Sinful Sunday 281: Blatancy, bondage and bottoms, brought you by the letter B

Last Sinful Sunday I talked about whether there’s any meaningful difference between “pornography” and “erotica”. I mentioned objectivation, and that objectification isn’t necessarily a distinguishing feature of erotica or pornography. The real difference is that one word is often used in disapproval and the other word is usually used with approval.

This time we’re looking at the idea that erotica is subtle, indirect and suggestive, and pornography is blatantly depictive. Take this example.

bound wrist relaxedbound wrist clenched

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two images are suggestive. They construct a sexual context, even a narrative.

In the first image the woman is relaxed, dreamy, getting pleasured. Her lover might be doing things to her with his tongue, or toys.

In the second image, time has passed and she’s no longer relaxed. She’s flooded (with sensation; I’m not making a come joke). Perhaps her arse has lifted off the bed and her stomach muscles have tightened.

There’s no particular reason why you should accept the idea that “erotic” means “understated, subtle and indirect”. It’s not supported by etymology or by the dictionary definitions. It’s only an arbitrary decision you might make about how you might choose to use the words. Still, if that’s the choice you make, then these images are erotica.

Now, let’s have another “erotic” image.

Police cuffs. Highly illegal to possess, where I live. Given me by a former pro-somme. So we can guess how she got them

Police cuffs. Illegal to possess, where I live, except by policemen. A former pro-domme gave these to me, so I can guess how she got them

It’s possible to read the angle of the bound, hand-cuffed woman’s body, to see she’s assuming a classic submissive position. That shadow between her fingers, the hint of the top of her buttocks, promises but denies other sexual vistas of her body. But the suggestions tell you that the woman is submissive, bound and helpless.

Here’s a more blatant image taken a short time later. It’s a depiction of the same bound woman. And her paddled bottom.

woman handcuffed

I’m afraid that I prefer the blatant image above to the “erotic” version. It makes me feel (since this post is brought you by the letter B) like being the bold bad Baron of Bulgaria, about to bang his bouncing bollocks on his bound lady’s beautifully blushing buttocks.

So the “blatancy” versus “suggestion” distinction can be used, if you choose, to distinguish erotica from porn. There’s no reason to accept that this is a valid distinction between pornography and erotica, but if you do chose to make that distinction, then I prefer porn.SinfulSundayLips150

15 thoughts on “Sinful Sunday 281: Blatancy, bondage and bottoms, brought you by the letter B

    • Thank you very much! In a sense I’d be a terrible tumblr sort of guy. Words are my thing: 1,000 words is worth much more than a picture, I always say.

  1. For me I think it differs from image to image. I am a fan of the ‘blatant’ but suggestive can be just as fabulous, it really depends on the image. However like you, I definitely prefer the second shot where you can see her bottom, the missing information in the cropped image well, misses out too much, for me

    Mollyxxx

    • A binomial balance, in fact. I loved taking the pics. Words are work. (Just wait till Mollie gets to the letter W.) Thank you for liking them!

  2. It’s such a subjective issue isn’t it. For me it often depends on my mood too, blatant is often my choice but subtle can often leave so much more to the imagination.

    • Yes, it’s very subjective, and as you say anyone’s preference can change from moment to moment. I do tend to have a penchant for the blatant, though.

      In the Arthurian legends there was a Sir Pellinore, who went hunting a fierce creature called the Blatant Beast. I think I may be that beast.

    • Thank you! I’m not much of a photographer, but cropping will fix some things. Fallow fields, photos and submissives, especially.

  3. Of the two handcuffs images, I prefer the second. I think that’s because the second reveals what is absent from the first, which is actually rather significant: the redness tells a story that wasn’t even hinted at in the first. (Also, her bottom is lovely, which is a nice bonus.) And yet, on the whole, I tend to gravitate towards subtle images rather than blatant ones.

    I agree that “erotica” generally connotes subtlety, indirection and suggestion, while “pornography” connotes blatant depiction. A subtle image encourages the viewer to engage with the image by fleshing it out with their imagination, while a blatant image is more complete by itself. One could argue that the viewer’s mind is more active when the image is subtle, and more passive when the image is blatant. But a subtle image doesn’t require the viewer to engage and a blatant image doesn’t preclude it.

    Blatant includes more detail and specificity than subtle. People like to look at things they like, so a photo with three attractive details would likely be more attractive than a photo with only one. There shouldn’t be any inherent problem with blatant – as long as the details are ones that you like. A general, subtle image will likely appeal to more people (or squick fewer) because it’s vague. So in a way, erotica is “one size fits most” and pornography is bespoke.

    • Yes. I was trying to think of a way of making the handcuffs photo even less revealing, while still showing that there is a woman helpless in her handcuffs. So it relied even more on the audience’s imagination.

      But I should have thought of that while I was taking the photos, and come up with a more subtle shot.

      By the way, the handcuffs-only pic is not taken from the same photo as the “handcuffs, oh, and there’s that woman’s amazing ass in all its paddled glory” photo. Though the difference is quite hard to spot.

      I agree with you that a “subtle” image isn’t necessarily more likely to spark the imagination than a “blatant” image. For example, if I didn’t know what happened to that poor girl after I took the photo showing her firmly paddled and in handcuffs, then I’d be imagining it.

      Did she get more paddling? Did he fuck her afterwards? Did he take off her cuffs first, or was she fucked while still hand-cuffed?

      As I say, I know what happened next, but I think and hope that people who weren’t there, but liked the picture, will be inspired by that blatant image to go on and imagine further, even more “blatant” scenes.

      Agreement, too, on your point that erotica is aimed at a more general audience, while porn is bespoke. Those who like the idea of handcuffing and paddling a poor helpless submissive will love that image, I hope. While there must be a lot more people who don’t like what they see at all. “Call the police, and a shrink!” etc.

      Thank you for your really interesting comments!

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