to my ‘art is through porn. Making it, not watching it.

      And I’m impressed by the Sinful Sunday community. I’ll have to make sure I use my own photos on Sundays, from now on!

  2. Part of the difficulty in distinguishing between erotica and pornography is that they’re discussed as though they’re mutually exclusive, but there’s actually a great deal of overlap between them. I’ve grabbed some definitions from an online dictionary:

    erotica – sexually explicit art, photographs, sculptures, or the like, depicting human sexuality.

    pornography – sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings, or the like, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal.

    According to these definitions, pornography is erotica that is intended to arouse. Considering that a depiction of sexuality is often arousing, this distinction tends towards hair-splitting. Your photo depicts sexuality. Erotica? Check. Is it intended to elicit sexual arousal? I don’t know – apparently it depends on what you were thinking when you posted it. I guess pornography is a mens rea offence. (If you took the photo to arouse yourself but posted it with indifference to whether it arouses others, is it porn or not?)

    I wonder if the difference in connotation relates at all to the words’ origins: erotica comes from érōs, “sexual love”, versus pornography from pornē “prostitute”.

    A related but still separate issue is objectification, which is not an essential element of porn. This is why “feminist porn” is not an oxymoron.

  3. I think there’s so much overlap between the denotation of the two words that they’re describing essentially the same thing.

    The difference, in so far as there is any, is in the connotations. And I think the reader and the critic bring their own connotations with them.

    I like your suggestion that pornography is a mens rea offence. Looking at it in that spirit, I took the photo because it was a lovely moment, and she is a lovely woman, and I wanted a record. So while I was aroused at the time, it wasn’t because I was taking that photo.

    In posting it … I guess I hoped that people would find it beautiful and sexy. So I suppose I intended, or at least passively expected, that the picture would arouse people of discerning tastes. (Which all my readers must be.)

    So, it must be pornographic! But it’s also erotic. I’m going back to the Aristotle solution, which is that the difference is only rhetorical. Those who don’t like sexual images are likely to call it porn, and those who do are more likely to call it erotica.

    The objectification issue is interesting, because it does look like an objectified image, as I said. Though I attributed the opinion to the late, mad as a meataxe when alive, Andrea Dworkin.

    I’d have happily kept her head in the picture, but I knew she’d prefer me not to. (I got consent before using the image.)

    So some cropping that actually occurred out of respect for the woman could easily be mistaken, by a sufficiently ideological viewer, for me thinking her individuality is unimportant. So I guess people bring objectification to images for themselves.

    That’s too strong a statement; some images are clearly objectifying. Just not most images taken by lovers.

    I do have a bit more to write on this, and I’ll be back next Sinful Sunday with another post on the same theme. (If I get permission to use another image.) I’m wanting to look at the evocative image = erotica and direct depiction = porn part of the argument. But that’s for next Sunday.

    Thanks for your most interesting comments!

    • A photo can be a simple aide-memoire for the participants, but I suppose that when it’s shown to someone who wasn’t there, it’s now a form of communication, which, like any other, can be misunderstood. Putting an image out into the wild gives it a social context that it didn’t necessarily have before, which could make it seem to be saying something that it isn’t (e.g. the missing head is consistent with the common issue of objectification, even though it was intended to preserve privacy). There’s more I could say, but I think I’ll leave it there.

      Oh, and I agree that the image is beautiful and sexy 🙂

      • Yes, re putting images out into the wild. Though the same is true of words.

        I suppose people could read something like the Raylene saga and conclude that I’m too cruel and vicious by half, as doms go, or they could decide that I spend far too much time fretting about what’s ok to do, and so I’m too soft and conciliatory as doms go. Or both.

        And that’s just people who don’t disapprove of male doms as such.

        If I were running for office (“Vote Jerusalem Mortimer, or I’ll have you in irons! Or, at least, nipple clamps!”) and someone found my blog, that would be the death of my campaign right there.

        I think I’m telling the story of a dom who tries to do the right thing, and who tries to tell the truth about what that’s like and what it involves. But it would be easy to quote this blog accurately though selectively and make me sound like a monster.

        Words and images finish up in the eye of the beholder, and we who make them just have to accept it.

        And I’m glad you like the beautiful and sexy image. The reality was better still, but I did my photographic best.

  4. Who can tell the difference, what is porn to someone is just erotica or art to another. It’s a subjective difference which is what makes our new porn news so ridiculous and dangerous.

  5. Yes indeed. The UK porn laws are insane.

    That’s why I gave the shout-out to Pandora Blake, who showed so much courage and resolution – at some personal cost – in insisting she still had a right to dream sexually and sexily and to share her dreams electronically.

    I hope and expect her example will inspire others, if they find the Images Police kicking at their virtual door.

  6. This is a picture of me, but I barely recognise myself – partly because my head has been cropped out and partly because I never see myself from that angle. My ass being red isn’t a turn-on for me (yet), it’s just a fact, even though I know I would have been feeling turned on at the time.

    I feel quite objective about the whole photo actually, rather than subjective. I suppose that’s because it records your POV and thus your experience and turn-ons. My POV was a lot less visual – the sheets, I guess, or the inside of my eyelids. But I’m glad that this image speaks to you 🙂

  7. As for knowing you “would have” been feeling turned on at the time, I’ll remind you separately – not in public – where and when that pic was taken. You beautiful newbie, you.

    At the time I don’t think you were taking in a lot of detailed observations, just general arousal. So it’s not surprising that the image itself doesn’t come with memories for you: as you say, it’s an image of something you never saw.

    As for not being turned on by seeing your own ass in a reddened and marked condition, I think that’s not something you need to do to enjoy submission, but it is something that you tend to develop over time anyway. You come to see your ass flash by in a mirror, looking recently marked and red, and remember your feelings at the time you were being marked, and the other sexy goodness those marks led to.

    So most submissives I’ve known do like to admire their own marks, because of their associations. That merges into finding the marks pretty and sexy in their own right.

    I guess people don’t exactly get turned on by a pic of their own ass: I’d never be wanking to a pic of mine. It’s more that you can see the marks and think, didn’t they make me look pretty? And, wasn’t that hot? And, god I bet he loves that sight!

    I guess the other thing is the pride you can feel in having turned on your dom so very strongly. After all, I’m a man of taste and aesthetic sense, so if I like it then it must be sexy. That is, there’s a contact high, plus a bit of submissive feeling.

    And this image – the uncut uncropped original even more – most definitely speaks to me!

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